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Old Feb 11th 2013, 8:43 am   #1
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Default The Ultimate Driving licence info closed thread

Because the subject causes so much grief I have taken the exceptional decision to post the wiki here. Amen


UK driving paper driving licences issued after 1990 and the “new” photocard licences issued since 1997 are valid for use in Spain.

Earlier licences are only valid if accompanied by an official translation into Spanish.

However, if you are a resident with the old green paper licence, after 2 years of residence you must either exchange it or register it with Trafico and provide a medical certificate.

Provisional licences cannot be used in Spain. UK licences for cars held by someone aged 17 are not valid in Spain as the minimum age for driving a car is 18.

If you have held a UK car licence for 3 years you are allowed to drive a motorcycle or scooter with a capacity up to 125cc.

According to Spanish law, if you are resident in Spain, then you are free to use your UK licence but you must conform to the requirement for medicals and the same periods of validity as would apply to Spanish nationals.

The question of validity is no longer such an issue in most cases as the Spanish rules recently changed and most licences are now valid for 10 years which is the same as the UK photocard licence. Previously any Spanish licence issued after age 45 was only valid for 5 years. Renewal in Spain after 65 gives a validity of 5 years. A UK licence issued after 70 is only valid for 3 years so no problem here.

If you are resident in Spain when your UK licence expires you cannot legally renew it in the UK so you are obliged to exchange it for a Spanish licence.
If you lose your licence then it must be replaced with a Spanish licence. This can take time as you would need to get a certificate of entitlement from the DVLA.

Apart from this, you are not obliged to exchange your licence but you do have the option to do so. A medical is not normally required when you exchange your licence. Your UK licence will be returned to the DVLA in the UK.
You are not obliged to register your personal details and the details of your UK licence on the Spanish register of drivers but you can do so if you wish to. Your licence is sent away, you will get a temporary replacement document, and it comes back with your NIE laser printed onto the UK licence. If you should lose your UK licence then it is very simple to get a Spanish replacement as all the details are already on file.
If you wish to have your licence endorsed there are details of the requirements here:-
Dirección General de Tráfico

If you wish to exchange your licence there are details of the requirements here:-
Dirección General de Tráfico

Please note that although the need for a medical certificate is not one of the listed requirements and this has been confirmed by the UK Embassy, there have been reports that at some Trafico offices (specifically Málaga) they have asked for one.

Renewal of a Spanish driving licence is now extremely simple. You turn up at your local medical centre in the province that you live. You can find out the locations at http://dgt.es/portal/es/oficina_virt...e%20solicitar?

You need your old licence, ID (passport), resident’s certificate or valid card. The cost is approx €40 for the medical which includes taking a digital photo and submission of the application to Trafico. The new licence will be sent by post. From my experience it takes about 2 weeks. In addition you pay the licence fee of €22.40 which is waived if you are over 70.
Further details of the process at

The question of the legality of a Spanish resident having a UK licence with a UK address on it is often raised. The DVLA will not issue a licence with an address outside the UK. Under UK law it is an offence to have an incorrect address on a driving licence. This has been checked out with the DVLA in the UK and their response is:- “It is accepted that drivers who move to another part of the EC/EEA could be holding driving licences showing an incorrect address. This is permissible under the terms of the EC Directive on Driving Licences.”

Other useful links. British Embassy on driving licences. http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/help-...-in-spain/cars
DVLA driving abroad on a UK licence http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring...ng/DG_10023103
EU driving licence details http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_s...licence_en.htm
[edit] Exchanging a UK licence for a Spanish photocard licence

