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UK Driving Licence in Spain
Posted: 25 July 2009 07:27 PM  
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Hi Everyone,

My wife & I have recently moved to Torre Del Mar, Spain. We have obtained our NIE numbers and Residencia.

Next on the agenda is our UK driving licence…what to do? There are so many different stories here - Do nothing at all, you are ok to drive on a UK licence with the pink EU photocard and counterpart. Other say you need a medical, do you then carry the medical report with your licence? We have recently take insurance out for a Spanish registered car and all they have asked for is a copy of the UK licence.

I’m about to return the pink photo card to DVLA Swansea with a new photo as the present photo is about to expire. We have noticed that DVLA do not note change of addresses abroad. Is it then worth carrying the Residencia paper with your licence to confirm your address? If we require medicals, does anyone know of where we can go in Torre Del Mar / Nerja area?

Look forward to hearing from you all.

Regards

Monty

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Posted: 25 July 2009 10:34 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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Under EU law . you are perfectly legal to drive in Spain as a resident on a valid British licence providing it is the ID type. The DVLC do not accept a change of address when you move abroad ie so you can’t have a UK licence with a Spanish address. But you also have to comply with Spanish law regarding the health test - this you will need to take:

http://www.dgt.es/portal/es/oficina_virtual/dir_telefonos/centros_rec_conductores/?tit=?D?ndesepuedesolicitar?

using this page you should be able to find your local centres.

When your UK licence expires you must then apply for a Spanish licence.

Or you can voluntarily apply to hand in your UK licence and get a Spanish one at any time prior to its expiration.

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Posted: 25 July 2009 11:34 PM   [ # 2 ]  
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If you read on the advice on forums you`ll end up far more confused.

You are legal as long as you follow Rob advice.

But.

Certain Guardia Traffico`s do get a bit upset and fine UK nationals resident in Spain if there using there UK license and follow the Spanish legal requirements.

Something you`ll get used to in Spain, rules are not really rules, there guidlines, not really, but tell that to Spanish people.

My advice would be to exchange your UK license to a Spanish one, its easy to do and will take away the hassle of reversing a fine.

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Posted: 26 July 2009 12:51 PM   [ # 3 ]  
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To be honest I totally agree with Santi on this one - if anyone is serious about living in Spain, integrating etc etc then why not change your licence to Spanish ?

It also acts as a useful ID card following the ‘death’ of the residencia card (replaced by a useless for ID but necessary certificate)

Obviously this advice applies to EU who have the option - for many other nationalities it is obligatory to obtain a Spanish licence (ie Canadian)

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Posted: 26 July 2009 02:00 PM   [ # 4 ]  
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Most of the advice I`ve read on other forums is given by retired Expats who have no idea how to communicate in or read Spanish, that’s why there is so much confusion.

Spain though has been ignoring EU legislation regarding licenses and they have prosecuted non Spanish EU residents, not just English people.

In 2012 there will be a shared system, whether Spain continues to ignore legislation is uncertain.

But the EU legislation allows EU countries to still implement local rules and enforce that countries laws, such as the medical rules in Spain compared to the UK.

Spain though uses a small part of the Harmonization rule, which has now changed, that meant all residents into a new EU country had to apply for that countries license within 6 months of becoming a resident.

That changed after the EU took Spain to court and won the case, so the rule got changed.

But Spain are ignoring it in certain regions and by certain officers of Traffico.

But once prosecuted incorrectly it is possible to reverse the penalty, although it can be a long process.

There is also some confusing as the DVLA rules state that for a license to be legal it has to contain a current address and since they don`t issue licenses with addresses outside the UK, then the Spanish who had the same rule, view the license as invalid and in need of replacement.

But the EU are happy that all you need to do is register with Traffico, have a simple medical test and follow the countries rules.

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Posted: 26 July 2009 02:37 PM   [ # 5 ]  
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“There is also some confusing as the DVLA rules state that for a license to be legal it has to contain a current address and since they don`t issue licenses with addresses outside the UK, then the Spanish who had the same rule, view the license as invalid and in need of replacement. “

Yes this point has always confused me - I assumed (dangerous I know) that when you had become a Spanish resident then this anomaly was permissible as eventually you would have to go to the Spanish DL anyway.

