By John Ensor •
Published: 14 Sep 2023 • 10:57
UK driving licences.
A final reminder for British expatriates who still hold a UK driving licence.
For British residents of Spain, the deadline to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one is Friday, September 15. Failure to do so will mean you will be unable to drive your car legally on Spanish roads.
This is a culmination of tense negotiations over the last few years that followed Brexit, as the UK Government and Spanish authorities aimed to clarify issues around driving licences.
Earlier this year, a new directive was introduced allowing drivers with UK-issued licences to swap them for Spanish ones. This initiative was established to enable drivers to continue operating their vehicles in Spain without undergoing a Spanish driving examination.
From 16 March 2023, British nationals residing in Spain were permitted to use a valid UK or Gibraltar licence until September 15. The Department for Transport confirmed that this arrangement was a short-term solution, mutually agreed upon by the UK and Spanish officials.
The GOV.UK website clarifies that British expatriates living in Spain are unable to renew or replace their driving licences from the UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man.
The ‘Brits in Spain’ Facebook group emphasised: ‘If you lived in Spain before 16 March 2023, you can only drive on your UK licence until September 16, 2023. If you need to keep driving here, please exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one as soon as possible.’
For those who relocated to Spain after March 16, 2023, they are allowed to drive with their valid UK or Gibraltar licence for six months from the date they establish residency. The Government recommends that during this six-month window, drivers initiate the process of swapping their UK-issued licence for a Spanish counterpart.
Hugh Elliott, the British ambassador to Spain, hosted a Facebook Live session to reiterate the importance of this change. He urged drivers to disseminate this information via the ‘Brits in Spain’ Facebook group and also directed them to the ‘Living in Spain Guide’ on the GOV.UK website.
According to the Spanish Government administration: ‘The exchange means we replace the driving licence you held with an equivalent Spanish licence.
‘During this procedure, your original licence is withdrawn and we issue you with a provisional licence. You will receive your definitive licence in approximately one-and-a-half months. You do not need to visit your police station or DGT office; we will post your licence to you at home.’
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
Its not just British immigrants but, anyone who holds a UK driving licence.
Hello John, Can I advise you that this situation is becoming a totally horrendous farce now and the failure of DGT departments such as Trafico, Alicante are after six months stopping people from driving legally after today, even when applications to exchange were made back in mid March 2023!
Surely you receive paperwork to say that your application was being processed and allowed to to continue to drive??💁
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