Healthplan Spain


British Embassy Provides Q&A Update On Driving Licence Negotiations Spain News

As the long-running saga of driving licence exchange for British nationals in Spain rumbles on, the British Embassy has taken to Facebook once again to provide an update.

The Embassy said that following last week's update, they felt it wise to update drivers further in response to the questions that had been asked.

From May 1 this year, British nationals living in Spain for more than six months and holding a UK licence have been unable to drive in Spain.

As a result, many have had to resort to using public transport to get to work, do their shopping and carry out day-to-day tasks.

Previously, the Spanish authorities were happy to extend the grace period while negotiations on the exchange process were ongoing, however, they declined to offer a further extension from May meaning that thousands of British drivers living in Spain could no longer take to the road.

With many people fearing that the negotiations would stall during August, as this is traditionally a holiday month in Spain, the Embassy said that they had been assured by their Spanish counterparts that this would not be the case.

The Embassy said, “We have sought assurances from the Spanish Government that we can continue negotiating in August if needs be. On the UK side, we have a full team available to cover this negotiation over the summer because it is a top priority for us.

Has there been any progress?

This week the teams met for further negotiations, however, the Embassy said that “there remains some outstanding work to be done to agree the annexes”.

The Ambassador, Hugh Elliott also met with citizen’s rights groups from across Spain to gather their feedback on the issues and answer questions from members.

When is the issue likely to be resolved?

In response to this, the Embassy said, “Although, as we’ve said before, it’s impossible to give an exact date on when they will conclude, we want to be open about the fact things may take longer than we’d like during August.

So although the Ambassador previously said he was hopeful of getting Brits back on the road by the end of July, negotiations could well take a lot longer and last into September and beyond.

What happens once the agreement is finalised?

Once an agreement is found between the two sides, it will then require legal and political approval. Both the Spanish cabinet and UK ministers will have to give the agreement the green light.

It will then be published in the State Gazette (BOE) and will come into force the same day.

At this point, Brits will have six months to exchange their licence for a Spanish one.

Furthermore, British nationals will be able to continue to drive for six months with their UK licence and will not be required to sit a Spanish driving test.

Will there be enough exchange appointments?

The Embassy has confirmed that they have stressed to the Spanish government that they will need to make provisions for UK nationals to exchange their licences making sure that there are sufficient appointments available.

However, the Embassy stressed that once the window does open, British nationals should not delay and book their appointment as soon as possible.

They said, “We would encourage you to get an appointment as soon as you can and not leave it until the last minute, remembering that you do not have to exchange where you are resident if there is greater availability elsewhere.

What about if a licence has expired?

The Embassy has said that these can be exchanged, however, the licence had to expire once you entered Spain, not before.

Will any agreement only cover those who were in Spain prior to Brexit?

The statement said that this was not the case and anyone holding a UK licence who entered Spain post Brexit would also be covered by any deal.

At the time of writing, there had been 790 comments on the Embassy’s Facebook update with Brits furious that the negotiations had taken so long and that an extension had not been granted by the Spanish authorities.