Spain´s latest UK driving licence demands cause anger among British nationals

Image of UK European driving licence. Image:

The news that Spain is looking for access to the DVLA database in return for granting an extension on the use of British driving licences in the country, has evoked an emotive response from UK nationals.


Spain, which requires British drivers who spend more than six months in the country to exchange their licence for a Spanish one, wants the UK to give the DGT direct access to the DVLA database. They say the access is necessary to be able to follow up those who commit driving offences in the country.

A number of the comments made online are supportive of the idea, with no shortage or respondents saying they are aware of people who have happily broken the law in Spain, knowing that the Spanish authorities will have difficulty tracking them down when they return home.

There were those in favour

One Facebook user commented on the Euro Weekly News page, saying: “If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about, simple,” whilst another added: “Nothing ng awful. It is a law. No point in moaning if you haven’t followed the law. British are not a special breed with special privileges. Grow up people!”

Some were more thoughtful, with one asking the simple question: “Why refuse automatic right when they accept upon request. You’d think they would make life easier for their own citizen’s resident in other countries and also want people to abide by laws”

Others spoke of personal experiences where they knew of cases, like those, that the Spanish authorities want to be able to track down.

One commented: “I know from long experience of driving in Spain (I reside in the UK now) that before they had DVLA access the Brits were the world’s worst for ignoring parking, speeding tickets etc and there was nothing much Spain could do about it.”

Another added: “I can understand they want access a friend here in Spain caught well over the limit so she returned to UK and kept on driving.”

Some were less forgiving with comments like: “For goodness sake people, get a grip and take a test don’t keep burying your heads in the sand. If you have been in Spain a while you are probably driving illegally.”

Then there were those who really had little sympathy, saying “Tough luck folks if you left it late, happy bus rides ahead.”

Then there were those against

Those expressing negative views towards the idea were both anti Spain’s access but also anti the whole idea of Brexit, saying: “Brexit – making simple stuff ridiculously complex for no reason or benefit since 2016.”

Others complained, saying: “We are not in the EU you have no right to access,” and “What Spain wants and how Spain gets it are two completely different cattle of fish. Trust them NOT.”

And finally, those who had a genuine gripe

For the most part people thought that giving the Spanish government access was in their words “fair enough,” however some had genuine grips. These generally related to lost documentation, delays in processing of documentation and errors.

A good example was one user who posted: “I tried to exchange my UK licence just after Brexit. The DGT lost my papers. Eight months later my documents were return with my British licence missing.”

The response to Spain’s request for access to the DVLA database in exchange for extending the acceptability of UK driving licences, received an emotive but perhaps unexpected response in that for the most part Brits see the logic in the idea.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


    • Tara

      11 May 2022 • 14:01

      The second inaccurate article I’ve read from you, and you haven’t even mentioned the actual problem. You say
      ‘Spain, which requires British drivers who spend more than six months in the country to exchange their licence for a Spanish one’. British drivers cant exchange. This is the issue. Unless you registered intent before 31/12/2020, but many people weren’t residents then or have had technical issues with the registration so are now stuck, living in places without public transport so can’t get to shops, work or even the test centre to register to take a theory and practical test.

    • Peter

      11 May 2022 • 17:01

      This is all so confusing my family have had holiday homes in Spain since 1981
      My wife and I decided to take the so called Brexit visa allowing us to visit Spain and stay longer than the 90 day restriction.
      However we currently split our time over the at 45% Spain & 55% either in UK or visiting other countries.
      So as a Spanish home and Spanish registered car owner who has a 5 year Brexit visa but does not holiday in Spain for more than 5 months a year in have to stop driving with a British licence ?

    • Colin

      11 May 2022 • 23:00

      The residency backlog was huge and some never got their residency though until late 2021.
      Then when you go to the dgt to exchange your licence ,they tell you that it should have been exchanged before 31/12/20.
      The dgt then said that you will have to wait until another Brexit deal.
      I asked if I could take a test and they said no,as I need to take a minimum of 5 lessons ,take a medical, take a theory test and a practical exam….minimum €1000 euros.
      I have heard alot of cases were they have lost ppls licences and paperwork while trying to exchange their licences.
      Someone is trying to make alot of money out of this.


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