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UK Driving Licences in Spain: Fast Approaching Exchange Deadline

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UK nationals who have been residing in Spain since before March 16th, 2023 are being urged by the UK Embassy in Madrid to promptly swap their UK driving permits for Spanish versions. Those who fail to make the switch by September 16th will find themselves ineligible to drive in Spain.

This alert came via a post on the Embassy’s 'Brits in Spain' Facebook group, stressing the importance of this measure for uninterrupted driving privileges. The advisory clearly stated, "If you need to keep driving here, please exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one as soon as possible.”

Earlier in March 2023, the Spanish Interior Ministry had greenlit the post-Brexit UK-Spain driving license agreement. This welcomed move concluded a strenuous ten-month period for numerous UK license bearers in Spain, during which many faced obstacles as they couldn’t legally drive within their residential nation.



In a bid to facilitate this transition, Spanish traffic regulators had allocated a six-month window. This period allowed UK license holders to legally drive in Spain using their UK license while they arranged for its exchange.

As this September 16th cut-off is looming, the urgency behind the UK Embassy's recent communication is clear. According to the official UK government website, UK or Gibraltar license holders who shifted to Spain prior to March 16, 2023, and miss this deadline will lose their rights to drive until their license conversion is finalized.



However, for those who relocated to Spain post-March 16th, 2023, they can operate vehicles with their current licenses for half a year from the moment they obtain Spanish residency. It’s essential to note that exchanging a UK license for a Spanish version becomes viable after six months of residing in Spain. Yet, until the exchange is completed, the UK permit won’t be considered valid for driving purposes, keeping in mind the DGT’s history with administrative delays.

The DGT assures that if a UK or Gibraltar license was valid upon entering Spain and has since expired, it will be replaced with a Spanish version.


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