The DGT, the government department responsible for the Spanish road transport network, this week put in place a new system which will speed up the process for British nationals living in Spain to exchange their UK driving licence for a Spanish one before the end of the year.
Licence exchanges must be started before the end of the transition period under the Withdrawal Agreement for the UK's departure from the European Union on 31 December 2020. However, a lack of appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic has made this difficult for a number of people.
Step one: Start your application
The new system, which went live on Monday, is a two-step process. The first step is to make an application to the DGT before 30 December. This can be done this via their online portal (if you have a digital certificate/CLAVE) or by calling 060.
In some provinces it may also be possible to do so by downloading the form and taking it to the local office, though ringing ahead to confirm this is advised.
An appointed representative (a gestor, for example) can do the application on behalf of a licence holder but for this part of the process a NIE is required.
Step two: Make an appointment
Three days after submitting an application, an appointment with the DGT to do the exchange can be requested. This should be booked on the DGT’s website.
As long as applications have been submitted before 30 December, and the UK authorities have verified the licence by the end of the year, the appointment to carry out the final exchange can take place after 1 January 2021, provided it is within the first six months of 2021.
It is important to note that a residency certificate or TIE is required to do this final exchange, so if applicants are in the process of applying for residency it is advised to choose a later date for the appointment.
Right to drive
Irrespective of whether a UK licence has been verified for exchange by the end of the year, UK licence holders will be able to drive in Spain for six months from 1 January 2021.
The future rules on exchange and recognition of UK licences are still subject to negotiation.