Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

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Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Sun Jan 09, 2022 4:25 pm

Unless yet another extension is succesfully worked out (or a more permanent bilateral agreement), the UK driver's licence won't be acceptable and applying for a simple exchange of UK for ES ceased to be available after 31/12/2020. I'm in the unusual circs of gaining residencia in Jan 20, went back to the UK for what I thought would be a short time and got stuck there throughout; only just now returning. Apart from my experience, though, there might be others with various reasons for needing to apply for a full ES driver's licence so any information swapping would be of interest to me - perhaps others. Not wishing to replicate what's already available on DGT web pages (nor adding to any confusion) but hints and tips, experiences etc.

I'm just at the start of the process, but I've decided an autoescuela is going to be worth the spend - if only to assist through an unfamiliar system. They've provided me with a flyer for the Centro Medico Oficial de Conductores (the medical certificate is valid up to 90 days and must accompany your application to take the driving test
https://sede.dgt.gob.es/sede-estaticos/ ... .04-ES.pdf
so timing is important) and a range of courses and fees. Personally, I'll take the teorica online exam in English as, although my Spanish isn't terrible, only 3 mistakes are allowed and I don't want any of them to be because of misunderstanding the text. Whether I try to have a practical exam in English (I've read that's possible in some areas) or have a more fluent Spanish speaker in the back (allowed, so I've read) I don't know yet.

Not as a recommendation but just for comparison, my local escuela is offering a €75 basic pack for up to 1yr unlimited theory tuition (less if you do it all online at home) and online test key. €99 throws 2 practical lessons on top and €250 gets the basic pack and 10 driving lessons. I'll also need to pay up €130.05 1 week before the driving test for unspecified traffic fees (taxes) and paper management, followed (assuming I pass?) by €81 for exam ticket and paper management.

I'm going to find out how much of these costs are actual fees/taxes and how much goes to the school's "paper management" and whether I'd save a lot DIY. If you know/find out before I do, please post.

Finally, I'm a little concerned at declaring I do not hold a licence issued by another state. Is that EU state or any nation state? I hold a full UK licence that I would have happily handed over for an ES one but throwing it in the envelope only to fail to gain an ES licence would be awkward when I visit the UK.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Tue Jan 11, 2022 2:48 am

I've since been told that the medical certificate must be done before taking the theory exam - increasing the possibility that you need another one before your application for the practical if you take too long. Failing the teorico (<27/30 score) canbe followed up immediately, but failing the 2nd time entails a 10 day delay before you can make a 3rd attempt. Failing this entails an 18 day delay before making a 4th attempt, so it's not something you should just try and wing in the hope of getting it right. There are some websites with practice questions in English, if you prefer, and Todotest has a lot of them in Spanish which my phone can Garble Translate straight into English (the DGT exam in English isn't perfect, but better than Garble Translate, in general).

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby elusive » Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:31 am

They are still having talks and licences are valid now until the end of feb. If its not urgent you could just sit it out

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby peteroldracer » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:47 am

If the dithering stops without resolution, are you prepared to start the process being unable to drive, and with the inevitable traffic jam of applicants?
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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby Evaready » Tue Jan 11, 2022 5:31 pm

I am in the process of doing this, albeit in Catalunya. The theory test is an absolute nightmare, even in English, because the translation is not terribly helpful (example, "adequate speed" actually means "appropriate speed"). You need to get the book, Quick Guide for a Class B licence and read it cover to cover many times as well as doing the online tests provided by your driving school (I did 75 of them before my second test). I failed the first time but thankfully passed the second with "just" 3 questions wrong the second time. You never find out which questions you got wrong, which means you can never learn from your mistakes. There is also a massive backlog, here anyway, for taking the tests, so even though in theory you can re-do it in a matter of days, I had to wait a month. I am now about to apply for the practical test and need a couple of lessons, but again I fear it will take some time because of the backlog and, yes, I do need to go and get another medical! Good luck with it all. Incidentally, I believe that the declaration is only for EU states so if you hold a UK licence, I wouldn't declare it because (the only benefit to Brexit that I can see) you should be able to hold onto it. Fingers crossed.
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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby spanish_lad » Tue Jan 11, 2022 6:31 pm

interesting that people are starting to do their licences again, without arguments.. hey, thats what they all voted for, right ? :eh:
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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Tue Jan 11, 2022 11:23 pm

