Ongoing Driving Dilemma For Brits In Spain

UK – Spain Driving Licence Chaos

DGT stopping drivers. Credit: Juan-Carlos-L.-Ruiz

From Friday, numerous British residents in Spain will find themselves unable to drive using their UK driving licences, and the licence conversion system remains problematic.

The DGT, Spain’s traffic authority, remains steadfast in its refusal to recognise paper licences. This is despite the British Embassy’s confirmation that the recent agreement between the UK and Spanish governments validates these paper licences, according to Mallorca Daily Bulletin, Monday, September 11.

DGT’s Firm Stance

However, the DGT in Palma has openly communicated to the media that paper licences won’t be accepted. Feedback on various social media platforms suggests that this isn’t an isolated issue in Mallorca; other regions are echoing the same sentiment.

Implications for Expats

Moreover, British expatriates in Spain, who no longer possess a UK residential address, are finding themselves in a bind. The DVLA has informed the Bulletin that these individuals can’t swap their paper licences for the newer biometric versions.

For those British expats in Spain holding paper licences – which remain valid until their expiry in the UK and other EU nations – the upcoming Friday marks a significant change. Post this deadline, which is likely the final one, they won’t be able to drive using their UK licence, although renting a car remains an option.

The Bulletin has highlighted several instances in Mallorca where expats are grappling with this change, unsure of their next steps. The inability to drive threatens to significantly impact their daily lives.

Embassy’s Efforts And Challenges

The ambassador has consistently emphasised the importance of licence conversion for British expatriates. However, those with paper licences face a unique challenge – they simply can’t make the switch. The only apparent solution is to undergo a Spanish driving test. But for older Brits, this isn’t just a daunting task but also a costly one.

The embassy has been aware of this issue for the past five months. Yet, a resolution seems elusive, making this week particularly crucial for British residents in Spain.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals. When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.