Using your UK driving licence in Spain

The expat lifestyle can be a truly rewarding one. The chance to work and live abroad creates a unique experience and builds memories that last a lifetime.

Of course, leaving the life you know and moving abroad does come with its challenges. Sometimes you need a little advice, which is where our new series comes in. 

The Expats Guide to the Globe is our weekly series, designed to help new and existing expats navigate the challenges associated with the lifestyle. Each week, we will take an in-depth look at a different topic to give you the information you need to make the most of your expat experience.

This week, we look at the changes to using your UK driving licence in Spain now the UK has left the EU.


Using your UK driving licence in Spain is just one thing that has changed for expats living abroad since the UK left the European Union on January 1st 2021.

There has been a lot of confusion around some of the legislation and changes, creating more questions than answers.

In this article, we look at what has changed since leaving the EU and what you need to know about driving abroad.

 

How it worked

If you have a license from a country that is part of the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), you can drive in Spain for six months. This rule also applies to non-residents. 

For those staying in the country for longer than six months, there was a simple solution. By registering your licence with the local traffic authority, you could continue to drive in Spain for up to two years.

However, things are not so simple now for UK expats. Using your UK driving license in Spain has changed slightly since leaving the EU.

 

Changes to the UK driving licence in Spain

As of January 1st 2021, UK licence holders will still be able to drive in Spain for six months. However, things have changed for those staying in the country for longer. 

For residents living in Spain, you can use your UK driving licence until June 30th 2021. After that date, you will need a Spanish licence to drive in the country.   

Obtaining a Spanish licence involves exchanging your current UK licence for a Spanish one. You can do this by registering your details with the DGT, which is the Spanish Traffic Authority.

Once you give the DGT your UK licence, they will process you with a Spanish licence. You will receive a temporary driving permit while you wait for your licence to be processed.

You can find more information and guidance on the process by visiting the DGT website. There is an option in the top right to translate the page to English, so don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish.

For those expats who moved to Spain after the transition period ended on January 1st 2021, things are still unclear.

The rules for exchanging your UK licence for a Spanish one are still to be confirmed. The UK government website has a page dedicated to living in Spain. Those moving to the country after January 31st 2021 should keep an eye out for updates.

 

What to do next

Whether you are an expat living in Spain or plan to move in the future, make sure you are up-to-date with the latest changes to avoid unwanted surprises.

Using a UK driving licence in Spain is just one of the many things that have been impacted since the UK left the EU. 

If you are concerned about how changes to rules and regulations could affect your finances, speak to one of our experts

Our team specialises in financial advice for the expat market. That means we are perfectly placed to help you make the right choices to reach your financial goals. 

To find out how we can help you, contact us using the form below.

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