On 15 March 2023, the UK and Spain reached an agreement on driving licence exchange, which enabled UK licence holders living in Spain to swap their UK licence for a Spanish one without needing to take a practical or theory test.
The agreement gave existing residents who had not yet exchanged their UK licences for a Spanish one six months (until 15 September) to do so, during which time they could continue to drive on their UK licences. As for newly arrived residents, the agreement gave them six months from the date they acquired their residency documents to exchange their UK licence. Licences can be exchanged after the six month period, but will no longer be considered valid for driving in Spain.
The British Embassy has been urging UK licence holders to make the exchange by 15 September. On 29 March, the Ambassador hosted a ‘Facebook Live’ to address frequently asked questions, whilst the Embassy has advised that anyone struggling to get an appointment at their local Dirección General de Tráfico Office go to their neighbouring one instead.
Last week, the British Embassy announced a resolution had been found to an issue which some holders of expired UK licences (typically those over 70) had been experiencing when trying to exchange their licences. Those affected should follow the established process for exchange, requesting their check code via gov.uk.
His Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott said,
“It is very important that UK licence holders who lived in Spain prior to 15 March 2023 and want to drive here exchange their licences on or before the 15 September. We want this message to reach as many UK licence holders as possible, so please spread the word and refer to our Facebook page and the Living In Spain Guide on gov.uk for more information.”
UK licence holders who moved to Spain before 16 March 2023 and fail to make the exchange by 15 September will no longer be able to drive on their UK licence. If they wish to continue driving in Spain, they will need to go through the licence exchange process.
The process for completing the exchange is run by Spain’s Dirección General de Tráfico (see their website for more information.)
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