British embassy in Spain reveals more details for drivers ahead of licence exchange law approval

UK driving licence discussions with Council of Ministers in Spain to follow 'very soon'

Driving licence negotiations have been a "top priority for UK", though Brits in Spain complain. Image: Yau Ming Low/

The British embassy in Spain provided an update regarding the exchange of driving licences in Spain.

As tweeted today, Friday, December 2, on the official UK In Spain profile @ukinspain, the British embassy in Madrid provided an update on the current situation regarding exchanging driving licences in Spain. The information was retweeted by Hugh Elliott, the British Ambassador in Spain @HughElliottUK.

The message read as follows, and was also repeated on the official Facebook page at

“Following the ambassador’s last message, both the legal and political approvals are underway. We can’t yet provide a date when the process will be complete, but once we have further information we will let you know. In the meantime, here are provisional answers to some of the questions you have asked about what we expect to happen next”.

What happens after the agreement is published in the BOE?

“Once the Agreement is finalised and published in the BOE (Spanish state bulletin) you will be able to drive for six months on your valid UK licence, during which time you will need to exchange it for a Spanish one to be able to continue driving”.

“After that six months, you will no longer be able to drive on your UK licence but will be able to continue to exchange it for a Spanish one. When we say UK licence we mean any valid licence issued by the DVLA (Great Britain licensing authority), DVA (Northern Ireland licensing authority) or Gibraltar licensing authority”.

“I understand I have to take a psicotecnico test (psychophysical aptitude test). What does that involve?

“The psicotecnico test is a short test to check your eyesight and reactions. You may also have a brief interview with a doctor. You will need a certificate showing you have passed the test in order to exchange your licence. It is valid for three months. There are a wide range of providers and you can find the official list at:…/centros-reconocimiento-conductores/”.

Will UK driving licences as a result of an exchange of a licence obtained by a test in a third country be exchanged? (For example, I took my driving test in Australia and converted my Australian licence to a UK one when I lived there)

“You should be able to exchange a UK licence obtained as a result of an exchange with a third country as long as Spain also has a driving licence exchange agreement with that country. For example, Spain does not have an exchange agreement with Australia, so you would not be able to exchange it if your licence was originally granted there”.

What types of licences can be exchanged?

“You can exchange any valid UK car (category B) licence and we expect that many other licence categories can be exchanged too, including mopeds and motorcycles. Further details of all categories will be available when the agreement is published”.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he 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