However it would be nice to see an official comment on this point.

Back to the bottom line - when in Spain go Spanish!

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Posted: 26 July 2009 03:48 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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ROB1305 - 26 July 2009 02:37 PM

Back to the bottom line - when in Spain go Spanish!

True.

The amount of Expats though that try to avoid rules is high.

Probably due to language issues, which is a major issue in a lot of area`s.

Swine Flu in Spain could pose an issue for non Spanish speakin Expats.

Driving rules are here on the Spanish Govt web info site.

http://www.dgt.es/portal/es/oficina_virtual/conductores/

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Posted: 26 July 2009 05:36 PM   [ # 7 ]  
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Hi Rob & Santi,

Thanks for your help. Unfortunately we are of the non-Spanish speaking ilk (yet) so will try to find our way around the DOT page with our trusty dictionary.
We saw a link on a previous thread saying where to get medicals, so we will persue that. As my licence will need replacing in September anyway, we may as well try to keep on the right side and go for Spanish licences. The thing that bothers us (and your confirmation of rules not really being rules) is that we will go to Malaga, (we think that’s the nearest Traffico dept), having got medicals, queue, fill out forms, pay fees and then someone wave a hand and tell us it’s not necessary! A lot seems to depend on the day and who you see on the day!?

Thanks again,

Ian & Carol.

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Posted: 26 July 2009 07:10 PM   [ # 8 ]  
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Monty - 26 July 2009 05:36 PM

The thing that bothers us (and your confirmation of rules not really being rules) is that we will go to Malaga, (we think that’s the nearest Traffico dept), having got medicals, queue, fill out forms, pay fees and then someone wave a hand and tell us it’s not necessary! A lot seems to depend on the day and who you see on the day!?

Thanks again,

Ian & Carol.

Its an issue with Malaga region, they generally can`t be bothered battling through with non Spanish speakin people.

In my office in Malaga my Jefe was a young guy straight out of university, we were in the front office chatting in English ( he asked because he had learn`t English in uni and wanted to practice)

One of the office girls interrupted stating “This is Spain speak fing Spanish”.

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Posted: 04 August 2009 09:12 PM   [ # 9 ]  
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I love this comment: (see above)

“we may as well try to keep on the right side and go….......”

I think you may be missing the point - legally you don’t have any choice!

If you go with all of the right documents - they will process you - just like in the UK!

You need this (from the DGT site)
http://www.dgt.es/portal/es/oficina_virtual/conductores/impresos/

(Impresos de canje.  Solicitud =  Modelo 2.40)

DOCUMENTACI?N NECESARIA:

1. Solicitud en impreso oficial que se facilitar? en las Jefaturas de Tr?fico y en la p?gina Web de la DGT (http://www.dgt.es)
2. Acreditaci?n de identidad y residencia:
  a. Documento Nacional de Identidad o Pasaporte: original en vigor.

  b. Autorizaci?n de residencia o documento de identidad de su pa?s o pasaporte, junto con el Certificado de Inscripci?n en el Registro Central de Extranjeros para extranjeros comunitarios: original en vigor.
  c. Autorizaci?n de Residencia para extranjeros no comunitarios: original en vigor.
3. Permiso de conducci?n comunitario: original en vigor y fotocopia.
4. Fotograf?a actualizada: una original de 32 x 25 mm.
5. Tal?n foto, que se facilitar? en las Jefaturas de Tr?fico: cumplimentado y firmado dentro del recuadro correspondiente.
6. Declaraci?n por escrito de no hallarse privado por resoluci?n judicial del derecho a conducir veh?culos a motor y ciclomotores, ni sometido a intervenci?n o suspensi?n del que se posea.
7. Declaraci?n por escrito de no ser titular de otro permiso o licencia de conducci?n, ya sea expedido en Espa?a o en otro pa?s comunitario, de igual clase que el solicitado.