Thanks for the responses, especially evaready as that's the kind of lived experience I was hoping to gain info from. Yes, Todotest on a phone translator costs me at least 2-3 from garbled translations but even the online official past DGT questions in English
https://www.driving-school-barcelona.co ... n-english/
are literal translations that don't scan sometimes. OTOH, there are a number of key ignorances of local differences that I am glad that they're being plugged. I'd even go so far as to see the reasoning for a teorico pass before swapping another nation's licence, although I could well do without the practical. If I can find out what appointments are like in Malaga province, I'll update. I hope it's not as bad, because March is looming as well as the expense of a medical only lasting 90 days.

Unless it's explicitly required, I do think it makes sense that "UK licence for UK, ES for ES" in some part because I'd lose my UK motorcycle validity but also I imagine the co-operation will cease and I shouldn't be immunised from UK penalties by smirking and producing my new ES licence.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:02 pm

Other sites also have mock DGT teorico exams, but so does the DGT itself:
https://sedeapl.dgt.gob.es/WEB_EXAM_AUT ... esServlet#

Click on "consultar" for the relevant driving category (Permiso B in my, and most other people's case) and a new window opens with a facsimile of the test beginning asking for your preferred language and DNI/NIE #. It's not necessary to put in your ID for this mock test. You then get 30 Qs, with the opportunity to go back, check and correct etc, before clicking "finalizar" and confirming. It then shows you, one by one, which you got correct or wrong. I've just tried it twice and got 30/30 each time but obviously I want to keep going until I make a total habit of doing that.

I'm not able to actually find the page for cita previas for the teorico in Malaga but the Jefaturadetrafico site has worried me, saying the test is 20 Qs with only two errors allowed (I'd rather have more Qs and proportionately more mistakes allowed)
https://www.jefaturadetrafico.es/dgt-examenes/

It also outlines the practical, saying it involves 10 mins answering verbals about basic mechanics and safety (in Spanish? better brush up on my car parts), 10 minutes driving to a particular destination making your own decisions (satnav allowed?) and finally 15mins driving according to the examiner's instructions. While I can, I had better get more experience in Malaga centro (not my favourite place to drive, tbh).

The DGT mock test mentioned above is still in a 30Qs in 30mins format, so I hope that Jefatura information is wrong.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby Evaready » Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:27 pm

The DGT tests are pretty useless, I am afraid, and incredibly easy compared with the actual. Before I took the theory test first time, I was getting 30/30 every time on the DGT website, so I thought I would be fine. Not so! I had only seen one of the questions before and managed to get 8 wrong- although what they were I have absolutely no idea. The only way I managed to pass the second time was doing the tests on my escuela's website (all 75 of them) and reading the book time and again. I thought it was maybe just my age and the inability to remember things as once I could, but talking to a young friend who did hers a couple of years ago, it really is notoriously difficult. best of luck with it.
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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:20 pm

Thanks for that input, Evaready. I was chuffed but not duped by the DGT mock - I think the database of Qs is quite limited as I'd seen them or their ilk all before. The Todotest website has many, many banks of 30 and, each time I do a new one, I'm lucky if I scrape 27 and more often score around 25 (sometimes, tbf, because the autotranslate on the phone is woeful). I am ploughing through them and also the ebooks on Spanish Highway Code out there but also weighing up which of the local driving schools to go with. They have in-house theory classes but neither (checked two so far) do theory in English. I'll still get something out of that, but I'd certainly prefer the timed exam in English.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:25 am

Just an update: I have just done Day 2 (of 5) of an intensive Zoom course organized by the driving school. 3hrs per day in Spanish is quite head-hurting but very useful. I would still prefer to take the theory in English (despite those "(a)- to change direction; (b) - to change direction choices) but it's quite handy to hear an explanation in Spanish that - translated in my head into literal English - gains more of an understanding of what the exam questions are trying to ask. Worth bearing in mind that the theory test DOES deliberately introduce "trick" questions, so it's worth using those 30 mins to study both the Q and the accompanying picture carefully to avoid the "wuh? how come I got that wrong?" feeling.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Fri Feb 11, 2022 5:19 pm

