UK driving licences for people who have been living in Spain for more than six months are no longer valid from today (May 1).

Since Brext it has been mandatory to obtain a Spanish driving licence after six months residency in the country.

But extensions of the ‘grace’ period before this needed to be done have previously been agreed while British and Spanish authorities negotiated a longer term solution.

Now the latest extension has finished, leaving many people who had not completed an exchange in limbo and unable to legally drive in Spain.

“Driving a vehicle without a valid licence is illegal in Spain,” the British Embassy in Madrid has said.

driving licence British embassy photo
UK licences not valid. Photo: British Embassy

UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott said: “We’re not there just yet. And we will not have reached an agreement in time for the end of the current grace period.”

He added: “What does this mean for you? It means that if you have been resident in Spain for longer than six months, your UK-issued licence will no longer be valid to drive here from May 1.”

British driving licence holders who registered their intention to exchange their licences for a Spanish one before December 31, 2020, should have the right to simply swap their UK licence for a Spanish one.

But the Olive Press has heard of many people who have not managed to complete the exchange in time due to long delays by the Spanish authorities

Instructor And Young Female Student, Driving Lesson
UK licence holders currently have to take a Spanish driving test after six months. Photo: Adobe Stock

They cannot drive in Spain with their UK licences from today.

People who moved to Spain after that date can only use their UK licence for six months before having to take a Spanish driving test.

“We know this will cause significant difficulties for those who have not yet been able to exchange their licence,” Elliott said.

“I am relieved that most of you were able to exchange your licence as advised before the end of the transition period.”

He added that negotiations were continuing as a matter of urgency, but went on to say: “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.”

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