Time’s Running Out for Brits

SPN EU:UK Flags MergedThe Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) has warned drivers with British driving licences that they’re running out of time to exchange them.

With the UK leaving the EU on the 31st of December all existing mutual accords, they explained, will expire. However, there will be a grace period of six months.

For this reason, British drivers resident in Spain should request to change their UK licence for a Spanish one before the 30th of December.

We quote from the DGT’s website:

The European Union has negotiated with the United Kingdom a Withdrawal Agreement that enables a transitional period during which the rights of citizens are maintained in accordance with the acquis communautaire, an agreement that has already been approved by both the European and British institutions.

Therefore, European regulations on driving licences will continue to apply to those issued by the United Kingdom until the end of the transitional period, scheduled for December 31, 2020.

Consequently, valid, current driving licences issued by the British authorities will enable their holders to drive in our country until that date. As of the 1st of January, 2021, the general regulations on licences from third countries (non-EU countries) will apply and the licences issued by the British authorities will enable you to drive in Spain for six months from the entry of the holder in Spain or from the date of obtaining legal residence.

If you are the holder of a British permit and you plan to reside in Spain after the end of 2020, we recommend that you request the exchange, renewal or replacement of your licence for an equivalent Spanish one. To do so, you must make an appointment through the following link.

You can also find out more information on how to go about exchanging your licence here.

Will Spanish driving licences be recognized in the UK?

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, European driving-licence regulations will continue to apply in the UK until the 31st of December, 2020. Therefore, it is possible to continue driving and redeem the Spanish license until that date. As of the 1st of January, 2021, the treatment that the British authorities give to our driving licenses will change. At the moment, we have the information that appears in the following link.

Referring to driving in the UK with a Spanish licence, it would seem that as long as you do not spend more than six months there, you will have not problem.

(News: Spain)

  3 comments for “Time’s Running Out for Brits

  1. patrick storey
    November 28, 2020 at 11:27 am

    This probably reads as very superior in tone. I am sorry if that is the case. I retired to Spain on a small pension 4 years ago and quickly found out that I would require a N.I.E. and Padron. Due to my inexperience I went to Granada, rather then Motril. Then after Brexit was confirmed. I thought that Residencia would be a safeguard for me here. The only issue being the years worth of private health insurance. The Residencia was also the only way forward for me to obtain the Spanish Driving Licence by exchange and to avoid taking a test. This Residencia was done in Motril. The driving licence in Granada, having booked both via the websites. Quite a few of my UK Qualifications were not carried forward onto the Spanish licence, but I do not plan to drive a tractor. The exchange of Green Residenca for 5 Years to a T.I.E. sadly has come to a grinding halt. As they require a full years health care and I guess due to covid and my being a year older. The price has risen to between 1200 and 1400 Euros. More then double my last years outlay. Long story short. perhaps we should have all been more prepared for 2021?

  2. November 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Gordon: yes, you are right, the list of countries on the official DGT site does not include the UK or Great Britain. Also the nearest office appears to be Málaga. There’s not much we can’t do about that, I’m afraid as I am pretty tied down getting the paper edition to the printer on Sunday night. I’ll phone around to find out what British licence holders are to do on their website as soon as it is ‘in the can.’

  3. Hayden Gordon
    November 26, 2020 at 4:50 pm


    The link to exchange UK drivers license works OK, EXCEPT there are many countries on the list except for the UK??


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