Another update:
I completed the 5-day intensive shortly after my last post, have done many, many of the driving school's database of theory Qs (and the Todotest website, which is free but sometimes dodgily Google translated) and tend to do them in "exam" conditions rather than "study" mode (which tells you as you're going along). Constantly getting scores of 28-30, so I went into the school to see if they'd enter me. I did (on their insistence - they have their pass rate to think of) 5 mocks in their office. Seeing as time was tight I rushed the 1st one a bit and scored 27 so I made sure I checked through on the subsequent 4 before clicking finalizar and passed all five (27,29,30,28,30). I'll go back in on Monday for some more and my instructor will pinpoint the areas I need to concentrate my revision (I know - it tends to be vehicles I have less experience of; trucks etc) and she'll be booking me in for the real deal Fri 18th.

Assuming that's passed, I'll do 10 driving sessions in their car and she's reckoning on taking the practical test end of Feb or 2nd of March. Just in time to make the 28/02 end of validity (as it currently stands and the embassy says there's no guarantee of a further extension) not a serious annoyance for me. Assuming I don't mess up.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Sat Feb 19, 2022 2:28 am

Phew, I took the theoretical today, Malaga, at 9am (in English - it just eats too much into my time and too many chances to misinterpret in Spanish) today and got the result at 5pm. 29 correct/30, which is a pass. I don't type this inviting anyone's :clap:, but here's my take:

Do the online freebie tests available in English (linked above) by all means, to begin with. Don't be surprised if, after 30yrs UK driving, you score 25 or less and fail. Some because you've forgotten the basics, more because two or more of the answers are ambiguous (both could be correct - even if the translation is quite good - not aways guaranteed) and many because you just don't get the weird vagaries of Spanish norms that, "surprise surprise" are not exactly what applies in the UK.

It might be a bit late now, but having some grasp of Spanish does help - even if you take the theory exam in English. You'll gain some warning 'flags' about "stop" as opposed to "park" and numerous other nuances. IME, treat the word "only" and, to some lesser extent, "always" with the utmost suspicion. The Zoom 5-day hurt my head and I fully understood <30%, but knowing where I'd previously gone wrong but not why helped me contextualize the problems. Which leads me to...

A driving school is well worth the investment. Yes, the instruction and paperwork was in Spanish but it's great because churning it into English in your head does help you understand the answer being looked for by the exam. That said, the DGT for-real test (I admit I got fairly lucky in the Qs) are a much better standard of colloquial English than many Garbage-Translate free sites.
Find out if your local school is signed up to this:
https://cloud.aeolservice.es/

and pay for the premium access (shedloads of practices) or at least use the free ones. They are seemingly very close to what tend to appear for real and, secondly, the ingles version is very decently close to what you can expect to see on the day (as opposed to "the driver wishes to... change direction or change direction or make a turn")

I still have the practica to do, no walk-through, but I'm happy to answer Qs if anyone has any.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Wed Feb 23, 2022 3:01 pm

The .gov website has just been updated with a further extension until 30th April 2022 for the validity of the UK driver's licence if resident in Spain. This is handy for me, as there was talk of me going for the practical test on 02/03 but now that seems to have gone and the driving school is awaiting news on the next test and the number of slots they'll get. Mid-March is more probable, and this news means that I can continue to drive my own car after the previous 28/02 deadline and the date of my test(s).

