22 Jul, 2022 @ 19:05
2 mins read

U-TURN CAMPAIGN: Main text for agreement set out in breakthrough for Brits driving in Spain

U Turn Cover 2
Photo: Pixlar/Rawpixel

THE UK EMBASSY in Spain has announced the main text for an agreement to allow Brits resident in Spain to swap their licences for Spanish ones has been agreed. 

Since May 1, Brits resident in Spain for more than six months who do not have a Spanish licence have been unable to legally drive with their UK licence, with thousands of British expats affected.

An update from Embassy staff on the situation was posted on the Brits in Spain facebook page on Friday.

Despite this positive progression, the embassy insisted that no date is set for when an agreement can be fully ratified which would reverse this policy.

The British Embassy said: “There are only the annexes outstanding. We recognise it has been frustratingly slow though.”

In a statement on July 22, the UK in Spain Facebook page said: “It remains our aspiration to agree the remaining parts as soon as possible. The important paperwork from Spain arrived this morning (July 22) and the UK team is now reviewing it as quickly as they can.

Hugh Elliott Snip
Ambassador Hugh Elliott has recieved criticism for the slow pace of negotiations.
Photo: Wikipedia.

“Once everything is finalised, the agreement will then need legal and political approvals. We are committed to get this through the UK and Spanish systems quickly, however, as we’ve said before, we cannot make any guarantees.”

They said they had once again asked the Spanish authorities to reinstate an extension to allow Brits to swap their UK driving licences, but it had again been rebuffed.  

In addition, they outlined who in fact is conducting negotiations, which has been the source of confusion over the preceding months.

“The negotiations are being led by the Department of Transport (DfT) on the UK side and the Interior Ministry’s DVLA equivalent agency, Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT), on the Spanish side, in collaboration with The British Embassy in Spain and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

This is contrary to what the Olive Press was told in May, where a Department for Transport spokesperson said negotiations were being conducted not by the DfT, but by the Foreign Office.

The British Embassy in Spain also acknowledged that the Spanish Government has asked for data provision to form part of the licence exchange process.
“This is something which no other EU Member State asked for, and which requires careful legal and operational considerations,” they said.

But once again, they declined to give Brits a date, so many will still be left in limbo.

“We don’t know for sure when an agreement will be struck because it is a live negotiation, but the UK’s ambition is to reach a deal as soon as possible. We genuinely are making progress each week,” they said.

The Olive Press campaign is closer than ever to succeeding, but we are still not there yet. We urge all our readers to continue to put pressure on the governments of Spain and the UK, and to sign the petition here.


George Mathias

George is an NCTJ trained-journalist who moved from London to Spain's Costa del Sol and joined the Olive Press in February 2022. He has previous experience working at the Basingstoke Gazette and Reach. Contact him George@theolivepress.es

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