UK-Spain Driving Licence Validity Extended Amid “Ongoing Uncertainty”

The seemingly never-ending saga of the validity of UK driving licences in Spain continues as the British Embassy in Madrid announced that the Spanish authorities have extended for a fourth time the period of their validity whilst negotiations over a reciprocal driving licence agreement can be made.

The issue has dodged agreement since the end of the withdrawal agreement in December 2020 with constant extensions whilst a solution is found to the apparently vexed issue.

The embassy´s Brits in Spain Facebook page said: “Following the Ambassador’s message last week we are pleased to let you know that yesterday the Spanish Government confirmed an extension of the current grace period for the recognition of UK driving licences.”

“That means that those of you who were living in Spain before 1 January 2021 can continue to drive in Spain with your valid UK driving licence until 30 April 2022. If you moved to Spain after 1 January 2021, your licence will be recognised for six months from the date you obtained residence, or until 30 April 2022, whichever is later. For those of you who registered your intention to exchange your licence with the DGT before 30 December 2020, but have not yet done so, you have until 30 April to request an appointment,” the Embassy´s page said.

It is unclear why a UK – Spain driving exchange agreement for respective official residents is still outstanding given that the UK has successfully negotiated reciprocal agreements with the majority of European Union countries including Austria, France, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland and neighbouring Portugal.

For an uptodate list of UK – EU country by country guide see: Driving in Europe

UK visitors who drive in Spain using rented or own vehicles can still use their licences.

The new extension pushes the previous 28 February deadline to 30 April.

It appears that the embassy is not confident that an agreement can be reached and acknowledges “ongoing uncertainty,”  suggesting that UK residents in Spain “may not want to wait for the outcome of the on-going negotiations and (you) may decide to apply for a Spanish driving licence now. This involves taking both a practical and theory test.”

There are an estimated 380,000 British nationals resident in Spain an around 200,000 Spaniards officially resident in the UK.



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