How to change a UK driving licence to a Spanish driving licence

How to change a UK driving licence to a Spanish driving licence

There is currently no agreement between the Governments of the United Kingdom and Spain to transfer the UK driving licence to a Spanish licence. Much like citizens from Canada or the USA, to name two countries of many, there is no agreement to exchange driving licences and you will have to sit the Spanish driving test.

If you are visiting and not a resident in Spain then you can still use your UK driving licence to hire a car, for example.

The Spanish driving test is made up of two parts. The first is a theory examination which can be undertaken in English. It is a set of 30 questions based on the Spanish highway code. It is a multiple-choice examination so the right answer is actually on the computer screen in front of you.

In Spain, you cannot practice driving on a quiet road with someone who holds a full driving licence sitting at your side. You must have a qualified instructor. There are plenty of driving schools in most towns.

You will also have to prove that you are medically fit to drive and undertake a relatively simple aptitude test at one of the many approved medical centres offering these assessments.

The driving part is in Spanish and you will need to learn some basic commands in Spanish. Your driving school will probably know the most common routes the instructors take.

If you are a UK national and recently become a resident in Spain then you have 6 months in which to take your Spanish driving test. During this 6 months period, you can continue to use your UK licence.

Driving a car without a recognised licence is a traffic offence and a fine could be issued if you are stopped by the police.

The UK and Spanish governments are still discussing the exchange of UK to Spanish licences so the above information is subject to change.


The process to make the switch if you registered before 30 December 2020

Many people use the services of a Gestoria or similar to help with the exchange of driving licence process. However if you want to do it yourself here is a step-by-step guide.

How to change a UK driving licence to a Spanish driving licence online

  1. Visit the Government of Spain website

    Go to the relevant page of the Government website to change a UK driving licence to a Spanish driving licence. (You can change the language in the top right corner)

  2. Online option

    You will need a digital signature or [email protected] PIN to go through the process online. If you do not have either and do not want to use this method then jump to step 5.

  3. Verify your identity

    You will need to verify yourself on the website using one of the methods above.

  4. Documentation to hand

    It will be necessary to have your driving licence to hand when you go through the online process. Once you have finished online then jump to step 7.

  5. Request by telephone

    You can request the change of driving licence by telephone. You will need to ring 060. The phone will be answered in Spanish. Later you will receive an appointment to formalise the change of driving licence. If you do not receive this within three days you can request a pre-booked appointment online. Once you have booked your appointment then review step 7 below to make sure you take all the paperwork with you. If you need help follow these steps as to how to book and appointment online with Trafico.

  6. In person at the Regional Traffic Office

    If you do not want to apply online or use the 060 phone number then you can apply in person. You will need to make a pre-booked appointment. Once you have your pre-booked appointment then review step 7 below to make sure you have all your paperwork on the day. If you need help follow these steps as to how to book and appointment online with Trafico.

  7. Formalisation at the Regional Traffic Office

    You will need to take the following documentation with you to the Region Traffic Office to finish the process:
    A completed Trámites de permisos de conducción del Reino Unido form (download a blank copy here), proof of identification such as your original current passport, proof of residency. When applying you can authorise the DGT to try and confirm your address in Spain, however, if they can’t you will need to provide proof such as a copy of the padrón. You will also need to take the original driving licence you intend to exchange. Do not forget a current photograph 32mm x 26mm in colour and proof you have paid the appropriate tax 28.58 euros.*

*The tax can be paid online if you have a digital signature. Alternatively, you can pay at most banks. To pay at the financial institutions you will need to complete and print off the online form (modelo 791). You need to complete the section labelled Grupo II and the Tipo tasa 2.3. Change the “cantidad” to one and click the shopping trolley/cart button. Then complete your details and decide if you are going to put your bank IBAN details on for payment or visit a bank to pay the cost. Click “download a quote”. This will produce a .pdf document that you can print and take with you to a bank to pay. Remember to take the proof of payment with you to your appointment at the Regional Traffic Office.

See the images below on how to complete the modelo 791. Click on one and then use the arrows to move to the next step.

If you pay before your appointment at the Regional Traffic office do not forget to print/take the receipt as proof of payment. It might be easier just to pay the fee at the Regional Traffic Office on the day of your appointment. If you do, remember you can only pay by debit or credit card. They do not accept cash payments.

Electric scooters in Spain

electric scooters in spain

People have mixed opinions about electric scooters in Spain since they hit our streets in numbers a few years ago. Their volume grew substantially when numerous companies appeared in the big cities. By downloading the company’s app on your mobile phone it became easy to obtain and use an electric scooter. 

There are obvious advantages in cities or large towns. A not insignificant part of a working days income could be swallowed up in car park charges. Finding and then buying a parking space or even renting one is often completely out of the question. Even more so if you are a low paid worker or studying at a university in the city.

Then there is the environmental impact. Low costs to manufacture, using electricity rather than high polluting fuels such as petrol and diesel vehicles. The electric scooter also enabled one to avoid cramped buses with inconvenient timetables or irritating routes.
In most of Spain at least, there is also the added benefit of some pretty good weather to enjoy.

