The law on expat driving licences

There has been a growing amount of confusion recently regarding expat driving licences and their validity in Spain. This week’s Sur in English newspaper tells us the full facts on the matter, but in case you haven’t seen it, here is a quick update on the requirements.

The law currently states that, driving licences issued by any EU member state or countries that are part of the European Economic Area are valid in Spain and they remain valid under the terms of the country in which they were issued. However, when someone becomes a resident in Spain, they then become subject to the Spanish regulations.

If you are living in Spain and have an expiry date on your driving licence, it needs to be renewed before that date. If you don’t have an expiry date, you must renew within two years of becoming a Spanish resident. Drivers who became a Spanish resident before 19th January 2013 however, do not have to do anything until 19th January 2015. A foreign resident who doesn’t renew their driving licence when required will be treated the same as Spanish nationals and given a €200 fine.

From the 19th January 2015, all foreign residents and Spanish drivers are going to have to renew their driving licence whether it has an expiry date or not. The original licence will be replaced by a European version after a medical test at an authorised centre. Validity period for the new licences (either five or 10 years) will depend on the age of the driver and whether he or she has any illness or physical disability. You can find more information on the AEA’s website.

You can read more about driving in Spain, buying second hand cars, and lots of other road and travel related information on our blog.

One Response

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  • Andrew Dunbar says:

    Whatever Spanish law says about the acceptability, or otherwise, of foreign driving licences, UK law states that, when you move house, you must submit your licence to the DVLA in order that they may update their records and issue a new licence. (A simple check with the police will confirm this fact.) Since, as explained in DVLA booklet INS57P, a licence cannot be issued to an address outside the UK, the only course open to UK ex-pats in Spain is to exchange their UK licences for Spanish ones. This is a simple and straightforward process! It is about time that it was made clear to all those ex-pat Brits who refuse to change their UK licences for Spanish ones that they are DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENCE!

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