Driving licenses- what you need for Spain.

Due to popular demand we are running the following feature about driving licenses in Spain.

Many of us living and driving in Spain are unaware of where we stand regarding driving licenses. Are British ones valid? The answer is yes if it was issued after 1990 and if you are visitor or living here out of residencia and not working through the social security system. Licenses issued before 1990 are only accepted if accompanied by an official translation into Spanish. This can be applied via the Spanish embassy in London or through the Real Automovil Club de Espana if the licence holder is already residing in spain. If you plan to live and work here for over six months it is advisable to exchange a British license for a Spanish one simply because it will be able to show your address. Licenses issued by the DVLA will only put a British address on a license, so if it gets lost or stolen, a replacement will not be able to be obtained from the DVLA.

If you are a resident you either have to change your license or put an inscription on your EU license at your nearest Jefatura Provincial de Trafico. If you don´t hold a residents card but are actually working here, paying taxes and social security for more than 185 days of the year, you also have to change your license or put an inscription on your EU license.

To change your license this is what you have to do.

1. If you are a resident take the following documents:

Copy of residencia, original driving license, 2 photos and a signed form obtained from police station. If it needs renewing (see notes below) you will need an eye test from the doctor.

2. Working residents; a copy of your passport, copy of NIE certificate, copy of work contract or if self-employed proof of Social security payments, proof of address such as certificate of empadronment, original driving license and two photos..

3. For an inscription to be added to your existing British licence which will validate it, residents need a copy of residencia, driving licence and a signed form from the police station. Non-residents need a copy of NIE certicate, a copy of their passport and proof of address.

The time span for all changes to licenses is approximately two weeks and costs 46.40€


Licence renewals

If you are 70 or over, as in Britain your license needs to be renewed. In Spain licenses have to be renewed every ten years if the license holder is under 45 and then every five years until the age of 70. For then after it is renewable every two years. The applicant will need an eye test exam issued by an officially recognized centre. Take all the above documents regarding your resident´s status as listed above as well as proof of eye test and take to the Jefatura Provincial de Trafico, which is usually housed within your local police station, as it is, for example, in Gandia. Your local police station if it does not have one will certainly tell you where your nearest one is.



Real Automovil Club de Espana

c/Eloy Gonzalo 32

28010 Madrid

Tel: 91 594 72 33/91 594 72 43




Additional information