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Trading a US Driver’s license for a Spanish driver’s license, EU citizen…
Posted: 16 February 2008 02:47 AM  
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Joined  2008-02-16

Hi everyone,

I have a tricky question… I am a French citizen but currently only have a California driver’s license. France recognizes some US driver’s licenses and will issue you a French driver’s license if you have, say, an Illinois driver’s license. However, they do not have an agreement with California and therefore they will not issue you a French driver’s license if you have a California driver’s license.

I have an address in Spain and I know of people who get a PO box in Spain and get Spanish driver’s licenses issued in exchange for their French driver’s license to avoid tickets.

I am not trying to avoid any tickets, but I would like to get a European driver’s license and since France will not give me one for my California driver’s license and I have a Spanish address, I was wondering if Spain would give me a Spanish driver’s license for my California driver’s license… keeping in mind that despite the fact that I have a US driver’s license, I am a EU citizen.

Any help would be appreciated…

Thanks in advance,

Pascal.

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Posted: 16 February 2008 03:04 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

Yes tricky is the word! I have never seen a rule to handle this situation. I have 2 thoughts:

1. Try and see if Traffico will play ball based on your EU rights (to be honest I would not like to bet on it!)

2. A ¨back door¨ idea (those of a sensitive disposition stop reading!) As you are ¨EU French¨ report your licence as stolen, I assume traffico will assume you had a French one and then they might be prepared to issue a Spanish one without you going through a test. Which is what I presume what you are (understandably) trying to avoid.

I have never posted an illegal solution before but you are sort of innocently caught between a rock and a hard place. 

Wait another idea ! I have never quite understood how they work or what they are but I have seen advertised International Driving Licences which its claimed are vaid in Spain (Any body got one???)

Found this on Google http://www.idl.me.uk/

International Driver License is printed in 8 languages: the five United Nations official languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese) as well as German and Arabic. It is also easy to apply for and does not require taking a driving test.

When you drive in the foreign country, you are required to poses both: International Drivers License and your native Drivers Licence.

The International Driving Permit is recognized worldwide as a valuable document identifying you as a properly licensed resident. No test is required, but you must have a valid Native Drivers Licence and be 18 years of age or older.

Keep us posted!

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Rob
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Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 16 February 2008 08:12 PM  
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Total Posts:  1697
Joined  2005-12-05

Pascal, you just got Rob to entertain the notion of a “back door” route. Impresionante!

The International license is, indeed, valid, but a somewhat antiquated piece of paper (as I understand it). Most states/provinces/autonomous communities and countries have agreements to allow each others’ licenses to be valid for a certain period of time, usually 6-12 months. Part of the problem is that they have a very difficult time counting those months. Does it reset when you’ve left the country for a bit unlike a tourist visa? I haven’t heard of anyone have any problems driving around on an American/Canadian license. In fact my buddy has been in Barcelona for 4 years, driving on his Canadian license. smile

So, Pascal, what do you need the Spanish license for exactly? Are you moving here permanently? I like Rob’s idea of calling the license stolen, but I highly doubt it will get you too far. Try it though!

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Posted: 19 February 2008 12:46 PM  
Just Landed
Total Posts:  28
Joined  2007-10-02

I am a Spanish citizen who moved to Spain with a Florida driver’s license.

I was told since I was Spanish that my license was completely invalid in Spain. I was also told that an American would be legally allowed to use his license for 6 months. (Information from the Traffic Department)

If you are French with an American driver’s license driving through Spain and you are stopped you can expect problems. Friendly guardia civil will let you slide but the mean ones will give you problems.

Ideally you should get a French driver’s license since Spain will allow you to drive with that indefinitely.

On a personal note: for safety reasons you should learn the European driving code. FR rules are almost identical to Spanish rules. However, there is a world of difference from American rules to European rules.

European driving rules are far more complex and some of that information is ESSENTIAL. There are also some rules that are different from the American driving system to the european one. For example, in the US if you’re driving at the maximum legal speed you don’t have to pull over to let someone pass you who is driving faster than the law allows. In Spain, you are required to let faster moving vehicles pass you within reasonable bounds. That is just one example, but I can think of quite a few.

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Posted: 19 February 2008 08:27 PM  
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Total Posts:  156
Joined  2007-06-11

My Work Colleague is a US Citz with a US Drivers licences and an American US Mil licence issued in Germany, he went through various attempts to get these transferred, and there was no route.  Eventually he had to take the Spain Test which allows him to drive througout EU.  I can tell you he is well P****D over the fact that he had to sit in class with Spanish youths, for the lessons and test, take the full test which he said was quite difficult due to a lot of differences between US and EU requirements, and then had to drive around with a green Learner plate on for a year!!!!..

