EU citizens are allowed to use their home country drivers' licenses while on holidays in Spain, residents have two options. Once you become a resident in Spain, you can head to your provincial traffic headquarters and apply for a new Spanish version (at a cost of 26 euros) or you can continue driving with your EU license.
If you wish to obtain a Spanish "carnet de conducir" (drivers' license) you will need to visit the "Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico", or Traffic Department, nearest you. You must supply the following documentation*:
- an official form provided by the Traffic Department, which you must fill out.
a photocopy of your existing license.
- one photo.
- a copy of your residency permit.
*Be advised that document requirements change. Click here to learn more about how you can prepared for whatever bureaucratic surprises await you at the Traffic Department.
Once you have obtained your Spanish license, you will be required to renew it according to the Spanish schedule.
If you keep your existing EU license then Spanish law states that the license operates under Spanish law - a reaction and eye test must be conducted every 10 years for those under 45 and from 45-70 years you must take the test every five years (e.g if you arrive age 45 you need not take the test until age 50, but if at 51 you are caught without the documentation your license would be considered INVALID).
These tests are also required on renwal of your license. Failure to take these tests would also make your license INVALID. This means that in the event of an accident you insurance company may not pay out on the basis of an invalid drivers license. The documents aquired as a result of these tests should be carried with you at all times when driving, to validate the license.