This is the personal experience of one of the Spanish forum members extracted from the following thread Login required to edit : British Expat Wiki
I left Alhaurin el Grande at around 11,30am this morning for Malaga after doing several things around town, and got to the bottom of the a357 at about 11,45/11,50. parked up, after finding the Trafico building, hoping i wasn’t too late.
I walked in, nobody about to ask, no signs.. what to do? i went and got in the queue for information. apparently the right move - when i got to the front i asked what i needed to do to change my English licence for a Spanish one. the lovely lady at the desk gave me three forms. one was an information sheet, the second a "declaration", and the third a form to fill in with name/address etc for the details of the new licence. she also gave me a ticket for an "appointment" at one of the main desks (there’s loads).
so, armed with these forms, i went and sat down - there’s loads of seats. i read the forms. you need this this and this blah blah. checked as i went down the list 1,yep, 2,yep, 3, pagar tasa 26€.. hmm i thought .. where to do that. i looked around for signs and saw the "caja" on the left. ok, looks good, go to that desk. got in the queue, and got to the front.. i hadn’t filled out the info / carbon copy sheet, need to fill that in first. so i asked for a pen.. they don’t have any. take a pen! looking about, i saw an empty desk with a pen on the counter. went and used that one. filled in the form, and got back in the queue.
got to the front of the "caja" queue, and handed her my now filled in carbon copy info form, she fed it into the machine, like they do in the bank, it came out with "tax paid 26€ blah blah" on it, i paid, job done, she gave me another ticket. (the first one from information was C054, the second C064, it was on C058 when i was at the "caja" desk, so i had a few minutes to wait.
looking again at the information sheet i was now on points 4 and 5, which involved photos and photocopies.. hmm looked about.. couldn´t see either in the Trafico building.. so.. went outside and asked one of the "do you need a medical" touts outside (mostly lovely looking girls actually! lol .. it turned out that the kiosk, as in, the sweets/chrisps/drinks kiosk outside does photocopies. excellent, went there and got them done (25c each), asked him where to get photos, expecting to have to jump in the car and go somewhere, he pointed down the street. in the distance, say 150m from Trafico was a medical place, that also did photos. bargain. so i walked there, 6 photos, 4€.
went back in to Trafico and waited for my turn. C064 came up, and presented all my documents to the woman at the counter. "no problem, stamp, staple, sign this form, tappity tap, what’s your phone number, we’ll call you when its ready, byeeeeee" ...
i was shocked, all done and dusted in under an hour.
i needed my:
passport, and photocopy of it, driving licence, and photocopy of it, NIE, and photocopy of it. 1 photo, 26€ in cash, and an hour or so to spare ... and .. TAKE A PEN
easy when you actually do it and stop worrying about it personally, knowing how to do it, and looking back, i really should of thought about taking photocopies and pictures with me before i went, would of saved the looking about and trying to find places
im now waiting on their call to go and collect my new shiny Spanish licence
yesterday i received a letter from dgt (its written in English) in a posh little hand written envelope too, and its cream not white.. and i didn’t sign for it...
it says, word for word :
dear sir / madam,
i am writing to inform you that your driving licence from the united kingdom is ready to be exchanged for a Spanish one. you will have to come to the jefatura provincial de Trafico in Málaga on the 18/01/2010 between 10,30 and 12,00 in order to get your driving licence.
please get a number from the canjes window in information when you arrive, and bring with you the following things: (only those with a cross)
your personal id - dni, OR nie (or resident card if in date), OR residence certificate and passport (originals)
your driving licence - plastic card and counterpart (originals)
one photo, (colour, 35mmx35mm on a white back ground)
a medical certificate from a drivers medical centre
so there you go. looks like i’m collecting my new shiny one in a few weeks apparently i do now have to have a medical though, which is a little strange, i would imagine because my photo licence is more than 10 years old ? i’m not really fussed, i’m not blind or anything, so it should all be good
well - another update. i went down, did the medical. took it in with me, got a number, waited
they checked papers, took the medical certificate off me, checked this and that... then .. handed me a card "temporary" licence.
apparently i’m waiting for my "new" Spanish licence which will take 2 weeks and arrive in the post.
ok, update no. 2 today ...
the postman left my new licence tucked in the door reja .
[edit]Reregistering a UK car in Spain and other driving information

Registering a UK car in Spain. Costs & procedure (2 August 2011)
1. Car Items. Change to “left hand drive” style lights, absolute necessity for a Spanish vehicle Plus Tow Bar for trailer / caravan must have approved stamped number, No window covering / shading, tyres must be European; Roof rack must be approved, Sun roof can be accommodated, we can also organise wills at the Notary All prices approx
2A. Notary for Acta de manifestaciones (also possibly wills) Need NIE & Empadron. Complete Acta de manifestaciones pro-forma plus passport (70 euros) next fill in credit card form for consulate (90 euros), plus photocopy of V5 logbook, plus 50 euros return for courier (we supply covering letter). Receive “Acta de Manifestaciones” and notarised copy of passport 210 Euros
2B Census office for Volante de Empadronamiento (ensure current - under 3 months) Escritura plus NIE Original and photocopy plus Passport and photocopy Free
2C. Ficha Technical (If you haven’t got a “Certificate of European Conformity) 1st appointment NIE, need logbook, car handbook very useful for dimensions. 2nd appointment (two days later), need 90 euros plus our fee 200 euros (Chiclana area – of which 40 euros is refundable on ITV first time pass) 290 Euros
3. ITV (MOT test) Need Log book, Volante, Consulate certificate (Baja), ficha technical, NIE Original & photocopy. When collecting documentation one week later we ensure original documents are returned. (and make a note of next test date) 130 Euros
4a. Hacienda Form 06 – need all documentation from ITV, NIE, Volante, consulate form (Baja de Residencia) (all need original and photocopy) 50 cents only
4b. Ayuntamiento to pay Road Tax Need documentation from ITV, Ficha technical, volante de empadronamiento, NIE. All require original and photocopy (Price depends on engine size / emissions). Up to 225 Euros
5. Trafico Cadiz Need Form from Trafico for “Cambio Matricular”, NIE, Volante de empadronamiento, Passport, V5 logbook, form 06 and hacienda copy, MOT pass certificate, Green ITV ficha technical, road tax form (pink), Baja de Residencia (consulate form) (all need original & photocopy) 90 euros (no.plates 20 euros) Once complete you need to send to the DVLA a photocopy of the V5 logbook and a photocopy of the Permiso de circulacion

Update Sep 2014

There is no need for a consular certificate as the 60 days now starts from the date the Padron was issued

Driving licence
To exchange a driving licence :- Original licence plus photocopy, Letter of authority if licence holder not present; Trafico Form to be filled in for payment; residencia plus photocopy or NIE and Volante originals and photocopies, 3 photographs (1 is spare)
The validity of Spanish licences is :- Up to age 65 = every 10 years Over 65 = every 5 years

Last edited by Fred James; Sep 5th 2014 at 10:59 am.
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