How to Take the Theory and Practical Exams and Get Your Spanish Driving Licence
If you live here in Spain and want to obtain your first driving licence, you will need to take a driving theory and practical test as is the case in the UK and other European countries.
The procedure is relatively straightforward and comprises of five main requirements.
Note: To obtain a B-class (passenger car) driver's licence in Spain, you will need to be at least 18 years of age (16 for motorcycles).
Register at your Local DGT Office
Before you do anything else, you will need to gather the following information to register yourself at your local DGT centre.
These will then need to be presented at your nearest DGT office. On the following page, you will be able to locate the office closest to you https://www.dgt.es/conoce-la-dgt/donde-estamos/
You will need to make an appointment by calling 060 or by completing a simple form online at https://sede.dgt.gob.es/es/permisos-de-conducir/obtencion-y-gestion-de-permisos/solicitud-de-prueba-de-aptitud-de-examen/
For further details on the procedures above, you can view the following page from the DGT (English Option Available) https://sede.dgt.gob.es/es/permisos-de-conducir/
Preparing For The Theory and Practical Exams
Once you have registered yourself with the DGT, you will need to think about studying for the theoretical exam.
Although it is not a legal requirement, it is advisable to sign-up with a local driving school (Autoescuela) to prepare for the theory exam. The advantage of using an Autoescuela is that they will have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the whole study process not to mention provide you with the necessary learning materials and aids, which are not usually available in the shops.
You may study for the theory exam yourself and there are many stories in internet forums of people who have done just this, so it is an option for those who wish to go it alone. There are several companies online that provide you with all the information that you need online including study material and practice exams. Check out https://practicatest.com and https://www.englishdrivingschool.com for further information.
The Theory Exam
Once you are ready, you will be able to sit your theory exam at your local DGT office. The good news is that if required, you may take the exam in English and will need to request this on arrival at the testing centre.
Make sure that you arrive in good time and have some form of photo ID with you.
You will need to answer 30 multiple-choice questions that are taken from a pool of around 3,000 questions. Depending on which testing office you attend, the test will be done using either a good old-fashioned pencil and paper or if you are lucky, a computer-based test system.
You will need to answer around 90% of these correctly to pass.
Exam results are usually available the next day (unless taken on a Friday) and can be obtained via the following official DGT web page.
The Practical Exam
So you've completed the theory test and passed with flying colours. Well done, you're halfway there!
The next step is to register with a driving school (Autoescuela) where you can expect to pay around €40 per lesson. Many schools will offer package deals including a set number of hours spent behind the wheel. Expect to set aside around €1,000 or more for your lessons and registration fees.
There are several Spanish driving schools available in different regions that can provide both theoretical and practical instruction in English.
Unlike in the UK and other countries, all driving lessons in Spain have to be taken with an approved driving school or instructor. Taking lessons with friends and family members is not permitted.
When ready, the school will arrange a practical test for you. On the day you may be taking the test in the vehicle with other candidates present.
The test will comprise different autonomous and directed driving tests and you will be allowed up to 10 minor errors. If your DGT examiner has to use the emergency brake at any point it will be an instant failure.
You will also need to undertake a mechanical competency test in which your instructor will ask you to turn on headlights, indicators, A/C and possibly check fluid levels and tyre pressures. Additional requirements may be added to the practical test in the future such as correct usage of Sat Nav's/GPS.
If you pass the practical test, you will receive a temporary licence until your full licence arrives in around two weeks or so. If like 73% of other first-time drivers in Spain, you fail the test, you will need to retake the practical test.
Unfortunately, you will need to display a green L-plate (V-13) on the left-hand side of the rear window to inform other drivers that you are still a novice driver. This will need to be displayed for 12 months.
If you have passed all that, congratulations, you're good to go! Happy driving!
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Updated: June 21, 2023 CET
Updated: January 22, 2024 CET