Healthplan Spain


Woman showing driving licence with thumbs up How To Exchange Your Driving Licence In Spain Expat Tips

If you are considering moving to Spain permanently and currently hold a driving licence, you must be aware of the legal requirements in the country.

Whether you are a full-time resident in Spain or live in the country on and off throughout the year, you must have a basic understanding of the laws. After all, you wouldn’t want to be pulled over by those nasty Guardia Civil officers only to be berated and informed that you are not driving legally, would you?

There are different requirements in terms of licensing depending on several factors including whether you are a resident, whether your current licence is an EU/EEA or non-EU/EEA licence and how long you have been in the country.

Let’s take a look at the different scenarios and whether you need to exchange your licence before driving in Spain.

UK Driving Licence Holders

The following section will be of interest to UK nationals contemplating driving in Spain with a UK licence and also the procedure for UK driving licence exchange in Spain.

The British and Spanish authorities have been in discussion since Brexit on the exchange of UK licences.

After almost two years, both governments reached an agreement which was announced on November 19.

Hugh Elliott, the British Ambassador to Spain confirmed the following.

  • UK nationals living in Spain and using a British licence must exchange the licence for a Spanish one within 6 months.
  • UK drivers may continue to drive in Spain with their current licence while awaiting an appointment to make the exchange.
  • UK licence holders will need to take a psycho-physical aptitude test to exchange their licence.
  • UK licence holders will NOT need to sit a Spanish driving test.
  • Those who have exchanged their UK licence for a third-country licence may be able to exchange it for a Spanish one, however, this will depend on whether Spain has an agreement with the third country on licence exchange.

If you are in Spain for more than six months and have still not applied to exchange your licence, you will no longer be able to legally drive in Spain until you do exchange it.

Note that ‘UK licence’ means any licence that was issued by the DVLA (Great Britain licensing authority, DVA (Northern Ireland) and the Gibraltar licensing authority.

To find out more about the procedure to exchange your UK licence, see the section below for 'Non-EU Driving Licence Holders'.

EU Driving Licence Holders

If you are coming from another EU or EEA country, hold an official driving licence there and are over 18 years of age (legal driving age in Spain) you can use this when driving in Spain, however, you may need to exchange it under certain conditions.

If your licence is currently valid, you can use this to drive in Spain until it expires, although if you wish, you may exchange it earlier for a Spanish version. Note that this is entirely voluntary.

Under what conditions must I exchange my existing EU licence for a Spanish one?

  • If your licence expires, you must exchange it for a Spanish one.
  • If your licence has an indefinite validity (no expiry date) you must exchange it within two years of becoming resident.
  • If your licence is valid for more than 15 years for group 1 (AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE), or more than five years for group 2 (C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D and DE), you also must exchange it within two years of becoming a resident in Spain.

If you do exchange your licence, your current one will be withdrawn and you will be issued with a provisional licence while you await the processing of the new one. The provisional licence has a validity of 3 months and can only be used within Spanish territory.

Man holding up driving licence and car key with clenched fist

Non-EU Driving Licence Holders

If you hold a current valid driving licence from any other country outside of the EU/EEA, you are legally ok to drive in Spain for up to 6 months from when you first became a resident.

After the initial 6 months, you will need to exchange your licence for a Spanish one if you intend to remain in the country any longer.

Spain does have some reciprocal agreements with other countries including Japan, Switzerland, Andorra, Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Morocco, Peru, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela

This list does change from time to time so you are well-advised to check with your country's consulate in Spain for the latest information. You can see the official list of countries on the DGT page here.

If your licence is from any other country, you will, unfortunately, need to take a full Spanish driving test to obtain your new licence.

How to Exchange Your Licence

If you need to exchange your licence for a Spanish version you can do so by visiting your provincial tráfico headquarters Jefatura Provincial de Tráfic.

You will need to make an appointment online first. Alternatively, you can make an appointment by calling 060.

You will then need to provide the following documentation during your appointment.

  • Completed application form. Main page here. Select your country from the drop-down. UK nationals will need to use this application form.
  • Copy of your passport
  • NIE documentation (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)
  • Residence Card
  • Certificate of psychological aptitude issued by the authorised drivers check centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado). You can find your nearest centre here.
  • Two photographs of 32mm x 25mm in size.
  • Current licence and copy. (You may need a translation of the licence also)
  • Fee of €28.87. You can pay the fee online here. You may also pay during your appointment at the DGT office. Those over 70 do not pay. Note that the price for UK nationals is €20.81 with the price to renew the permit €24.58.

When do Spanish driving licences expire?

Note that your Spanish licence like in other countries will need to be periodically renewed. Currently, the periods are:-

  • Up to the age of 65, licences must be renewed every 10 years.
  • Over the age of 65, the licence must be renewed every five years.

Note that you do not have to resit the driving test.

If for medical reasons the permit is issued for less than five years, the following fees will apply.

  • Up to 4 years: The fee is 19.67 euros
  • Up to 3 years: The fee is 14.75 euros
  • Up to 2 years: The fee is 9.83 euros
  • Up to 1 year: The fee is 4.92 euros

Countries Not Permitted To Exchange Licences

There are a few countries where there is no agreement with the Spanish authorities to change their licences. These countries are Australia, Canada, South Africa and the U.S.A.

This means after 6 months of being resident in Spain, you will need to sit a Spanish driving test.

How Long Does It Take To Get A New Licence?

On average you should receive your new licence in around 2 months. Your provisional licence is valid for driving for up to 3 months.

Health Insurance for Residency / Visa 10% Discount* More Information *Terms & conditions apply