Spain’s Interior Ministry has finally confirmed that after 10 months of not being allowed to drive legally on Spanish roads, British drivers living in Spain will be able to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one from Thursday, March 16.
The Ministry of the Interior announced that the Council of Ministers in Madrid had approved the agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom for the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licences. The agreement also includes the exchange of information on traffic offences.
Approximately 400,000 UK nationals who live in Spain, along with hundreds or even thousands of Spaniards and foreign nationals who passed their driving test in the UK, have not been allowed to drive their vehicles in Spain, or rent one, since May 1, 2022. So this long-awaited announcement will be a relief to many.
This agreement brings an end to the successive extensions that were in place since the end of the transitional period provided for in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement for the exchange of licences between the two countries.
Moving forward, individuals who have a valid and up-to-date UK driving licence can apply for an exchange without having to complete any additional practical or theory tests.
With this agreement, British citizens residing in Spain who had not received recognition for their driving licence before Brexit or during the successive extension periods can do so from Thursday, March 16th.
A period of six months has been granted during which British citizens can legally drive on Spanish roads with their original licence while they process the exchange.
In addition, the United Kingdom and Spain have agreed 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. In particular 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, and the illegal use of mobile phones.
The new legislation will also apply to those from Gibraltar who will not require an International Driving Permit while visiting Spain. Additionally, those who have a Gibraltar driving licence and who reside in Spain may exchange their licence for a Spanish one without having to undergo any practical or theory tests.
Back in January, the British Embassy in Madrid provided advice to British residents regarding an impending agreement. They advised those who still needed to exchange their driving licences to undergo a psicotécnico test, as a certificate demonstrating successful completion of the test would be required for the exchange process.
These certificates are valid for three months and in case of failure, individuals may retake the test as many times as necessary.
The psicotécnico test is a short examination to assess one's vision and reaction time.
Additionally, a brief interview with a physician may also be required.
The DGT has listed official locations for conducting the psicotécnico test here.