A sample UK licence, still with the EU flag. SUR
Spanish Government’s driving licence exchange review imminent, says British Embassy

Spanish Government’s driving licence exchange review imminent, says British Embassy

An agreement allowing British residents to swap their UK licence and be able to drive in Spain without taking a test is expected at a Cabinet meeting "very soon"



Wednesday, 8 February 2023, 13:18


The British Embassy in Madrid has issued an update on its negotiations with Spain, where British residents who were unable to exchange their UK licences for Spanish ones within the allotted time period are currently not permitted to drive. Posting on the Brits in Spain Facebook page this Wednesday morning (8 February), the message was as follows:

“We know you are anxious for news about when the driving licence agreement will go before the Consejo de Ministros (Council of Ministers). We continue to press the Spanish Government for a precise date and, while they have not confirmed one yet, they have assured us that it will be very soon. We recognise this is frustrating but, as a Spanish Government process, it is not in our hands. Thank you for your patience.”

Previously the embassy outlined provisional answers to pertinent questions from worried drivers:

My UK licence has expired. Will I be able to exchange it without taking a test?

Yes. The text includes provision for expired licences to be accepted for exchange, provided they were valid at the time you began living in Spain.

Do I have to give up my UK licence? Why can’t I keep both?

Once an exchange agreement is in force, you can drive in Spain on your UK licence for the first six months of living here, during which time you must exchange it for a Spanish licence. It is not possible to hold licences issued by the UK and Spain at the same time. If you return to live in the UK at any point, you will be able to exchange your Spanish licence for a UK one without taking a test.

I'm in my 80s/90s. Is there any age restriction on who can exchange their licence?

There is no age restriction and your driving licence remains valid until it expires. However, in general, once you reach 65, your licence will only be issued for five years, rather than 10. Validity periods are different for driving different categories of vehicles.


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