At the beginning of March 2023, the Spanish government approved an agreement to allow your UK driving licence to be switched to a Spanish driving licence without the need for a written exam or practical driving test.
UK driving license in Spain after Brexit
Since Brexit UK driving licences ceased to be classed as EU licenses which meant that they were invalid in Spain. This lead to many fines being given out to residents in Spain who had not changed their license to a Spanish version.
Prior to Brexit changing the license was possible and the process was a smooth one. However after Brexit there was no agreement so individuals had to do a medical and practical test.
UK driving license can now be switched to Spanish since March 2023
Thankfully now an agreement has been reached by the two governments.
The key aspect of this new rule is that you must start the process to switch your UK license to a Spanish version within 6 months of registering as a resident in Spain.
If you fail to change the license within this 6 month period your UK license will no longer be valid while driving in Spain and there may be a fine if caught.
Medical Test when changing your licence to a Spanish License
Once you have decided it is time to make the switch you still will be required to do a short medical. The medical will test both your mental and physical capabilities. This is to ensure you will not be a danger to yourself or others on the road. The test has a minimal cost and if you have purchased private health insurance you can get the test paid for by the insurer at agreed centres.
If you still have your NIE and not TIE identity card you can still apply for license but the TIE will have to be provided in future. It would make sense in this case to apply for the license once you have gained your TIE card.
Applying for your TIE card is a process which requires a whole host of paperwork and so we recommend using a gestor to process this or you.
Why use a Gestor to change your UK License to Spanish License
The process of applying for the switch of license can be time consuming and we highly recommend paying a gestor to process it. A “gestor” is an administrative office which are situated in all Spanish cities. Keep in mind that the process and requirements may vary slightly depending on the region in Spain where you reside, so using a gestor will keep things simple.
The name of the government traffic organisation that will process the switch of license is called the DGT, (Dirección General de Tráfico or DGT). The DGT are the equivalent to the DVLA in the UK and are not only responsible for driving license but also road safety, vehicle registrations, regulations and traffic control.
The benefit of using a gestor is they charge a minimal fee and do everything on your behalf, saving you time and travel to the DGT. Gestors provide valuable expertise on a wide range of tasks and provide assistance in navigating the administrative landscape in Spain. It will be well worth finding a good gestor to deal with as you will need to use them when buying or selling a second hand car in Spain.
The process of buying or selling a second hand car requires a sales contract and documentation being sent to the DGT. Usually the DGT is located in the capital of each province so if you live outside this city then a local gestor will be much easier to travel to for the documentation to be signed by the seller and the buyer.