British expats in Spain could get extension on UK driving licence ‘without practical test’

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Currently, UK citizens who have Spanish residency and drive in Spain can only use a British driving licence until the end of October. Once the deadline has passed, a British licence will no longer be valid in Spain for residents.

The deadline has already been extended by four months from the original expiry date of June 2021.

In a meeting with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the British Ambassador said he was “hopeful” for a further extension.

Talks between the Spanish and UK Governments on a potential bilateral agreement are still ongoing.

After the UK left the EU, British expats who were living in Spain before January 2021 were required to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one.

The deadline to exchange a British licence was December 31 2020 and drivers had to give their licence details to the Spanish vehicle office, Dirreción General de Tráfico (DGT).

Any British expats who didn’t exchange their licence will have to retake their driving test in Spanish to get a Spanish licence.

Although the October 31 expiry date on UK licences in Spain may be extended, there is no announcement yet on whether British people that missed the December deadline will be able to exchange their licence at a later date without taking a test.

The UK Government said: “Negotiations are underway between the British and Spanish Governments to agree long-term arrangements for exchanging driving licences without needing a practical test.”

Any British tourists driving in Spain will still be able to use their UK driving licence in the country.

For tourists and non-residents, UK driving licences are valid for six months after the tourist arrives in Spain.

However, tourists must follow another car-related rule for people driving a British car in Spain.

British cars must now display a UK sticker and driving without one clearly visible on the vehicle could see a car be impounded.

The rule is in place regardless of what is on the car’s number plate and anyone with a GB sticker should remove or cover it.

According to reports, some British expats have been caught out by the new sticker rule and been stopped by the police.

Robert Barnhardt, an property expat on the Costa del Sol, told many British expats are selling up due to post-Brexit rules.

As well as the rules on vehicles, British expats need to secure Spanish residency to live in Spain and access healthcare.

British expats who enjoyed living in Spain for the six colder months of the year are no longer able to do so if they do not have Spanish residency.

Since Britain left the EU, British people may visit Spain and other EU countries for 90 days out of every 180 days without a visa.

British expats who exchanged their UK licence for a Spanish driving licence will be able to use it in the UK for short visits according to the UK Government.

Any British expat intending to drive in Spain should check the UK Government website and with local authorities for the latest regulations.

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