Driving Licence Deadline

On the 31st of December the transition accord between the EU and the UK runs out meaning that driving licences issued by the latter are no longer valid here.

SPN Brexit ImageTherefore, starting on the 1st of January, 2022, your UK driving licence will not be recognised as valid not only within Spain, but the rest of the EU, as well.

On that day, Article 21 belonging to the Reglamento General de Conductores comes into force meaning that you could possibly face a fine soon after of up to 6,000 euros. Now, this works both ways because Spanish licences won’t be valid in the UK, either.

Quoting from the DGT’s webpage on the subject, “Es decir, sólo serán válidos para conducir durante el plazo de seis meses, desde la entrada de su titular en España o desde la fecha de obtención de su residencia legal.”

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A rough translation would be, “you can drive with a UK licence for a period of six months following entry into Spain or from taking up legal residence in Spain.”

The following is from the UK Government’s website:

If you were living in Spain before 1 January 2021, your valid UK driving licence will be recognised for driving in Spain until 31 December 2021.

If you moved to Spain after 1 January 2021, your valid UK licence will be recognised for 6 months from the date you obtained residence, or until 31 December 2021, whichever is later.

If you live in Spain, you must exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish one. You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead.

What you need to do depends if you registered your details and intention to exchange with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT) before 30 December 2020. Read the Spanish Traffic Authority’s (DGT) guidance on using and exchanging licences in Spain (in Spanish, with English translation).

If you registered your details with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT) before 30 December 2020
If you lived in Spain before 1 January 2021 and registered your details and intention to exchange with the DGT before 30 December 2020, you should request an appointment with the DGT to exchange your UK licence by 31 December 2021.

You will need:

* Proof you are registered as a resident in Spain (eg. TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero; green EU residence certificate)
* Your UK licence

Read the DGT’s guidance on how to get an appointment (in Spanish with English translation).

The DGT will exchange your UK licence for a temporary driving permit (‘autorización temporal para conducir’) until your Spanish licence is ready. This document is valid in Spain only.

If you did not register your details with DGT before 30 December 2020
If you did not register with DGT before 30 December 2020 and wish to obtain a Spanish driving licence now, you should follow the DGT process for non-EU nationals. This includes taking a driving test.

Driving in the UK with a Spanish licence
You can use your Spanish licence in the UK for short visits, or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test.

(News: Spain)

  5 comments for “Driving Licence Deadline

  1. December 3, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Paul: I have updated the article with quotes from the UK Government site.

  2. Marcus
    December 3, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    So basically we revert to the system that was in place prior to Spain joining the EU, we drove, we survived and occasionally stayed slightly long than six months.

    Mark Jones (England)

  3. Paul CRADDOCK
    December 3, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Have the rules recently changed? I was under the impression that you needed to have ‘registered your intent’ to change a UK license before the end of last year. Due to various administration issues the actual date to change has been extended many times to the current end of this year. BUT ONLY IF YOU REGESTERED INTENT LAST YEAR. The link you provided is to change other EU licenses. I know that inter-government discussions have been on-going to solve the problem but I thought people still needed to do a new Spanish test if doing a new application. If this has now changed it is very good news but I have not seen such an announcement. Please can you clarify.

  4. December 3, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Malc: Excellent news: you’re neither thick, stupid nor senile. There is no Reino Unido or Gran Bretaña. Neither are there many of the other 192 countries, like the United States, Canada or Australia.

    They’re all European countries within the EU or certain Spanish speaking countries that have bilateral agreements, it seems.

    My advice? Choose Irlanda and then explain it to the person on the other side of the desk when you eventually get an appointment.

  5. Malc
    December 3, 2021 at 9:53 am

    I must be thick, stupid, senile or all three!!
    Having checked this procedure (many times) it is not possible a) to complete the appointment stage because UK is not on the list of countries supplied; b) it still says you need to have made a request to exchange before Dec 31, 2020??

    Am I wrong or is there something I’m missing?

    Answers please in big letters, written slowly!!

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