Spanish bureaucracy isn’t known for its simplicity, but many people go through the same processes every week and there are tons of resources online to help you out.
Having recently gone through the process, I thought I’d share a straightforward guide on steps to take to exchange your UK driving license for a Spanish one.
What You Need To Know: Before Exchanging Your UK Driving License For A Spanish Driving License
From March 16th 2023, an agreement came into place which allows UK citizens residing in Spain with a UK license to drive in Spain without the need to take a practical or theory test.
It is also important to note that this applies to Spanish citizens who passed their driving test in the UK and now reside in Spain. The driving license issue doesn’t only affect British Citizens.
A statement was placed on the DGT website which reads:
“As of March 16, 2023, holders of driving licenses issued by the UK authorities who currently reside in Spain will be able to drive for a period of six months. Those who enter Spain or acquire residence in our country later, will continue to apply the period of validity of their British permit of six months from the date of entry or from the date of obtaining residence. As of this date, the exchange of these driving licenses can also be requested, as the Agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom on the reciprocal recognition and exchange of national driving licenses and on the exchange of information on infractions is provisionally applicable. of traffic in terms of Road Safety , in relation to reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licences.”
🇪🇸 🤝 🇬🇧 España y Reino Unido acuerdan el reconocimiento y canje de los permisos de conducir entre ambos países y el intercambio de información sobre infracciones de tráfico— Ministerio del Interior (@interiorgob) March 14, 2023
👉 Para el reconocimiento no será necesario hacer ninguna prueba adicional
➕ ℹ️ https://t.co/bTr99bsAhY
Hugh Elliott, British Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, made a full announcement on their Facebook page:
The driving licence agreement, to enable 🇬🇧licence holders resident in 🇪🇸to exchange their licences for a 🇪🇸one without taking a driving test, has been approved by 🇪🇸Consejo de Ministros. Watch my full message for more details, including next steps here: https://t.co/3vob9AOi13 pic.twitter.com/0sC3hldmYJ— Hugh Elliott (@HughElliottUK) March 14, 2023
Key Points To Know Before You Exchange:
- You can drive on a valid UK license for 6 months from:
– March 16th 2023, or;
– the entry of its owner into Spain or
– the date of obtaining your legal residence in Spain.
- As of March 16th 2023, you have 6 months to exchange your UK driving license with the DGT
- The driving license cannot be exchanged if you have obtained it in your country of origin while you are already a legal resident in Spain.
- You cannot exchange your license if you have obtained the permit after the signing of the agreement as a legal resident in Spain.
- You can exchange if the permit expires after your entry into our country.
- Once you go through the process, your UK license will be taken by the DGT and your new Spanish license will be sent by post within a month and a half
- You must be able to prove that you’re a resident in Spain
What Do You Need Before You Begin The Exchange Process?
Firstly, you will need to apply for a ‘Verification Code’ for your permit from the DVLA (UK), or DVA (Northern Ireland). If you’re from Gibraltar you do not need to complete this step.
- The United Kingdom (DVLA): https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
- Northern Ireland (DVA): https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/view-or-share-your-driving-licence-information
This is a simple process, you just need your National Insurance Number and the postcode which is visible on your current UK driving license.
The code is valid for 21 days – so be sure to get through the rest of these steps within that time period (you can always apply for another code if you run out of time).
Download Mod 03 from this link: https://sede.dgt.gob.es/sede-estaticos/Galerias/modelos-solicitud/03/Mod.03-ES.pdf
(If you do not have access to a printer, you can pick this up at your appointment with the DGT but be aware you need to complete this before you get to the desk. It is recommended to print and complete before your appointment).
Any of the below forms of identification are valid:
Residence card (foreigner identity card/TIE)
Proof Of Residency
Residence card (foreigner identity card) or certificate of registration in the EU citizen registry and any other document requested by the Headquarters where the exchange request is processed.
Foreign Driving License
Your foreign driving license to be exchanged in date or expired if the validity date is after the date of entry into Spain.
Psychophysical Aptitude Report
This must be issued by an authorized Driver Recognition Center.
The centre that I used myself is linked here: https://centromedicogmp.es/certificado-medico-para-el-carnet-de-conducir-en-sevilla/
What To Expect For The Aptitude Test
- You’ll be sat in front of a very old-style computer and shown two handles you’ll be controlling.
- You will use the handles to keep two white blocks (one left and one right) within their black strips.
- The strips (mimicking roads) will bend and curve, so you must concentrate to keep both white blocks in each of their black strips
- You’ll get a practice round to get used to the controls and then the test will start
- The test is around 60 seconds or so
- You’ll then do a brief medical, which includes an eye test, hearing test, weight and height log and some brief medical history questions.
- You’ll also have your photo taken (this is not your driving license photo – it is to prove the medical paper is associated to you).
- The whole process was fairly quick and easy – you pay once the test is complete and you will be given your record. Keep this paper as it is what you will need to take to your DGT appointment.
Current original photograph of 32 x26 mm. in color and with a plain background, taken from the front with the head uncovered and without dark glasses or any other item of clothing that could prevent or hinder your identification.
The DGT states:
“If, due to your religion, your hair is covered, photographs with a veil will be accepted, but the oval of the face must appear totally uncovered from the hairline to the chin, in such a way that it does not impede or hinder your identification.”
Pay The Fee (At The Office During Your Appointment)
The fee is 28.87 euro, and this can be paid at your face-to-face appointment by card only.
Booking Your Face-To-Face Appointment With ‘Traffico’
Once you’ve completed your Aptitude Test, you can book your DGT appointment, taking all of the above documents with you.
Just head to the following link to book your appointment: https://sede.dgt.gob.es/es/otros-tramites/cita-previa-jefaturas/
Tip: Arrive early, but be prepared to wait. They’re often delayed but this depends on how busy they are. My appointment was 11.31am and I wasn’t seen until 12:50pm.
Double-check that you have everything you need before you go to your appointment!
What Happens After The Appointment?
You’ll be given a temporary driving license which is valid for 3 months from the day it is issued.
Within one and a half months you will have been sent your new Spanish driving license in the post. No need to return to the DGT office to collect!
Note: This post is intended as a guide and you should always check the official DGT website to ensure non of the above information has changed: https://sede.dgt.gob.es/es/permisos-de-conducir/canje-permisos/canje-permisos-extranjeros/canje-permisos-con-convenio