Driving in Spain is a quick and easy way to explore the country. Whilst Spain is well-known for its excellent public transport links, making it easy to visit or live in the country without a car, there’s nothing quite like the freedom of having your own vehicle.
An international driving permit Spain isn’t necessary for driving in Spain, but if you’re living in Spain and plan to drive to a country that is outside of the EU common area then you may need to secure an international driving permit in Spain in order to complete your journey.
And if you’re just visiting Spain temporarily? The good news is you can still use your UK driving licence in Spain after Brexit, and you won’t need an International driving permit to drive in the country. Here’s everything you need to know about international driving permit countries and securing an international driving permit in Spain:
Driving in Spain After Brexit
Brexit has changed everything, and that applies to driving in Spain too. It used to be that if you were a Briton living in Spain you could simply transfer your UK driving license and exchange it for a Spanish one: now if you move to Spain and wish to drive you will have to take both the theory and the practical aspects of the Spanish driving test from scratch in order to secure your Spanish driving license.
If you’re living in Spain and you already have a Spanish driving license then you won’t need an international driving permit Spain to drive in the country or in any other country in the EU. However, you will need one if you plan to take a trip and drive in a country outside of the EU. The good news, if you’re wondering how to get an international driving permit, is that it is now surprisingly simple. As of August 2021, it is possible to apply for the permiso internacional de conducir (the Spanish name for the International Driving Permit Spain) online, without any need for a face-to-face appointment.
Where Do I Need an International Driving Permit?
Your Spanish driving license can be used across the European Union and European Economic Area. It can also be used in the following countries, which accept Spanish driving licenses without the need for an international driving permit: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, El Salvador, the Philippines, Guatemala, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, the Ukraine and North Macedonia. If you country you intend to visit isn’t included on this list then you will be need to get an international driving permit to drive there.
If in doubt, it is worth getting in touch with the embassy or tourist information office of the country you intend to visit, so that you can ensure you have exactly what you need in order to travel. If you do need an international driving license, you should allow enough time to secure this before your trip.
Driving in Spain With UK License and Securing an International Driving Permit
You can drive in Spain with a UK driving license, or another non-EEA driving license for up to six months. If you stay in Spain for longer than six months then you will then need to apply for a Spanish driving license, unless you originate from a country that has a bilateral agreement with Spain (at this point, the UK does not). There is currently no options for non-EU/EEA driving license holders to apply for an international driving permit whilst they are in Spain. Because they do not have Spanish drivers licenses, the DGT cannot issue international permits. If you are a UK driving license holder then driving in Spain with UK license is perfectly legal, but at this point you will have to apply for your International Driving Permit in the UK. This may change in the future, as post-Brexit talks around driving regulations between the UK and Spain evolve.
It is worth emphasizing that you do not need an international driving permit to drive in Spain, provided you have a photocard driving license that has been issued in the UK, or anywhere else in the EU. The focus of this piece is if you reside in Spain, and hope to travel to a non-EU country where an international driving permit will be required to drive your vehicle.
How to Get an International Driving Permit Online in Spain
Applying for your international driving permit is simple in Spain, as the process can be completed online. All you need to do is visit the DGT website and entry the relevant information into the Electronic Registry. You pay the fee at the same time as completing the form, which costs €10,40, and you then collect your International Driving Permit two days later: no nonesense, no fuss!
When it’s time to collect your driving license, you need to take a passport sized photo on a plain background with you which will be added to your license to ensure that it’s valid. You will also need to take a valid form of ID so that you can be identified and your license can be issued to you.
If you’d rather not apply for your international driving permit online, you can also do so by visiting your local DGT office. This is a more time-consuming process, however, as you will need to request and secure an appointment in order to process this application in a face-to-face setting.
Once you have secured your international driving permit Spain, it will be valid for a period of one year. This cannot be extended, so if you still need an international driving permit once that year is up, you will need to apply for a new permit. The good news is, this process is relatively easy, so you shouldn’t be put off driving when you take your next international trip!
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