How to Obtain a Spanish Driving Licence

How to Obtain a Valid Spanish Driving Licence

Now that Brexit has finally happened and we’re in the 12 month transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020, I’m sure there’s a clamour of people looking to change their UK licence to a Spanish Driving Licence. So with that thought in mind, I’ve done my best to cover the different scenarios that not just our friends from the UK will encounter, but any ex-pat without a Spanish driving licence planning to drive in Spain indefinitely.

Spanish Driving Licence - rules for expats

Getting a valid driving licence in Spain is straightforward enough, but full of paperwork. However, a little guidance can go a long way in making the process easier or at least, a bit faster. First off, if you’re an EU(UK) or EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) citizen, then your licence from your home country is valid and usable in Spain. You can legally drive in Spain using your existing driving licence for the first two years of residence, but you must register your details with the traffic authorities after six months of being in the county. You can do this at the Jefatura Provincial de Trafico.

So, if you have EU(UK)/EEA driver’s licence, it’s valid in Spain, and you can continue using it if:

  • The licence is a legitimate national licence from your home country
  • You meet the minimum age required to drive in Spain (18 years)
  • Your licence has no penalizations from your home country

Other countries that can use their standard driver’s licence in Spain include the countries specified in Annex 6 of the Austria Convention or Annex 9 of the Geneva Convention.

These are; Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Jordan, Turkey, Ukraine, South Africa, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Algeria, Colombia, Chile, Croatia, Macedonia, Morocco, Tunisia, Peru, Serbia, Uruguay Turkey, and Venezuela.

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If you don’t obtain a Spanish driving licence after two years of residency, you can face a €200 fine. Mostly, changing your licence to a Spanish driving license is an administrative task that doesn’t involve taking a Spanish driving test.

driving in Spain without valid licence can result fines

How to change your driving licence

To change your EU(UK)/EEA licence over to a valid Spanish driving licence pay a visit to the Provincial de Trafico –

You’ll need the following documents:

  • Application form
  • Valid passport or national identity card
  • Proof of residence (your NIE)
  • Valid driving license to be exchanged (original and photocopy)
  • Two recent photographs (32x25mm)
  • Declaration in writing that you haven’t been banned or suspended from driving
  • Confirmation in writing that you don’t hold another driving license of the same class in another country

Once all the correct documents have been supplied, Trafico will issue your new Spanish drivers licence and usually send it via post to your home address in Spain. Job Done!!

If you’re not an EU/EEA citizen or a citizen of non-European countries mentioned above, then you’ll need to obtain a Spanish driver’s licence after six months of being in the country.

If you’re not a holder of a driver’s licence or you’re not eligible (Non-EU/EEA) to change your current driving licence to a Spanish driver’s license, then you’ll be required to take the driving test from scratch.

How to get Spanish Driving Licence legally as an expat

How to obtain a driving licence from zero

Here are the steps involved in obtaining a Spanish driver’s licence from zero.

Step 1: Pass a medical examination that will confirm you’re fit to drive

  • The test focuses on your hearing, eyesight and your reaction times. The medical report should be attached to your application, and the cost of the medical examination is €100. The examination is conducted in the Centro Medico Conductores, and one of these centres is found in most Spanish towns.

Step 2: Take a test to determine your knowledge of Spanish traffic laws

The test is divided into two; a written and a practical driving test. You have to pass the written test before proceeding to do the practical test.

Although the written test can be done in English, the availability of the practical driving test in English will depend on the region, and whether or not the instructor speaks English. You’ll to need to pay a €90 fee to book the driver’s test.

You’ll be issued with your driving licence if you pass both the medical and the driving test. The driving licence is usually sent to the address you specified on your test application form. The Spanish driver’s licence is valid for ten years. For anyone from the UK, the Driving licence rules above will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.


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