Before Brexit

BEFORE BREXIT Driving with a UK Licence.

Hi, before I go onto pastures new and leave the blog in other capable hands. I thought I would post this, that I came across on the NN32 site. Self Explanatory-and informative. Thank you to all that contributed to the blog over the last year.


We are constantly being asked to clarify the situation regarding driving with a UK licence whilst in Spain, amid conflicting reports and rumour, and so we thought it prudent to share with you the official guidelines as dictated by the DGT.

Firstly, let us say that if you are a resident in Spain, that is to say you spend more time living in this country than another, it makes sense to change your licence to a Spanish one anyway, as this then links to your personal details on the computers accessed by traffic police, and so, in the event of getting stopped, you can be on your way far quicker. Similarly, if you happen to have been fined, you don´t have to pay the fine on the spot if you have a valid Spanish licence.Secondly, it is a lot easier to exchange your licence these days.

Many clinics which handle the medical examination will also do the administration for you at the same time. All you have to do is present yourself for your appointment, with your licence, and they will complete all of the paper work, sending it to the traffic department, and even chasing it on your behalf if it doesn´t arrive back in time. They even issue the temporary driving permit.
However, we still need to answer your questions, such as “can I be fined if I have a valid UK driving licence?”
The answer is YES, if you are RESIDENT and your licence complies with one of these two cases:
The holder of a European driving licence with an INDEFINITE DURATION or GREATER than 15 YEARS (or five years in the case of group permissions 2) with legal residence in Spain acquired on January 19, 2013 or before that date – You must renew your driving licence from January 19, 2015.
The holder of a European driving licence with an INDEFINITE DURATION or GREATER than 15 YEARS (or five years in the case of group permissions 2) with legal residence in Spain obtained dated after January 19, 2013 – You must renew your driving licence from the moment two years of residence in Spain has been met.

In order to check this, you must look at the BACK of the licence, where you will see the expiration dates for each of the categories.

If you are not a resident, on holiday for example, you cannot be fined for driving with a valid UK licence, however there are some circumstances where an officer might doubt that you are in fact on holiday. For example, if is perfectly legal for you to own a holiday home in Spain, and even a Spanish car to use whilst you are here, but that might make it appear that you are a resident driving on a UK licence. The solution to this is simple, you can get an EX-15 form from the National Police, also available to download from, complete the form and take it to be certified by the police and that then serves as a certificate of non-residency.

BEFORE BREXIT Requirements for Tourist's Driving in Spain.

Tourist’s Driving in Spain As an EU citizen and a tourist, to drive a foreign registered vehicle in Spain you must have with you, and you can be fined for not obeying the following:
  1. your passport, current until after your return home
  2. Current driving licence, preferably the EU type with the ring of stars
  3. Two EU approved, red warning triangles
  4. Approved reflective jackets that must be worn by all outside the car at anytime, day or night, outside the vehicle at the side of any highway not in an urban (street lights?) area. The jackets must be kept inside the car so they can be put on before getting out and also must be visible from outside the car. The pocket in the back of the front seat is a good place. The jackets are inexpensive and can be bought at most supermarkets if you do not have them already
  5. A set of spare lamps/bulbs for your car and the tool/s to change them
  6. If you wear corrective glasses for driving, a spare pair
  7. Your number plate should be an EU one with the ring of stars containing your country code, or a small plate/sticker with your country code (GB, etc) should secured to the rear of the car
  8. Valid insurance
  9. All vehicle documents relating to the car (legally certified copies are OK)
Recommended, but not mandatory is a First Aid kit and a fire extinguisher It used to be that you had to carry a set of bulbs with you but this has now changed. The law has realised that with most new vehicles, changing a bulb is impossible anyway as they are sealed units. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to insist on carrying spare bulbs.   Outside the EU If you are from outside the EU, (Most of us soon) you will need an International Driving Licence issued by the correct authority in your home country. It must have one page of information in Spanish. Remember that your “tourist status” in a foreign country usually applies for only three months as far as insurance is concerned, so for any longer periods, do not forget to discuss this with your broker. The roads in Spain vary from very poor to very good, the latter especially since Spain joined the EU and has benefited from the funding from other countries over the last 20 years.