UK driving licences valid in Spain?

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UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby gavilan » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:16 am

I saw this article in Guardian this morning ... ?anyone any comments?
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... eal-brexit

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby Trooperman » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:30 am

The Grauniad article: full of "maybe; possibly; and could" type comments seems to dwell on the "possibility" (that doubtful word again) that a driving test "may" (again!) be needed. I exchanged my UK licence for a Spanish one with only bureaucracy being the stumbling block and no test needed. However, with uncertainty reigning in all directions, I suggest anyone doing it acts quickly before those bureacrats invent reasons to obfuscate the established process.
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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby Beachcomber » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:12 am

This 'newspaper' is a little behind the times. I wrote this in April 2016:

Beachcomber wrote:If you are thinking of exchanging your licence you should get on and do it now because if, in the increasingly likely event that, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union you will not be able to exchange the licence and you will need to take a Spanish driving test.

When we exchanged our licences they were typed out on a clattering old typewriter with the letter 'S' missing and issued whilst we waited at the desk and that was even before Spain became a member of the European Union. I'm not sure if the rules allowed for that but they were so chuffed that we wanted to exchange our UK licences for Spanish ones that they just went ahead and did it.

Needless to say, that was in the days before Spain became a haven for rip-off merchants and control freaks.

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=36036&p=352611&hilit=driving#p352611

I based this on the fact that people with a driving licence originally issued in the Channel Islands cannot exchange their licence for a Spanish one (even if they have since exchanged it for a UK one) and have to take a Spanish driving test.

However, I have a feeling that I read somewhere that UK licences would still be able to be exchanged for Spanish ones but I cannot remember where.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby El Cid » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:45 am

Under the current No Deal scenario, this it the UK Government guidance.

Holders of UK driving licences who are resident in an EU country should exchange their UK licences for a driving licence from the EU country you are living in before 29 March 2019. If you haven’t exchanged your UK licence after our exit from the EU, you will be subject to the domestic laws of that country and how they treat non-EU licence holders, which could mean needing to retake your driving test. Many EU Member States only recognise third country licences for up to 6 months. EU issued driving licences will continue to be recognised in the UK after our exit from the EU.

Of course, it is highly likely that under a unilateral agreement, which the Spanish Goverment has confirmed will exist, there will be no change to the current rules. There are many countries outside the EU where their licences can be exchanged with no problems.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby marios » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:48 am

Can anyone tell me is a medical required to change your UK licence to Spanish licence, there seems great confusion over this.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby El Cid » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:15 am

Strictly speaking, no you do not need a medical.

https://sede.dgt.gob.es/Galerias/tramit ... ega_EN.pdf

However it will depend where you go to get it changed. I understand that Trafico in Malaga do ask for one.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby marios » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:28 am

Cheers Sid, we will be going to La Linea looks like one not needed according to friends but not going to take that chance now.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby elusive » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:31 pm

If you need one they will tell you at your first appointment.you have two appointments when changing your licence.first one to hand over all paperwork and second one to hand over your uk licence when everything is confirmed. so if you need one you have plenty of time inbetween to get it done. Didnt need one in malaga to exchange but that was a few years back

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby ebyard » Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:15 pm

As far as driving/renting a car in Spain goes (assuming you are non resident or don't swap your UK licence), you will need an International Driving Permit number 1949. Valid for 1 year.

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/internatio ... DP-Checker

Remember that if taking your car from the UK through France you will require an IDP number 1945 in addition to the permit for Spain. This is valid for 3 years.

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/internatio ... DP-Checker

Take a passport photo for each permit and the money. Only main post offices can do this, and most don't even have a clue how...

Brexit in action eh - get ready for more red tape!

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby alpineSi » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:40 pm

Canje = no medical.
Renewal = medical.

Obviously some areas might decide to ignore the regulations. I just sent my licence off with the gestors for the canje here in Castille y Leon yesterday. We'll see how long it takes but she repeatedly mentioned 3 months...

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby 1bassleft » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:07 pm

ebyard wrote:As far as driving/renting a car in Spain goes (assuming you are non resident or don't swap your UK licence), you will need an International Driving Permit number 1949. Valid for 1 year.

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/internatio ... DP-Checker

Remember that if taking your car from the UK through France you will require an IDP number 1945 in addition to the permit for Spain. This is valid for 3 years.

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/internatio ... DP-Checker

Take a passport photo for each permit and the money. Only main post offices can do this, and most don't even have a clue how...

Brexit in action eh - get ready for more red tape!

Small correction, ebyard, IDP 1968 is required for France and most other EU countries, 1949 (annoyingly) for Spain. Otherwise, exactly as you say. They could be got from the RAC and AA, even at their Chunnel shop, up until last January but now it's in person, larger POs only. I'm making a pre-28/3 flight back for this reason, too. If it's anything like when I pre-paid my Dartford crossing in NW England, I expect a muttering queue behind me as I talk the vendor through the process...

