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
- 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)
- Online option
- Verify your identity
You will need to verify yourself on the website using one of the methods above.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.