Spanish Driving Licences: Tests, Obtaining, Renewing and Points

Licencia de conducción Español

Permit Types & Legal Driving Ages

Permit AM: Mopeds and vehicles for people with reduced mobility – age 15 (moped drivers cannot carry a passenger until age 18).
Permit A1: Motorbikes (maximum power 11 kW, maximum engine 125cc) – age 16
Permit A2: Motorbikes (maximum power 35 kW, maximum power-to-weight ratio 0.2 kW/kg – age 18
Permit A: All motorbikes (with at least two years experience driving motorbikes of category A1) – age 20
Permit B: Vehicles with maximum weight of 3,500 Kg and maximum of 9 seats (including the driver’s seat) – age 18
Permit C: Vehicles with weight over 3,500 Kg – age 21
Permit D; Vehicles for the transport of passengers – age 24

Spanish Driving Examination

Applicants for a driving permit or licence in Spain must be a Spanish resident. Applications must be made to the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura de Tráfico) in the province of residence.

How to make the application

Driving schools will help you make an application and submit documents for a driving examination. You should seek their advice before setting out to take a Spanish driving examination. In some areas, the exam can be taken in English. Contact a driving school for further information. It is advisable to use a driving school rather than rely on family members.

Documents required

  • A certificate of mental and physical fitness issued by the Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado)
  • Application form and application fee
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (32 x 26 mm)
  • Photocopy (and original) of a Spanish residence permit (residencia) or a copy of your passport and NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjer)
  • Proof of address in Spain within last 3 months (empadronamiento) available from the local Town Hall
  • Signed self declaration in writing that there is no legal process pending or licence suspension that forbids your right to drive
  • Signed self declaration in writing that no other licence of the same category is held

Driving theory test

There are two parts to the test – theoretical and practical. Both must be passed for a driver to be considered competent. Training for the theory test can be done with a driving school. They will provide a number of sample exam papers (some driving schools have English translations of the highway code and exam questions available).

Driving test

A set number of hours of training must be completed with a driving school. The practical test is taken in Spanish and a translator may accompany the person being examined. Some areas have English speaking driving examiners. You should ask if this is available if required when you apply to take the test.

The practical test is taken in a driving school (dual control) car and the driving instructor will accompany the examiner and the person being tested. The examiner will give instructions in Spanish or English (if previously requested).

Licence Renewal

A licence must be renewed at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) in the holder’s province of residence before its validity lapses. If the address on the licence is current, the licence holder will receive a letter advising them of the renewal date. The fee for the renewal of a Spanish driving licence is very reasonable (in 2015 it was €23.50). If you are over 70 years old, it is free of charge.

The licence will need regular renewal. A standard Spanish driving licence for a private car or motorbike is valid for ten years if the holder is under 65 years of age, and for five years from the age of 65. Different conditions apply for passenger bus and heavy duty vehicle licences.

Documentation required

  • Completed application form
  • Details of the licence being renewed
  • Photocopy (and the original) of a Spanish identity card, residence permit (residencia) or a copy of your passport and NIE Number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)
  • Proof of address in Spain (empadronamiento) within 3 months of the date of application
  • Certificate of aptitude issued by the Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) of the province of residence
  • Two recent photographs (32 x 25 mm) taken at the same time as the one on the aptitude certificate

Traffic Offences and Penalties

Spain uses a points system to monitor a driver’s traffic offences. A diving licence starts with a credit of 12 points in the case of experienced drivers and 8 during a new driver’s first three years of driving. Two extra points are awarded for three years without offences up to a maximum of 15 points.

If a driver loses all 12 points, the driving licence is withdrawn for a year. When the year is completed, the driver will be required to take the usual theoretical and practical driving tests before being given a new licence. The police have the authority to remove a driver’s licence instantly if the offence is considered serious. Fines may also be imposed.

Licence Lost or Stolen or Change of Address

If a licence is lost, damaged or stolen, or if your address changes, the Provincial Road Traffic authority will issue a replacement licence. The replacement licence is issued free of charge in the event of change of address.

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