However, like most things the explosion of electric scooters in Spain ran faster than the accompanying law. This has lead to some frustration amongst non-scooter users on both the road and pavement. Because of the grey area in the road traffic law, a minority of electric scooter users have felt it was OK to roar down the pavement and weave in and out of pedestrians. Other sights seen have included, more than one person on a scooter, riding at night with no lights and riding with headphones on.

The traffic law was reformed on Tuesday 9 November 2020 although the new rules take effect on 2nd January 2021.

  1. Electric scooters must circulate on the road. They cannot be ridden on pavement or pedestrianised areas including pedestrain and zebra crossings.
  2. You cannot ride an electric scooter in Spain on roads between urban areas. Not unsurprisingly you cannot ride an electric scooter on a motorway either. In addition, you cannot ride your electric scooter through any tunnel.
  3. The user of an electric scooter in Spain can be asked to take a breathalyser test by the road traffic authorities
  4. It is not permitted to use headphones will using an electric scooter.
  5. An electric scooter will need to have a certificate of circulation like other vehicles. The document must specify the technical characteristics of the electric scooter which in turn must be approved by the DGT. This will be a legal requirement within 24 months
electric scooters in spain

Traffic law reform in Spain sees six points for using a mobile phone and 30 kph max speed on urban streets

Traffic law reform in Spain

The penalty for driving whilst speaking with a mobile phone has been increased to 6 points. This was just one of several changes to the road traffic law in Spain.

On Tuesday this week, the Council of Ministers approved various reforms. These include an increase from three to four points the penalty issued for driving without a seat belt. This points penalty is also the same for not have appropriate child restraints or not wearing a crash helmet on a motorcycle.

Other changes include a fine of 500 euros and the loss of three points for having a device that detects speed cameras. This should not be confused with navigation devices that use a database and identify where fixed speed cameras are placed. Please see this article as to what is legal and illegal.

New speed limits

Additionally, urban streets have a new maximum speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour. This is when there is only one lane in each direction. Where there is no difference in the height of the pavement and the road the speed limit will be further reduced to 20 kph.  If there are two lanes in each direction the limit is 50 kilometres per hour.

One other important change is the withdrawal of the law that allowed you to increase your speed by up to 20 kph above the actual speed limit. This was only permitted when overtaking a vehicle, not driving at the speed limit, on a conventional road.

Electric scooters

The legal position was clarified regarding the use of electric scooters. From 2 of January 2021 you cannot use an electric scooter on the pavement or in a pedestrianised area. The maximum speed is 25 kph.

The riders of electric scooters can be subjected to alcohol testing and they must not use headphones whilst operating the scooter.

Vehicles used by people with reduced mobility such as mobility scooters are exempt from these new reforms.

Traffic law reform in Spain
Traffic law reform in Spain
electric scooters in spain

When does all this start?

The modifications related to the Traffic Regulations and Vehicles will enter into force on January 2, 2021. However, the amendment to article 50 of the General Traffic Regulations (speeds in urban areas) will enter into force six months after its publication in the Official State Gazette so that citizens know them adequately and so that public administrations have enough time to adapt the signage. (11 May 2021). The modifications related to the drivers regulation will come into force the day after the publication od the Royal Decree in the BOE.


Notifications of fines in Spain

Traffic infringements are notified by normal post in Spain. If you are worried about receiving the notification, because the post service is not great in your area or you are out of the country a lot then we offer a special product for a flat annual fee. Once signed up you will receive an email or SMS text message to notify you if you have received a new fine.

How much is an ITV in Spain ?

How much is an ITV in Spain

The ITV is a regular road worthiness test that vehicles have to undergo in Spain. The frequency of the test depends on the vehicle type and its age. For more information on when your vehicle needs to be tested visit our page about the ITV in Spain.

The cost of the test is not uniform throughout Spain. Most autonomous communities set their own tariff. In some cases the ITV tests are carried out by the public authority, whereas in others the autonomous community has given the testing over to private companies. In the region of Murcia and Extremadura, a combination of public and private ITV stations exist.

For example, the private sector operate ITV tests in Andalucia (Veiasa), Asturias (Itvasa) or the Valencian Community (Ivace).

In Madrid, the ITV tests are even more liberalised. The public authority does not dictate the cost of the ITV test at all and leaves it to the private companies to decide an appropriate fee to charge.

How much is an ITV in Spain ?

How much is an ITV in Spain

Facua, the consumer organisation, recently researched this very question. This is what they found:

FACUA has detected differences of up to 167% in the fees of the mandatory Technical Inspection of Vehicles (ITV) for passenger cars with petrol engines and of 95.5% in diesel vehicles, depending on the autonomous community in which it is carried out. [ See table with rates].

The average price of the ITV in the seventeen autonomous communities is currently 34.52 euros for petrol cars and 41.23 euros for those equipped with a diesel engine.

The association’s analysis includes the ITV rates for passenger cars, both diesel and petrol with catalytic converters (the non-catalytic converter ones have less and less presence in the Spanish car fleet), as well as motorcycles. The prices collected include 21% VAT (or 7% of the Canarian IGIC, 9% of the IPSI of Ceuta and 4% of Melilla), but not the tax paid to Trafico, established at 4.1 euros for all inspections.