You get the solicitud here: (the application form)

This is translated via one of the many online translators:
1. Official form request that will facilitate in the Headquarters of Traffic and the page Web of the DGT (http://www.dgt.es)
2. Accreditation of identity and calls to account: a. National document of Identity or Passport: original in force. b. Authorization of residence or passport or identity card of its country, along with the Certificate of Inscription in the Central Registry of Foreigners for communitarian foreigners: original in force. c. Authorization of Residence for noncommunitarian foreigners: original in force. 3. Communitarian permission of conduction: original in force and it photocopies. 4. Up-to-date photography: original of 32 xs 25 mm.
5. Heel photo, that it will be facilitated in the Headquarters of Traffic: complimented and signed within the corresponding box.
6. Declaration in writing of not being prevailed by judicial resolution of the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds, nor put under intervention or suspension del that is controlled.
7. Declaration in writing of not being to title of another permission or license of conduction, or sent in Spain or another communitarian country, of equal class that the solicitd one.
1. Official form request that will facilitate in the Headquarters of Traffic and the page Web of the DGT (http://www.dgt.es)
2. Accreditation of identity and calls to account: a. National document of Identity or Passport: original in force. b. Authorization of residence or passport or identity card of its country, along with the Certificate of Inscription in the Central Registry of Foreigners for communitarian foreigners: original in force. c. Authorization of Residence for noncommunitarian foreigners: original in force. 3. Communitarian permission of conduction: original in force and it photocopies. 4. Up-to-date photography: original of 32 xs 25 mm.
5. Heel photo, that it will be facilitated in the Headquarters of Traffic: complimented and signed within the corresponding box.
6. Declaration in writing of not being prevailed by judicial resolution of the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds, nor put under intervention or suspension del that is controlled.
7. Declaration in writing of not being to title of another permission or license of conduction, or sent in Spain or another communitarian country, of equal class that the solicitd one.

and thats there is to it!

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Posted: 05 August 2009 01:00 PM   [ # 10 ]  
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This is another document from the Royal Automobile Club Espana.

Section 2.2 states the requirementes.

http://www.race.es/opencms/opencms/system/galleries/webrace/downloads/informes_segvial/informe_2008_03_conductores_extranjeros.pdf

Gives all the legal info, although as its for foreigners and in Spain, it typically only comes in one language, the internationally recognised world language that isn`t Spanish.😉

This is translated from the site, I`ve marked the confusing piece.

To the reduction of the accident on Spanish roads
Madrid, 29 April 2008. Real Autom?vil Club de Espa?a, RACE, has analysed accident foreign drivers in our country in the past three years. Among the most important conclusions highlights the fact that the population of Spanish drivers killed in road has declined 15 % from 2005 until 2007, while deaths abroad drivers have increased its proportion to the total accident 12.8 % in 2005 to over 14 per cent in 2007. The weight of foreign drivers in Spain accident breaks with the declining mortality figures in road trend.

The report made by the RACE discusses valid permissions to move in Spain, concluding that in our country there are different options to lead by a foreign driver. We have thus belonging to the European Union not belonging to the European Union and drivers drivers

Non-EU drivers can lead (condition of tourists) 185 days or six months, with the international permit or with your permission source translated into Spanish by an official body. After this period, if you have purchased the normal residence in our country, have a period of 6 months validity of the original permission. At the end of this period, the resident in Spain must either redeem your permission if you have subscribed Spain a bilateral agreement with their country of origin, or to obtain Spanish licence.

Currently, Spain has recognition of driving licence, swaps handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Morocco, Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Andorra, Switzerland, Korea South and Japan. Shortly, incorporation of Brazil, Guatemala and the Philippines.

In the case of community drivers, these not obligation of redeemed from driving, given that there is free movement of persons of Community origin in the European Union. The other hand, must be said that not having obligation to redeem the driving licence are not affected by the permit system by points.

According to the Please don’t run, in Spain will have traded since 2002 up to year 2006, latest available data, more than 557.600 driving licences. The evolution of the accident on road in the period 2005 to 2007, has suffered increased from 12.8 per cent of foreign drivers deaths to the total number of drivers killed in our country, 14.1 per cent of the year 2007, an increase in the proportion of the total number of accidents, compared to the reduction which has been observed in fatal accidents in our country drivers.

By nationalities, the Romanians represented rate with increased mortality between drivers and aliens with 14.5 per cent, followed by Moroccans 14.2 % of fatalities, Portuguese 10.8 % Ecuadorian 6.6 % and British occupiers 6.6 %.