As you can imagine we gave him a great deal of verbal support Hee hee!!!!

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Mike

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Posted: 20 February 2008 11:12 AM  
Just Landed
Total Posts:  28
Joined  2007-10-02

Your friend was pissed off? I had been driving since age 16 (with own vehicle). After 6 years with car and license when I moved to Spain I had to take the test here and get a new license. I had to have the L plate on the back (which I never bothered to put on) and I got NO INSURANCE HISTORY! So my years of driving without accidents in the US were invalid for my Spanish insurance and I had to start from scratch.

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Posted: 20 February 2008 01:20 PM  
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Total Posts:  2857
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As you can imagine we gave him a great deal of verbal support Hee hee!!!! - mike48t , somethying you would do ..... where your next job so i can hee hee you up the lader ....lol
dose mean if i have any Irish license can i trade for Spanish License ....... are could say UK license .....
Both License are fully and no Points on the Irish driver License

EU license only work when renting a car and for 90 days are less as i found out in the Usa the same for EU with Usa License
If you buy a car then need the License for that state

jurdy

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Posted: 21 February 2008 06:47 AM  
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As I understand it a Driving licence (Photo type only) issued in any EU current is valid in any other EU country, you can exchange them in SPain for country licence but it is not necessary, however in Spain after the age 45 you are required to have a medical every 5 years and a cert to say you are fit to drive. IF you have a Spanish licence it is therefore renewable every five on that basis, but a UK licence for example is valid until age 70, and you dont need a medical, there is no ruling that i hve read that tackles this problem. but consider if you are in an accident and you are on a UK licence and you are aged 51 and you dont have a medical cert, where would stand in terms of the law and insurance for example!! (Generally terms and conditions of insurance policies say that if you dont have a valid licence the policy is invalidated!!)>  Perhaps one of the laywer contributors could advise ojn this??

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Mike

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Posted: 21 February 2008 10:29 AM  
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Hi Mike, Yes you can continue to drive in Spain on a UK Licence BUT (as always!)with the proviso that you adhere to Spanish rules and obtain the Health certificate - which I have recently been through and anyone who can walk in and sit in the chair without falling over will pass! (Like me!)

Bottom line: Obtain the certificate or you run the risk of have invalid insurance.

Cost for me was 35€

More info:

Dirección General de Traffico

http://www.dgt.es/tramites/canjes/unioneuropea.htm

Driving Health Check locations:
Centros de Reconocimiento de Conductores

I also have a link for noticias juridicas for anyone who wants to read the Spanish law.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
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Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 21 February 2008 03:20 PM  
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Joined  2006-06-26

Hot off the Press - I happened to be in the Office for Foreign Residents Torrevieja today with my Spanish wife.

An English couple came in and were asking about the Driving Health Check - the woman working in the office said NO it was not required.

I joined in and said Yes I think it probably best to have it - then she produced a letter from the Spanish Director of Traffic (dated about 3 months ago) which my Spanish wife read and confirmed that he has decreed that the Health Check IS NOT REQUIRED until you either decide to swop to the Spanish licence or because you have to because your UK one has expired. Then you must conform to Spanish law.

Then the lady explained that the solicitor employed by their office for residents had written to the minister of traffic because an English paper (RTN) had reported that it was necessary and many people had complained they were confused.

So if indeed it did happen (as reported) that an insurance company refused to cover that lady (without a health cert.) they were acting illegally.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
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Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 21 February 2008 07:05 PM  
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well in Ireland you have to have a FORM D.501 (for driver licensing purposes )  tis is a Medical and eye test by you Registered medical practitoner the doc

think it a eu law in ireland and the uk ?
jurdy

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Posted: 10 April 2008 10:14 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  7
Joined  2007-09-09

Ok, lets take a stab at my situation.

I am from Texas, my D.L. expires in 2010. So as soon as I get my Spanish residency done *my wife is Spanish* my current Texas D.L. is not valid anymore here in Spain???  YES or NO?

This whole “International Drivers License” ordeal.  Is this valid or invalid once my residency papers become official?

I really do not want to take the test again. I really do not want to take it in Spanish, and I really do not feel like paying for something that I have been doing for almost 16 years of my life.

My wife keeps telling me that there is no such thing as a valid “International Drivers License” and the whole thing is a scam. I do now know what to think anymore.

