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Spain approves reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licences with UK

The Spanish government has finally approved the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licences with the UK, an issue that had affected thousands of UK nationals who are officially resident in Spain, but had not been able to exchange their licence for a Spanish one before the deadline at the end of 2020, post-Brexit. 

Despite a number of extensions, since 1 May 2022, thousands of UK licence holders who had been resident in Spain for six months or more had been unable to drive with their UK licences, even though the vast majority of other EU nations have struck deals with the UK post-Brexit for the simple exchange of driving licences. 

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Spain’s Interior Ministry said that the new agreement ’embodied in the form of an exchange of verbal notes between Spain and the UK, also establishes the exchange of information on traffic offences in terms of road safety’.

‘Holders of a valid driving licence in one of the two States may request the exchange in the country where they have established their residence without the need to take an additional practical or theoretical test,’ the statement said.

The Spanish cabinet approved the agreement on Tuesday by which Spain and the UK ‘will proceed to the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licenses as well as the exchange of information on traffic offences in terms of road safety’, the statement read.

‘This agreement puts an end to the successive extensions applied to the exchange of permits between the two countries that had been applied since the end of the transitional period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement of the UK from the European Union,’ it stated..

‘From now on, holders of a valid and current driving license issued by either of the two States may request the exchange of their equivalent driving license where they have established their residence, without being subject to any additional requirement of practical test or theoretical and according to the equivalence tables between the categories of permits from both countries.’

‘The agreement establishes that all valid permits or licences of current residents issued prior to its entry into force may be exchanged, while for permits issued after said entry into force it will be an essential requirement to access the exchange that the permits have been issued in the country where the applicant had his legal residence.’

With this pact, British citizens ‘residing in Spain who had not had their driving license recognised before Brexit, nor in the successive extensions granted, will be able to do so as of Thursday 16 March’.

The statement also said that ‘to facilitate administrative processing at the provincial traffic headquarters, a period of six months has been granted during which British citizens can circulate in Spain with their original permit while they process the exchange’.

In addition, Spain and the UK have agreed to undertake to provide each other with information on the data of the vehicles and their owners for the purpose of investigating traffic offences related to road safety, especially in cases of speeding, not wearing a seat belt, failure to stop at a red light, driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs, not wearing a crash helmet, driving in a prohibited lane, or illegal use of mobile phones.

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1 comment

Dawid 14th March 2023 at 5:35 pm

Where can we do it?

Reply

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