Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence
Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence - This can be a complex subject to work through. We recommend you contact Cowles Hollingworth for Assistance
January 2021 Upates
If you are resident in Spain and have not exchanged your UK licence for a Spanish one, you should exchange it before 30 June 2021.
If you were resident in Spain before 1 January 2021 and registered your details with the DGT (Spanish Traffic Authority) before 30 December 2020, you must make an appointment with the DGT to complete the exchange of your UK licence by 30 June 2021. You will have to show proof you are registered as a resident at the appointment.
You will have to give your UK licence to the Spanish Traffic Authority at your appointment. They will provide you with a temporary driving permit (‘autorización temporal para conducir’) to use until your Spanish licence is processed. This document is only valid in Spain and not in any other country
Read the Spanish Traffic Authority’s guidance on how to get an appointment and the documentation you must provide (use the option in the top-right hand corner to translate page to English).
Updated 16th November 2020 - One of the key actions for UK Nationals living in Spain is to exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish one, but recently a lack of appointments has made this difficult. Therefore, to speed up the licence exchange and ensure UK Nationals can begin the process before the end of the year, the DGT has put a new system in place which has gone live on their website today.
Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
It is a two-step process.
To start the process of exchanging your UK driving licence for a Spanish one by 30 December 2020, follow these 2 steps:
Submit your application to exchange to the DGT (Spanish Traffic Authority) before 30 December. You can do this:
by using the Cl@ve app or
by calling 060
In some provinces, you may be able to submit your application in person at your local office. Check with your local office before you go.
Check you have requested the correct exchange option on the application form:
if your licence has expired, or is due to expire in the next few months, you should choose ‘renovación’
if you have lost your licence, or it has been stolen, you should choose ‘sustitución’
for all other requests, choose ‘canje’
three days after you submit your application, request an appointment, using the DGT’s website, to complete the final exchange
if you submitted your application before 30 December, and the DGT has verified your licence by the end of 2020, your DGT appointment to exchange your licence can be after 1 January 2021. It must, however, be before 30 June 2021
you will have to give your UK licence to the Spanish Traffic Authority at your appointment. They will provide a temporary driving permit (‘autorización temporal para conducir’) to use until your Spanish licence is processed. This document is only valid in Spain and not in any other country
You can exchange your driving licence in a different province to the one you live in. You can also instruct a representative (such as a registered ‘gestor’) to complete the process for you.
If you live in Spain but are not yet registered as a resident, you may be able to submit your application to exchange if you have a foreigners’ identity number (NIE). However, you must have a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) when you attend your appointment to complete the licence exchange.
Whether your UK licence has been verified for exchange by the end of 2020 or not, you will be able to drive in Spain using your UK licence until 30 June 2021.
Read full information on the special measures for UK licence holders on the Spanish Traffic Authority website (use the option in the top-right hand corner to translate pages to English). Future rules on exchange and recognition of UK licences are not yet agreed.
Driving in the UK with a Spanish licence
Until 31 December 2020, you can still use your Spanish licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test.
These rules may change from 1 January 2021. We will update this page once more information is available.
Lost, stolen or expired UK licences
If you live in Spain, you will not be able to renew your driving licence in the UK. If your UK licence is lost, stolen or expired, you will need to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for a ‘certificate of entitlement’ to be able to apply for a Spanish driving licence.
As long as your application has been submitted before 30 December, and the UK authorities have verified your licence by the end of the year, your appointment to exchange your licence can be after 1 January 2021, provided it is within the first 6 months of next year. Please note that you will need a residency certificate/TIE to do final exchange, so if you are in the process of applying for residency you may want to choose a later date for your appointment.
Irrespective of whether a UK licence has been verified for exchange by the end of the year, you will be able to drive in Spain using your UK licence for 6 months from 1 January 2021. The future rules on exchange and recognition of UK licences are still subject to negotiation.
Good News! There appears to be a new web page set up today on the DGT for the exchange of your UK driving licence for a Spanish one. i.e. specifically for post Brexit compliance.
Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence - Paperwork required
An official application form which can be downloaded from the Traffic Department and is on the website of the DGT - link above
Proof of identity (passport)
Residencia/TIE (and copy)
Padron (proof of your address from the town hall) renewed within
the last three months
Driving Licence card and counterpart
A recent photograph 32mm x 26mm
Payment of 23.50€
Booking the medical
We would advice you book your appointment 1st before getting your medical as this is only valid for 3 months.
Imed Levante Hospital this is the cheapest place to go in the area. call into the hospital and speak to the reception staff (most speak English). Appointments are made between the hours of 11am - 2pm and 6pm and 8pm the current cost (August 2018) is 43.70€. It may be possible to get an appointment for the same day.
When you return for your appointment 1st go to the reception desk and they will check you in and take payment you will then be directed to level -2 (lift right opposite the reception desk), when you get out of the lift turn left and follow the corridor to a door marked "Reconocimiento Medico" and wait to be called, make sure you have your residencia and passport with you.
Europa clinic Benidorm - Fees are 48€ if you wish your new licence to just be for car and bike and 53€ to include everything on your existing licence. There is no need to make an appointment just turn up and wait to be seen, take with you your, residency and current driving licence. Here you will only be expected to take one test for your reaction times.
The medical examination
The first thing they will do is take your photo, you will then be asked a few standard questions about your medical and psychological health, and details from your residencia taken, you will then be asked to sign an electronic key pad. When answering these questions be honest if you wear hearing aids say so and if you have a pacemaker make sure you mention this. If you do not and a licence is granted and you have an accident you will not be covered by your insurance and may lose your licence.
Test 1 - Eye site, both eyes will be tested individually and then together, this is a simple test and just requires you reading back a few registration numbers.
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you’re tested with these and your licence with be marked to indicate this (remember, you must carry a spare pair when driving).
Test 2 - Hearing test, you will be placed in a sound proof booth and asked to press a button when hearing a sound.
Test 3 - You will be sat in front of a screen this part is in 2 tests in some areas, if you are lucky it is just the one test, this is to check reaction times etc, the first test is quite simple you will be asked to follow a red ball along a blue line, this then goes into a blank space you have to press the button when you think the ball will have left the blank space.
The 2nd part of this test is much harder, you will see two red wavy lines with a white ball, these red lines will move and you have to keep the white ball in-between the red lines, go outside these lines and the machine will beep, dont be alarmed, we had quite a few beeps and still passed. the only way to describe this test is imagine playing the old fashioned pac man video game but playing 2 games at once.
If you wear hearing aids it will be mentioned on your licence that you MUST wear these when driving, if you have a pacemaker the time of you new licence will be reduced and you will have to go back and renew it more regularly for example a regular licence for 5 years will be reduced to 3.
The medical certificate is valid for 90 days, to enable you to make your application for a licence (or a renewal).
Where to go
Calle Catedratico Ferre Vidiella, 4, 03005 Alicante
You will find blue zone parking on the streets in this area.
Upon arrival of the DGT office
As you walk in the door there will be a security guard on the front desk who will point you in the direction of a ticket machine, enter your NIE number into the machine and take the ticket, then wait for your number to be called and go to the appropriate desk.
Payment is made by card.
You will then be given a temporary licence which will permit you to drive until your new licence is delivered, this is valid for 3 months, but some licences are taking longer than this to be processed, be patient
A full Spanish driving licence is valid for 10 years between the ages of 18 and 45; between the ages of 45 and 70 it remains 5 years; and beyond 70 years old the validity period remains 2 years. (this may be changed for medical reasons as stated above)
You 'should' receive a letter advising you of the need for renewal as long as your address details are current, but do not rely on this being sent.
To renew your Spanish driving licence you will need to present all your documents at your nearest ‘Jefatura de Trafico’ at least 3 months before the old licence expires, including a new ‘solicitud’ (download as before), your old licence, your residencia, NIE and ‘empadromiento’ (proof of address from town hall) three photographs, and a Certificate of Aptitude from an Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) in your province. (medical as above).
To Check the progress of your Driving Licence applications use this webpage, entering your nie number and date of birth.