UK/Spanish Driving Licences – The Great Debate
The following information is kindly provided by members of the Guardia Civil based in Torrevieja, Costa Blanca, N332. UK/Spanish Driving Licences – The Great Debate.
Many British Drivers with normal residence in Spain, still thinking they do not need to exchange their driving licences due to two mains reasons;
1- They can wait till it expires to exchange it (Despite of the fact that their licences were issued for more than 15 years and according to the European Decree 206/126 CE, they must be renewed.)
2- They do not need to change them because their licences are issued for 10 years. (Taking as a reference the validity date of their licence.) So they are complying with the EU regulations.
As there is a great deal of confusion over driving licences in Spain, the N332 has clarified the correct rules for us below explaining why many drivers are driving illegaly on Spanish roads, risking a fine.
If you hold the UK or European driving licence with NO valid expiry date, which means the old fashioned paper version in either green or folded pink and has no photo on it, then you have to exchange it at Trafico for a Spanish licence.
So, if your licence has an indefinite date, or you were legally resident in Spain before January 19, 2013, then you should have exchanged your licence already.
If you became a resident after that date you have two years from the date of residency to exchange your licence to a Spanish one.
In addition, the front and reverse of your photo card are very important. You must check your licences because many British people think they don’t have to exchange their licences because they think because the driving licence expiration date is on the front, this is the only one relevant, but this is not correct. On the back is the date of your entitlement to drive each category of vehicle end. The last two categories refer to the year. So this is very important. You need to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one if you:-
– Have a driving licence with a validity of 15 years or more on the date of issue for Group 1 (AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE).
– Have a driving licence with a validity of 5 years or more on the date of issue for Group 2 (BTP, C1, C1E, C, CE D1, D1E, D, DE).
– Have a driving licence which has already expired or is close to its expiry date.
You must look at the dates on the reverse of your driving licence. In addition, it makes sense to change to a Spanish driving licence fairly quickly when you have become a Resident and are driving a Spanish plated car as the local traffic police will be expecting a Spanish licence.
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