In this article, I will explain, as of 16 March 2023, how to exchange a UK driving license in Spain easily and cheaply.
Since Brexit, British and Spanish citizens living in Spain who have held UK driving licenses can now freely exchange them for a Spanish license without having to take another driving test (either practical and theoretical).
From the many people I have spoken to, this has been by all accounts difficult, time-consuming and expensive.
If you are looking to move to Spain from the UK, then you can find out all the information you need in this article here.
Many UK (and Spanish) residents in Spain have been living in limbo with regard to the driving license exchange over but finally, an appointment can be made with the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico) to get those license changeovers done.
Here is a guide to exchanging a UK driving license in Spain easily and cheaply.
Table of Contents
Do I have to exchange my UK driving license if I live in Spain?
Yes, you do have to exchange your UK driving license if you are living in Spain.
If you have been legally resident in Spain for over 6 months and hold a UK driving license, then you must get this exchanged for a Spanish driving license.
If you fail to do so and are caught in a police check, and your identity card and driving license are checked, you could face a fine if your UK driving license has not been exchanged.
You also need this license changeover if you are issued fines – things could get extremely messy if you do not have a Spanish driving license while resident in Spain.
So if you have recently arrived in Spain to live, now is the time to exchange your UK driving license for a Spanish one.
Don’t leave it until the last minute, as it can take 15 days to even get an appointment.
How to exchange a UK driving license in Spain
The easiest way of getting this done is to contact a gestor, pay a few hundred euros and they will organise this for you.
However, I exchanged my UK driving license for a Spanish driving license myself many years ago with limited Spanish after arriving on the island, and the process was simple.
Here are the steps to exchanging a UK driving license in Spain:
- Make an appointment at the DGT. You can do this on this link here. If you cannot speak Spanish, you will see a Google Translate option on the webpage to translate the page to English or German.
- Select “Appointment request” or “Solicitud de Cita Previa“
- Select the office you wish to go to
- Select “Driving License Exchanges” or “Canjes de permisos de conducción.”
Please note, you will be unable to exchange your license if you have obtained your driving license in the UK AFTER becoming a resident in Spain.
So if you have just moved to Spain, then don’t be tempted to fly back to the UK to do the test.
You will have to do the driving test in Spain if you are already a resident here.
So if you are thinking of moving to Spain and have not yet done your driving test, get that organised in the UK before making the move. It may be easier and cheaper.
What paperwork do you need to exchange a UK driving license in Spain?
You will have some time to gather together your paperwork, but there is a long list of items you will need to take with you.
Here is a checklist:
- ID (take your passport)
- TIE Card / NIE
- Empadronmiento certificate (proof you have a registered address)
- The driving license you wish to exchange
- To exchange your UK driving license in Spain, complete this form here.
- The day before your appointment, you will need to agree to share your driving license information from the UK with Spain. So get a verification code before your appointment which you can get here (UK) and here (Northern Ireland).
- A medical certificate: This is the “fun bit” of the procedure. You will need to get a Psychophysical aptitude certificate. If you are living in Mallorca, there are plenty of medical centres around the DGT offices to get your medical certificate. In fact, I’m sure this is also the case nationwide. Arrange to get this days before your appointment. If not, you can find your local medical centre here. You will have an eyesight and reflex test – it’s nothing to worry about but make sure you get this certificate before you go for your appointment.
- A current photograph measuring 32x26mm. Again you will find these photo shops around the DGT offices. They will know the prerequisites for having this photograph taken.
- Finally, take everything with you to your appointment and pay the administration fee which is just under 29€ on the day. Pay by card (never cash!)
Can I still drive while my UK driving license is being exchanged for a Spanish license?
Yes – you can still drive in Spain while your UK driving license is being exchanged. You will be issued a temporary license when you make your exchange.
This temporary driver’s permit will be valid for three months and you will be able to drive in Spain until your new Spanish license arrives.
How long does it take to exchange a UK driving license in Spain
After exchanging your UK driving license, receiving your Spanish driving license should take no longer than about 6 weeks.
Can I drive abroad while I wait to exchange my UK driving license in Spain?
It’s possible to drive abroad while waiting for your UK driving license however you will have to request a temporary International Travel Permit which is valid for one year. Read more about this here.
This will then be recognised in the UK too and allow you to drive should you need to.
Where to find out more information about how to exchange a UK driving license in Spain
The information in this article is just a guide. Double-check everything on the official DGT website which you can do here.
To find out more about the cost of living in Mallorca, check out this article here.
For more information about living in Mallorca, check out this link here.
If you need to hire a car while you are waiting for your Spanish driving license to come through or you need to hire a car before buying, then check out these great rates here or book below.
Carrentals.com scans car hire companies nearest to where you are living, to give you the best rates.
Finally, good luck!
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