How to Exchange a British Driving Licence for a Spanish One

Spain is one of the most beautiful and cultured countries in the world. There's a reason that many Brits are moving there in droves, with immigration to the country nearly doubling over the last ten years.  

With its gorgeous seaside cities and incredible cultural history, Spain can be a wonderful place to settle and spend the later years of your life. 

But in making the transition from the UK to Spain, you'll need to make many transitions. One of the tasks at the top of your mind is likely exchanging your British driving license for a UK one. Switching licenses in a foreign state can sound like a hairy affair, but it doesn't have to be complicated. 

Read on, and we'll walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining a Spanish driving licence. 

How Soon Do You Need A Licence? 

Lucky for many that are new to the region, the rules regarding driver's licenses in Spain are reasonable. In most cases, you won't need to run out and rush to get a new Spanish driver's licence right away. 

For non-EU residents, there's a six-month window permitted before requiring residents to obtain a licence. But there's an even greater amount of leniency allotted to members of the EU. British travelers can wait as long as two years before getting their new Spanish licence and still be on solid legal ground. 

If you don't obtain a Spanish licence after two years and are pulled over, you could be hit with a €200 fine. In some situations, if there are penalties on your current license, Spanish authorities might push you to get a new licence. 

Starting The Exchange Process

When you are ready to begin the exchange process, you'll head to the nearest provincial traffic department. In most cases, you'll be able to make an appointment online before going in. 

You will fill out an official application form either online or at the department itself. You should bring a number of documents with you. These include a proof of identity, such as passport, and proof of residence. EU residents should also bring their EU card.

It should go without saying, but you should also bring the old ID that you're planning to exchange. You should also been a recent photograph of yourself (32mm x 26mm) and expect to make a payment of 23.50€. 

You may also be required to take a medical examination with a designated clinic. The clinic will test your blood pressure, hearing, pulse, eyesight and a few other factors related to your driving ability. 

The Waiting Period

Once you've successfully applied for an exchange, the department will need to obtain a certificate of entitlement from the DVLA in the UK. This can take some time. While you wait, the authorities will either allow you to hold onto your old license or give you a temporary ID that permits you to drive for a limited time period.

Your new Spanish license should then be sent in the mail and arrive within a few weeks time. You can then hit the road with your official Spanish licence.

Obtaining A Spanish Driving Licence

Though it can be overwhelming to move to a new country, the process of obtaining a new licence doesn't have to be difficult. By following the simple steps above in the proper time, you can have a new Spanish driving licence in your hands in just a few week's time. 

Check out our blog for more information and advice on making the move to Spain.