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby White Horse » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:39 pm

Am I reading some comments correctly? Would some people rather avoid a medical examination, and carry on driving? Would people prefer to bury their heads in the sand or be told that they are medically unfit?
The cost of around £35 for the medical is not too much - and I have heard of very few people failing it.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby El Cid » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:31 pm

I think you are missing the point. No one is trying to avoid a medical. The question was, do you have to have a medical to exchange your licence.

In some locations they do and in others they do not. It is hardly worth spending €35 for a medical certificate that will, in some locations just be thrown in the bin.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby elusive » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:01 pm

People want clarifacation on what the law says they should do nothing more.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby casita-bonita » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:45 pm

marios wrote:Can anyone tell me is a medical required to change your UK licence to Spanish licence, there seems great confusion over this.


We exchanged a couple of years ago in Malaga. At that time if you elected for your Spanish license to expire on the same date as the UK license no medical was needed. When we subsequently renewed our Spanish licenses later a medical was required. Although calling it a medical is something of a misnomer. Eye test and quick play on an archaic video machine.
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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby alpineSi » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:36 pm

Moving back from medical tests to recognition of licences, here's the official Spanish govt's proposed legislation: http://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/consejodemi ... spx#Brexit

Autorizaciones y licencias

Se reconoce la validez de los permisos de conducción expedido por autoridades británicas durante un período de período transitorio de nueve meses. En este plazo se podrá canjear su permiso de conducción por otro permiso español, lo que les permitirá seguir conduciendo en nuestro país, a pesar de la retirada del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea.

Transcurrido ese plazo de nueve meses, a los permisos de conducción expedidos por las autoridades británicas se les aplicaría la normativa española prevista para los permisos de conducción expedidos por terceros países, y ya no será posible el canje por otro español hasta que, en un futuro, se firme un convenio bilateral de canje de permiso de conducción con el Reino Unido.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby 1bassleft » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:47 pm

Good spot, alpine. It's a long document; do you know if the proposed 9 month transition will date from 29/3 or from when the legislation comes into effect (whenever that will be)? EDIT: or a 3rd possibility - an individual having a 9 month "transition period" from obtaining residence to exchanging licence?

And, apols for the reversion, but an ES-resident chum here in Benalmadena is belatedly applying for exchange (not renewal) and was told to have a medical. The eye test revealed a developing cataract which will require glasses for the meantime, so +1 for that result.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby alpineSi » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:22 am

1bassleft wrote:Good spot, alpine. It's a long document; do you know if the proposed 9 month transition will date from 29/3 or from when the legislation comes into effect (whenever that will be)? EDIT: or a 3rd possibility - an individual having a 9 month "transition period" from obtaining residence to exchanging licence?


I certainly don't know, and I've had another look but didn't find any specific reference, but I assume it's from the UK's EU withdrawal date because (i) at the date of publication (1 March), 9 months is the period until the year end, (ii) your second option is legally feasible but could see licences alternating between legal-illegal-legal over the course of a few days while awaiting the passage of the law, which I think they would hope to avoid, and (iii) your 3rd option would be a bureaucratic nightmare; it's already hard enough to get civil servants to agree on anything; imagine if they had to work out a different 9 months for every person! Who knows though?!

I read they are hoping to pass it before the election and it has support across the chamber, so should do so. Perhaps worth stressing it's all temporary too, so even if it passes perhaps best to do everything ASAP and not run down the clock to the 9 months:
Se trata de medidas de carácter temporal, dirigidas a facilitar el tránsito hacia la nueva situación derivada de la consideración del Reino Unido como un tercer estado. De este modo, no pretenden establecer la relación futura con Reino Unido y su vigencia cesará cuando transcurra el plazo que en cada caso se indica, o antes, si se adoptan, a nivel bilateral y europeo, según corresponda, los instrumentos llamados a regular las relaciones con el Reino Unido de forma duradera.


In theory, given that our driving licences already conform to EU norms, a treaty should be signed with the EU immediately that states they continue to be recognised as such so that we don't default to 'third country status'. Sadly, I have zero faith in any UK government doing that competently or any time soon.

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby Wicksey » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:56 pm

I see in the second paragraph of that article that it mentions there could be bilateral agreement with the UK regarding licences after the 9 months. So there may be an extension in time. At least the 9 months may give me a bit more time as we cannot apply at the moment as we need our licences to hire cars in the UK. I know I know .... should have thought of this earlier!

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Re: UK driving licences valid in Spain?

Postby gerrynag » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:23 pm

Important to note that this legislation only comes into force in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. If a deal is agreed then it won't apply, hopefully the agreement between the EU and the UK will cover our status in Spain, health, etc.


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