UK driving licence exchange agreement approved by Spanish ministers

UK driving licence exchange agreement approved by Spanish ministers

The British ambassador issued a statement after the government announced that from 16 March holders of UK licences resident in Spain can drive again for six months while they exchange them for equivalent Spanish ones

SUR in English


Tuesday, 14 March 2023, 18:29

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Spanish government ministers have approved the agreement that will allow UK driving licences held by residents in Spain to be exchanged for Spanish ones and vice versa from Thursday 16 March.

The deal approved at this Tuesday's Cabinet meeting (14 March) also includes the exchange of information about traffic offences affecting road safety.

The approval means that holders of a valid driving licence issued by either of the two countries can apply to exchange it for an equivalent document issued by their country of residence, without the need to take practical or theory driving test.

With this agreement, those British citizens resident in Spain who did not exchange their driving licence before the deadline in May last year will be able to do so from Thursday 16 March.

A six-month period has been established in which British citizens can drive in Spain with their original licences until these are exchanged.

In a video posted on the Brits in Spain Facebook page on Tuesday evening, the British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, encouraged UK licence holders to exchange their documents for Spanish ones "as soon as possible".

He also explained that more information about making appointments with local traffic offices would be provided on the DGT (Spain's directorate-general for traffic) website. The embassy would also be offering advice and information about the steps to take, he added.

• Gibraltar driving licences to be recognised in Spain as well as UK-issued licences

The full text from the Cabinet meeting was as follows

The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the agreement by which Spain and the United Kingdom will proceed to the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licenses as well as the exchange of information on traffic offences in terms of road safety.

This agreement puts an end to the successive extensions applied to the exchange of permits between the two countries that had been applied since the end of the transitional period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

From now on, holders of a valid and current driving licence issued by either of the two States may request the exchange of their equivalent driving licence where they have established their residence, without being subject to any additional requirement of practical test or theoretical and according to the equivalence tables between the categories of permits from both countries.

The agreement establishes that all valid permits or licences of current residents issued prior to its entry into force may be exchanged, while for permits issued after said entry into force it will be an essential requirement to access the exchange that the permits have been issued in the country where the applicant had his legal residence.

With this agreement, those British citizens residing in Spain who had not had their driving licence recognised before Brexit, nor in the successive extensions granted, will be able to do so as of Thursday, March 16.

To facilitate administrative processing at the provincial traffic headquarters, a period of six months has been granted during which British citizens can drive in Spain with their original licence while they process the exchange.

In addition, Spain and the United Kingdom undertake to provide each other with information on the data of the vehicles and their owners for the purpose of investigating traffic offences related to road safety, especially in cases of speeding, not wearing a seat belt, failure to stop at a red light, driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs, not wearing a crash helmet, driving in a prohibited lane, or illegal use of mobile phones.

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