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Posted: 17 June 2009 09:48 PM  
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Total Posts:  5
Joined  2009-04-20

Doesn’t exactly answer your question, but I stumbled across something interesting today. I tried to change my British driving licence for a Spanish one (NB I only have the British one because I exchanged my Australian one for it years ago). The assistant at DGT noticed the information code 70AUS, and told me I couldn’t change it because my original licence is Australian. I pressed him on this, he went away, made a long phone call, and then when returned he reiterated ‘no’. Now he could have just been speaking to his mum, but I thought, such a long phone call, could be something in it.. came home to research, and.. real decreto 1598/2004 states:

se contempla de una manera más cla-
ra la excepción de tener que obtener un permiso en
España, a los titulares de los permisos procedentes de
países terceros con los que exista un convenio bilateral
para el reconocimiento mutuo y canje de los permisos
de conducción, y, por otra parte, para ampliar la posi-
bilidad de canje de permisos con aquellos países con
los que no exista convenio a tal efecto y cumplan deter-
minados requisitos, siempre que los titulares de los per-
misos hayan conducido profesionalmente en España
como mínimo durante un período de seis meses y supe-
ren unas pruebas teóricas

I assume the 1st part implies that if whoever issued your licence has an agreement with someone who has an agreement with Spain (i.e. your licence was issued by the 3rd state or country), that Spain will exchange it. Or, that is just being contemplated? (my Spanish isn’t brilliant - clarification, anyone?).

Does Texas have an agreement to exchange licences with any EU county? If you do have to take the test you can still do it in English, at least in Seville. The same would apply to kreuters, re California.


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Posted: 23 June 2009 09:31 AM  
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Total Posts:  196
Joined  2009-06-03
mike48t - 19 February 2008 08:27 PM

My Work Colleague is a US Citz with a US Drivers licences and an American US Mil licence issued in Germany, he went through various attempts to get these transferred, and there was no route.  Eventually he had to take the Spain Test which allows him to drive througout EU.  I can tell you he is well P****D over the fact that he had to sit in class with Spanish youths, for the lessons and test, take the full test which he said was quite difficult due to a lot of differences between US and EU requirements, and then had to drive around with a green Learner plate on for a year!!!!..

As you can imagine we gave him a great deal of verbal support Hee hee!!!!

Why didn’t he get the requested driving history form from DMV ?

http://www.dmv.org/driving-records.php

I’ve requested a D737 from DVLA for my history so I can get a Spanish License and maintain my EU history.
I understand the DMV License isn’t directly exchangeable for an EU License, I had a Georgia License and the test was a joke, but surely the DMV form would’ve enabled him to carry a form of history / no L Plates ??

DSB.

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Posted: 23 June 2009 09:44 AM  
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Total Posts:  196
Joined  2009-06-03
ROBI - 16 February 2008 03:04 PM

Found this on Google http://www.idl.me.uk/

International Driver License is printed in 8 languages: the five United Nations official languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese) as well as German and Arabic. It is also easy to apply for and does not require taking a driving test.

 

ROBI,
      This Site looks well fishy to me - I mean totally suspect !!!
And the fact they don’t even use PayPal says to me that they don’t want to get rumbled..

They aren’t even spelling their words correctly. See below :-

* Requared fields

LMAO


DSB.

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Posted: 03 August 2009 08:54 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-08-03
Nene - 17 June 2009 09:48 PM

Doesn’t exactly answer your question, but I stumbled across something interesting today. I tried to change my British driving licence for a Spanish one (NB I only have the British one because I exchanged my Australian one for it years ago). The assistant at DGT noticed the information code 70AUS, and told me I couldn’t change it because my original licence is Australian. I pressed him on this, he went away, made a long phone call, and then when returned he reiterated ‘no’. Now he could have just been speaking to his mum, but I thought, such a long phone call, could be something in it.. came home to research, and.. real decreto 1598/2004 states:

se contempla de una manera más cla-
ra la excepción de tener que obtener un permiso en
España, a los titulares de los permisos procedentes de
países terceros con los que exista un convenio bilateral
para el reconocimiento mutuo y canje de los permisos
de conducción, y, por otra parte, para ampliar la posi-
bilidad de canje de permisos con aquellos países con
los que no exista convenio a tal efecto y cumplan deter-
minados requisitos, siempre que los titulares de los per-
misos hayan conducido profesionalmente en España
como mínimo durante un período de seis meses y supe-
ren unas pruebas teóricas

I assume the 1st part implies that if whoever issued your licence has an agreement with someone who has an agreement with Spain (i.e. your licence was issued by the 3rd state or country), that Spain will exchange it. Or, that is just being contemplated? (my Spanish isn’t brilliant - clarification, anyone?).

Does Texas have an agreement to exchange licences with any EU county? If you do have to take the test you can still do it in English, at least in Seville. The same would apply to kreuters, re California.


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The only thing that matters is where you passed your test and had the origional licence issued from.
I come from Guernsey and exchanged my licence for a UK licence while working in the UK, I also have an EU passport.
Despite this and the fact I’ve been driving 34years I have just had to take my test and have to display an L plate for the next twelve months.

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