26 Mar, 2021 @ 12:38
1 min read

EXCLUSIVE: Spain-UK bilateral agreement pending over post-Brexit driving licence exchange

UK driving licence spain exchange
UK driving licence spain exchange

Spain and the UK are holding high level discussions to allow Brits to continue to exchange their driving licences for Spanish ones without the need to take the Spanish driving test, a senior British diplomat has told the Olive Press.

It is one of those issues that has been a thorn in the side of Brits living in Spain as Brexit loomed; the need to exchange British driving licences for Spanish ones.

Although the driving licence exchange has long been a legal requirement for EU citizens living in Spain more than six months and is relatively straightforward as Spanish bureaucratic processes go, the issue took on an urgency for Brits as the end of the transition period approached.

Appointments at the DGT were scarce due to a sudden last minute rush by Brits compounded by complications and delays caused by restrictions on office hours during the coronavirus pandemic

But Brits were told that as long as they registered their intent to exchange their driving licences before December 30 then they would have six months in which to do it.

That deadline expires on June 30after which point Brits have been told they would no longer qualify for a simple swap and would have to take the Spanish driving test in order to get a licence and drive legally in Spain.

However, there is hope for those Brits who failed to register intent and for future arrivals to the country.

David Hunt, the Head of Citizens’ Rights and Mobility Department (Europe Directorate) at the FCDO told The Olive Press: “We are in discussions with Spanish authorities on arrangements for future exchange of UK licences.”

Captura De Pantalla 229
David Hunt, Head of Citizens’ Rights and Mobilty Dept at FCDO during video call with the Olive Press.

“We are working on an agreement that will allow Brits to exchange their driving licences for Spanish ones without the need to undergo a practical test,” he said.

However, he could not guarantee that a bilateral agreement would be in place before the June 30 deadline and warned people to follow the legal requirements in the meantime.

“I’m not in a position to make firm promises but that is the action we are taking at the moment,” he said.

“We are hopeful for a future agreement, but in the meantime ask people to quite literally follow the rules of the road in the place where they are resident.”


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.


  1. Just looked at the DGT website, you have 6 months from the start of January OR 6 months from when you became a legal resident in Spain (this year). I became resident in March as the process took ages so have 6 months from then.
    Hopefully it will be sorted soon, I’m sure it will as at present Spanish residing in the UK can change their licence to a UK one without the need for a test.

    Location : Marbella
  2. Hi Mark but did you manage to register with the DGT before the deadline last year as we tried but we were told the phonelines were swamped and could not accept any more calls but however we did manage to register for residency before that deadline and we got our Residency in February cheers

    Location : JAVEA

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