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Has time run out for UK driving licence holders in Spain?

THE LATEST EXTENSION granted by the Spanish government for British residents to drive in Spain with their UK driving licence runs out today, 30th April 2022, unless another last-minute grace period is granted.

The latest in a string of extensions expires at midnight tonight. If that deadline remains, British residents who failed to swap their UK driving licence for a Spanish one before the original deadline set by the Spanish government will have to take a Spanish driving test.

Currently, British residents living in Spain before 1st January 2021 can continue to drive in Spain with their valid UK driving licence until midnight tonight.

British nationals living in Spain who registered their intention to exchange their licences with the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico) before 30th December 2020, but have not yet done so, have until today to request an appointment.

Last month the British Ambassador reported that negotiations were ongoing, and confirmed that he remained committed to reaching a long-term agreement with Spain to enable UK driving licence holders to exchange their licences without taking a test.

Earlier this month, the British Embassy in Madrid asked the Spanish government for another extension for UK drivers resident in Spain.

However, the most recent update on the UK government website last night reads “From 1st May 2022, if you have been resident for more than six months and have not exchanged your UK licence for a Spanish one, you will no longer be able to drive using your UK licence.”

UK driving licence in Spain

An update on the UK Embassy Facebook page from HMA High Elliott at 20:11 yesterday states “The UK and Spanish Governments are still negotiating. UK and Spanish Ministers spoke today and agreed to rapidly accelerating talks next week in the hope of reaching an agreement soon.”

“But we're not there just yet, and we will not have reached an agreement in time for the end of the current grace period (30th April 2022).”

“What does this mean for you? If you have been resident in Spain for longer than six months, your UK driving licence will no longer be valid to drive in Spain from 1st May 2022.”

“Driving a vehicle without a valid licence is illegal in Spain. If you are affected by this change and need to drive, you should not wait for the outcome of the negotiations and should take immediate steps to apply for a Spanish licence – as we have been advising for some time now.”

The passing of the deadline does not affect UK licence holders who have recently moved to Spain, who have six months from the date of residency to take a Spanish driving test.

UK driving licences for visitors and tourists visiting Spain remain valid, and UK nationals on holiday, visiting friends and family, or hiring a car can still drive during their visit using a full UK driving licence, without the need for an International Driving Permit.

Looking for holiday ideas and travel inspiration? Find out more about our favourite recommended things to do on the Orihuela Costa or join the La Zenia community Facebook group and find out what´s going on in the local area.

Photo credit: LaZenia.com

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Mandy has lived in Spain for more than a decade. Degree-qualified, she is experienced in all areas of social media, website development and administration, and professional creative writing.


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