There is always the possibility that some simple exchange agreement will be thrashed out sometime, but I've come this far so I might as well give it a try.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby Evaready » Tue Mar 01, 2022 5:02 pm

Well done for passing your theory first time! I have also now passed my practical test- I had a couple of lessons just to brush up on correct procedure (which were much more stressful than the test itself) and then did the test up here in Catalunya. It was, amazingly, a doddle!! The examiner sat in the back, the driving instructor next to me and they chatted incessantly in Catalan for half an hour. Luckily I cannot understand Catalan, so didn't get distracted and every now and again the examiner would say in Castilian where she wanted me to go. Very easy, no naming of parts, no reversing, no parking. I suspect the instructor told her I had been driving for 45 years, so she wasn't too bothered. Boy, was I relieved to have passed- would just have been so embarrassing to fail! Got an emailed "provisional" licence which is valid until May, by which time I should receive the licence card- I hope. The only benefit of Brexit seems to be that I also get to keep my UK licence, which could be handy, although I am probably meant to hand it in to DVLA.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Wed Mar 02, 2022 7:56 am

I don't know what happened, but my lengthy (perhaps that might be the reason - I wouldn't blame the mods if so) congratulations never uploaded. I have my first practical lesson today, so I'll update on my experience. Again, very well done.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:14 pm

evaready, I know that you're allowed up to 9 minor infractions or 1 desfavorable and 4 minor, but 2 desfavs or 1 grave or 1 desfav + 5 minor is a fail. Did the examiner point out any infractions at the end, if you don't mind me nosing?

I've had two, 1.5hr lessons driving to then around Malaga. I'll be expected to make my own way to the courts (easy enough) or the hospital (already forgotten and couldn't find it on my own Friday) or somewhere else, then the izquierda/derecha stuff. I need to drive around Malaga more; it's not somewhere I have much need to go to.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby Evaready » Wed Mar 09, 2022 10:07 am

Sorry for the delayed response. No, I was not told about any infractions at all. At the end the examiner simply said it was all fine and carried on chatting to the examiner and I went off and drove home (under my UK licence!). During the test she didn't ask me to go anywhere specific just said turn right, turn left, take the 3rd exit at the roundabout etc. My guess is that it depends on the examiner and she really was very relaxed about it indeed! Sorry that I cannot help further.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Thu Mar 10, 2022 2:47 pm

All info very helpful, thanks. I've had my fourth double lesson today and have two more before my test (I block booked 10 as part of the good package deal but that left a long gap around now that I decided to fill in with an extra day - ha'porth of tar, want of a nail, etc). On non-lesson days, I've been going over these routes and I'm very comfortable if I'm asked to head for any of them but my instructor did say today that it's variable. Some get in and straight away give directions, some say "take me to the..." and (worst, in my mind given I don't really know the place) some just suggest you drive where you like for 10 mins. I'd blindly head into a dead end or fall off the quayside.

My least favourite thing are the raquetas (sort of roundabouts but you can drive straight through them). Instructor just says "frente/cambio de sentido" etc but it's quite easy to get disorientated in a strange town about where I came from and where I'm heading. Normally I get no comments other than occasional "bien" but today was much more "no, stay in the right, no, you need the middle" stuff. I know the basic principles of the raqueta but the reality is a lot harsher with arrows and solid lines suddenly appearing on the tarmac and only seen at the last moment in heavy morning traffic. Something else to work on in my own car over the next few days.

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Re: Anyone applied for an ES Driver's Licence from scratch?

Postby 1bassleft » Sun Apr 03, 2022 10:38 pm

I have passed (not absolutely official, but that's what the examiner told my instructor) and should pick up a temporary licence and green L on Monday. I never told my social circle here, but I did a practical exam in mid-March and was taken to a part of Malaga I have never seen before and the traffic lights weren't working. Stupidly, I went into a panic. I could see a couple waiting at the zebra but, with the lights down, what do I do? My instincts were to stop for them but no-one else did (city centre traffic, of course they didn't) so I went with the flow and that's two pedestrians I didn't give way to. Fail. Had another go this Friday (yes, April Fool's Day) and had a light change to yellow as I was practically on top of it. I stomped on the brake but there was no way to stop without throwing everyone into rib-crushing deceleration so I released immediately and went through.

I was somberly told about it at the end and didn't think my (truthful) reply that I looked down at the speedo at that moment, and looked up just as the lights changed, cut much ice so assumed I'd failed again. However, my instructor said it was my one mistake of any note and not enough to be a fail so I have a full Spanish licence now. I hope nobody's playing a joke on me, because I've told quite few people (including on this forum, now) that I'm a qualified driver here. I hope I'm right.


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