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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