The most expensive and cheapest for cars fuelled by petrol.

Euskadi is the autonomous community with the highest ITV rate for petrol cars, 45.38 euros. It is followed by Cantabria, with 42 euros, and the Community of Madrid, where the average of the stations surveyed, which set rates without regional regulation, is 41.72 euros.

The cheapest rates for petrol passenger car inspections was Mallorca (in the Balearic Islands the management depends on each island council), 17 euros, Murcia (22.3 euros in the only station operated directly by the regional government, in the town of Alcantarilla) and Andalusia (26.19 euros for vehicles of less than 1,600 cubic centimeters and 35.4 euros for the rest).

The most expensive and the cheapest for cars fuelled by diesel

Regarding the ITV rates for diesel cars, the Community of Madrid is the most expensive, 56.04 euros on average. It is followed by the 48.26 euros that it costs to take the inspection in the private run ITV stations of Murcia (compared to 30.90 euros in the only public station in the region). In third place is Galicia, with 47.72 euros.

As for the lowest rates for the ITV of diesel cars, they are those of the public stations of Extremadura (28.67 euros), Navarra (29.4 euros) and those of Andalusia for cars of less than 1,600 cc. (30.79 euros).

Car Insurance Spain ITV

How much is a motorcycle ITV in Spain ?

The average cost of the ITV test for a motorcycle in the seventeen autonomous communities is 19.90 euros. In this category, the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest reaches 254%. Thus, the most expensive are in the Community of Madrid, where the average price of the stations compared by FACUA -they have liberalised rates- is no less than 36.17 euros. At the other extreme, Mallorca, where passing the ITV costs 10.21 euros.

Liberalised service in Madrid

The Community of Madrid, the most expensive in absolute terms in relation to the price of the ITV for diesel cars, has the service of Technical Inspection of Vehicles liberalised and therefore the rates are not regulated by the autonomous administration.

In this sense, each company charges the prices it deems appropriate. On the rates published in each ITV station, most companies apply different discounts to try to attract more customers, depending on the hours at which it is requested. For example, by prior appointment for the inspection or if it is contracted through telematic means. These discounts have not been taken into account by FACUA when carrying out this study, due to the array of offers.

According to the rates published by each ITV dealer in the Community of Madrid, the average price of the inspection is 41.72 euros for gasoline cars (3.3% more than in 2019), a figure that is 21% above the Spanish average, and 56.04 euros for cars with diesel engines, which represents 34.3% more than the national average.

Different Tariff systems

Andalusia offers a more complex tariff system. It makes a distinction between vehicles not only based on whether they are powered by petrol or diesel engines, but also on their engine size. It sets a rate of 26.19 euros for petrol passenger cars with engines of less than 1,600 cubic centimeters and 35.40 euros for those with a larger cylinder capacity. In the case of diesel cars, something similar happens. The Junta de Andalucía sets a rate of 30.79 euros for cars of less than 1,600 cubic centimetres and 40.00 euros for the rest.

At the opposite extreme is Extremadura, where there is a single rate for all vehicles, regardless of their cylinder capacity and whether they are petrol or diesel. In the ITV stations of the Extremadura community, the rate is 28.67 euros (if it is a station operated directly by the regional administration) or 34.69 euros (in the case of stations under the concession regime).

In general, there is enormous diverseness with respect to the way in which each autonomous community sets its own ITV rates. And this, despite the fact that the inspections are regulated by state regulations. In all of them the procedure for the ITV is exactly the same as that set out in Royal Decree 920/2017 of October 23, which regulates the Inspection Technical of Vehicles throughout Spain.

In this sense, the prices vary from one community to another. Additionally, the rates are also broken down into different concepts in each autonomous community. There are those that include all the revisions, and those that break down the cost of each section (gas emission, noise control, etc.), even if it is included in the mandatory inspection.

Source: Facua

Notification of a fixed traffic camera in Spain is legal

Notification of a fixed traffic camera in Spain is legal

Many people use applications such as google maps, sat navs or similar to help them when they are driving. A lot of these provide a warning when approaching a traffic camera. There is some confusion about whether this is legal or not.

The notification of a fixed traffic camera in Spain is legal.

In fact, the DGT publish a list of where you can find out where all the fixed traffic cameras are located throughout Spain. The officials charged with road safety also use mobile traffic cameras and their exact location is not published. Mobile cameras will not feature on applications such as google maps.

What is not legal are devices that block the radar and stop it functioning. The use of such a device could lead to a fine of up to 6,000 euros and a loss of 6 points from your licence.

Devices that detect nearby radars are also illegal. These devices carry a fine of 200 euros plus a loss of 3 points from your licence.

However, a device that advises you from a database that there is a fixed radar ahead, such as google maps or sat navs are not illegal on Spanish roads.

Traffic fines are notified by post. For some people the postal service is not reliable. If you want to guarantee notification of a traffic fine then you could join a growing number of people who contract an automatic notification of a traffic fine product.