According to data from 2005 provided by INE, inside of groups of foreigners resident in our country, 29 % of Ecuadorians dies in car accident in Spain, 21 % of Romanians dies for this reason, as well as 17 % of the Moroccan population and 14 per cent of the Bulgarian population. If you compare with other collective of foreigners, only 1.9 % of Germans dies in Spain by traffic accident, 2.15 per cent of the British and 3.6 % of the French.

According to the prosecution of road safety of the nearly 3,000 allegations made in Madrid for not wearing driving 64 per cent of cases were foreign drivers. This figure reaches 51 % of cases if we analyse this situation in Catalonia. It is necessary to remember that these complaints will become a crime against the safety of traffic 1 may, at the end of the moratorium established in the reform of the Criminal Code of last December.

Compared to the percentage shed foreign drivers in the total of the accident, the RACE intends to carry out a series of measures to take into account:
For foreigners resident, free courses adapt to the Spanish circulatory reality addressing standards, signaling, uses and customs, active and passive safety, and restraint systems. These courses should be taught by accredited entities such as Autoescuelas or car club, taking that latter, on many occasions, are responsible for examining in the country of origin.
In the conventions which subscribes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should take precedence road safety criteria to ensure equal treatment of the system of training, evaluation and issuance of permits with the Spanish model. In this regard, and as shows the comparative report between countries, large differences between systems of some countries such as Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, with other showing large differences in the training requirements of the faculty.
On the other hand, been observed that the levels of security, child restraint systems or drinking alcohol belt while driving differs among the foreign population depending on the place of origin, finding far short of the medium use in Spain, according to arise from the data the report prepared by the RACE in collaboration with car clubs of Latin America. For this reason, the RACE requests that the agreements of bilateralism expresses the need to match the degree of knowledge of the rules and customs in traffic and road safety of this group.

Other data from the study is 49 per cent of foreign drivers who died in Spain for the period 2005-2007 was originating in the community, as the British, Germans or Romanians. Therefore the RACE considered a priority campaigns promotional traffic in countries with increased tourist presence in Spain, in order to report on

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Posted: 05 August 2009 06:56 PM   [ # 11 ]  
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This has been an extremely informative thread, but I have a French licence rather than UK as I lived there for a couple of years. Presumably the same general advice applies, as it’s in the EU and incorporates a photograph.

However, I have a particular (and very worrying) problem, as I recently seem to have lost the original French licence. It was issued in 2007 and I had to pass a medical for it as I was approaching 70 years.

I do, however, have a copy of the French licence which was produced and certified by a Spanish Notary last year. I also have the fax sent by SVLA, Swansea, confirming my original UK licence and the dates of each category etc.

Can anyone suggest whether this might be sufficient evidence to enable the issue of a Spanish licence? If not, what should I do?

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Posted: 05 August 2009 09:10 PM   [ # 12 ]  
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Phew! The missing French licence has fortunately just come to light - it was hidden in the depths of a secret inner pocket of my wife’s over-complicated travel handbag!

Now I will waste no time in swapping it for a Spanish licence, so that the situation could not arise again.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 10:16 PM   [ # 13 ]  
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Polyglot - 05 August 2009 06:56 PM

This has been an extremely informative thread, but I have a French licence rather than UK as I lived there for a couple of years. Presumably the same general advice applies, as it’s in the EU and incorporates a photograph.

As its an EU license its the same rules.

There seems to be some misunderstnading on what a license is used for.

Its simply proof that you`ve been assest capable of driving certain classes of vehicle.

Each EU country can and does implement its own rules as to what needs to be added to make it legal.

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Posted: 08 August 2009 02:39 PM   [ # 14 ]  
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What does anybody make of this site:

http://genuinedl.com/

??

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Posted: 08 August 2009 06:44 PM   [ # 15 ]  
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ROB1305 - 08 August 2009 02:39 PM

What does anybody make of this site:

http://genuinedl.com/

??

Well suspect.
Didn’t you post the link in another area ROB ? I seem to remember commenting on it..

P.S: I emailed the company for fun last week when it was in the other forum area - they not replied / SHOCK.
Like you’re gonna give your Visa Card Numbers and Mothers Maiden name before continuing..


DSB.

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