Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence

There is a lot of debate about this subject and so much conflicting information around.

Updates November 2019 

The special measures put in place by the Spanish Department of Transport for UK nationals to exchange their driving licence have now been extended, so that the deadline to register your request to exchange is now 31 January, although we would advise doing it as soon as you can.

It doesn’t matter if your UK licence is expired or lost. If the licence has expired, you should follow the instructions for ‘renovación’. If lost, follow the instructions for ‘sustitución’.

You can start the process (online or by calling 060) with a NIE, even if you don´t have your green residency document. The first step of the process is essentially asking the Spanish authorities to verify your UK licence. The formal request for exchange is done once you go in for your appointment at the DGT. At that point you will need a valid residency certificate.

If you started the process in October you can now request an appointment at your Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico.

If you started the process in November, or are about to start the process, you can request an appointment at the JPT two days after registering your details. The DGT recommends that you continue using the special measures for UK licence holders.

10th October 2019 Spanish Government Update re applying for your Spanish Licence 

Source....Spanish government

VERY IMPORTANT..... Please read right to the end.
Information regarding driving, for British residents that are here legally with a residence certificate, was released yesterday by the Spanish government.
At the moment, the current law states that you have two years from receiving your residents certificate to swap it in for a Spanish licence.(A simple cheap easy process)
There are however many that drive illegally beyond that two year limit with a UK licence.
The Spanish government announced yesterday that official UK residents here MUST have started the process of swapping UK licences for a Spanish one BEFORE November 1st..(Proof being the official temporary licence you are given on application to swap)
Holders of Spanish residencia certificates with UK Driving Licences that DO NOT start the exchange process (with proof as above) will ONLY be allowed to drive for nine months after November 1st.

Original Spanish document HERE

UK/Spanish Driving Licences – The Great Debate

the N332 has clarified and these are the correct rules.

If you hold the UK or European driving licence with NO valid expiry date, which means the old fashioned paper version in either green or folded pink and has no photo on it, then you have to exchange it at Trafico for a Spanish licence.

So, if your li­cence has an in­def­in­ite date, or you were leg­ally res­id­ent in Spain be­fore Janu­ary 19, 2013, then you should have ex­changed your li­cence already.

If you be­came a res­id­ent after that date you have two years from the date of res­id­ency to ex­change your li­cence to a Span­ish one.

In addition, the front and reverse of your photo card are very important.  You must check your licences because many British people think they don’t have to exchange their licences because they think because the driving licence expiration date is on the front, this is the only one relevant, but this is not correct. On the back is the date of your entitlement to drive each category of vehicle end.  The last two categories refer to the year. So this is very important. You need to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one if you:-

– Have a driving licence with a validity of 15 years or more on the date of issue for Group 1 (AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE).
– Have a driving licence with a validity of 5 years or more on the date of issue for Group 2 (BTP, C1, C1E, C, CE D1, D1E, D, DE).
– Have a driving licence which has already expired or is close to its expiry date.

Please see be­low:-

You must look at the dates on the reverse of your driving licence.  In addition, it makes sense to change to a Spanish driving licence fairly quickly when you have become a Resident and are driving a Spanish plated car as the local traffic police will be expecting a Spanish licence.

This is even more import now with Brexit on its way, make sure you have ALL your paper work in order.

If your UK driving licence is lost or stolen, you can apply to the DVLA for a ‘certificate of entitlement’ in Spanish that can be used to apply for a Spanish driving licence.

If you get stopped you may be fined 200 € if you haven’t changed your foreign driving licence, so please change it as soon as possible.

Booking the medical - you can do this before you book your appointment at trafico (but only do so if you are sure you will pass)

We would advice you book your appointment 1st as we have now paid out for the medical only to find that we can not get an appointment until January nearly 5 months wait, in which case our medical certificate will now be out of date and will have to be re-done, learn by our mistakes.

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.

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 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).

Making the appointment - top tip to translate into English if on a Laptop or PC right click and choose "translate to English"

First of all you must make an appointment (cita previa) which can be made either on the DGT site or by calling the free 060 hotline (and extension 0) link here to make the appointment on line

Before requesting the appointment you must know the office and the area of ​​the procedure to which you want to access, so for people in Benidorm select Alicante -since according to each area you will have specific data that will be requested and different schedules.

Once you have selected the office and the type of procedure, click on the CONTINUE button. type of procedure is - canje de permiso de conduccion europeo (last on the drop down list)

You may have to try this a few times as they only allow you to go to the next step when appointments are available - this being the case this will pop up in red at the bottom - El horario de atención al cliente está completo para los próximos días. Inténtelo más tarde.

you will be asked to fill in your name, dob, nie number etc etc, please note that appointments are taking around 4 - 5 months at present (August 2018 - appointment not granted until early January 2019).

You will then be given a choice of 3 dates with various times from a drop down menu, choose your date and time, click on confirm, Print of the confirmation of your date and time, keep this in the car with you as it may cover you if you are stopped by the police and asked to produce your driving licence.

Complete the Forms

Filling in the forms -

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 (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€

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.


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 numger and date of birth.