You can use a foreign driving licence in Spain to drive a vehicle. However, regardless of the law where you obtained your driving licence, you must obey Spanish law when using your driving licence. For example, it is possible to pass your driving test aged 17 in the UK. You would not be able to use your UK licence in Spain until you were 18 because that is the minimum age in Spain by law.
All driving licences issued in the European Union and the European Economic Area are valid for driving in Spain. If you are living in Spain then please see below as there is a time limit in which the driving licence must be exchanged for a Spanish licence.
If you intend to live in Spain then you should start the process of changing your driving licence to a Spanish driving licence once you arrive.
Please note that whilst the Spanish Government might allow you to drive with a foreign driving licence insurance companies are not obliged to accept them. There is not a problem with a European driving licence but with some countries the number of Spanish insurance companies that will provided insurance could be reduced. In some cases none of the Spanish insurance companies will provide insurance.
Driving licence from outside EU
If you are from outside the EU and you have a qualifying driving licence then you must exchange it for a Spanish one within six months of arriving in Spain.
If there is an agreement between the country where your driving licence was issued and Spain then the process is relatively straight forward. It will mean you exchange your old licence for a Spanish driving licence. This process is done either by using the services of a Gestoria or by organising it yourself through the nearest regional Road Traffic Office.
If your driving licence is issued from a country where there is no agreement with Spain then you will not be able to exchange your licence. You will have to sit the Spanish driving test.
Driving licence from an EU / EAA country
If your driving licence was issued by a country in the EU, or a country in the EEA then you have a period up to a maximum of two years to change your driving licence to a Spanish driving licence.
If your EU driving licence does not have an expiry date or perhaps it runs for longer than two years after you begin your residency in Spain, you still have to change it to a Spanish licence.
You change your driving licence to a Spanish driving licence through a Gesotria for a fee or you can undertake it yourself by collecting the appropriate paperwork, paying the fee and making an appointment with the Regional Traffic Office. Follow our step by step guide to change your EU driving licence to a Spanish driving licence here.
You cannot just go to your nearest Regional Road Traffic office. You must make a prior appointment.