21 May, 2022 @ 19:15
1 min read

Getting Testy: Issues mount for British expats in Spain unable to drive after failure to strike post-Brexit licence deal

spainish driving test. Photo: Photo by Circula Seguro/Flickr
spainish driving test. Photo: Photo by Circula Seguro/Flickr

THOUSANDS of British expats have been left unable to drive legally in Spain after the failure to strike a bilateral deal. 

And they are getting angrier about it, with dozens speaking out slamming the British government for betraying them.

In most cases, they are long-term expats who were either wrongly informed, let down by bureaucracy or were even defrauded.

They include 62-year-old Alastair Carmichael, resident in Spain for most of his life and who is now stranded in the small town of Lloreda in Cantabria and even one of our own staff Tina Brace.

According to sources Spanish authorities have not agreed a deal because the UK refused to give Spain access to its vehicle owner database so it can chase up holidaymakers with unpaid driving fines.

Marbella lawyer Mark FR Wilkins has vowed to hold the British government to account for its inaction: “This is a preposterous position. The government would rather protect British tourist law breakers than the legitimate interests of the legally Spanish resident British population.”

Wilkins, who has directly contacted transport minister Grant Schapps, told the Olive Press: “We must offer a hand of cooperation to the British Government who seem paralyzed.”

The British Embassy this week told the Olive Press it is still working on an agreement to allow the exchange of driving licences without the need for a Spanish test.

Since May 1, Brits resident in Spain for at least six months and hadn’t yet swapped their licences for a Spanish one can no longer legally drive here.

Ambassador Hugh Elliott explained that he sympathises with the hardships caused.

He said: “If your inability to drive is putting you in a very vulnerable situation, you can always contact your nearest consulate for advice.”

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