Do I need a Spanish Driving Licence?

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Over the years,  I have read conflicting reports on this subject-some people say yes you do-others say no you don’t. So I thought it best to go straight to the horses mouth and ask the Spanish DGT. (Trafico). The law changed in January 2015, and this is what is now required.

Who needs to renew their driver’s licence?

According to Article 15, paragraph 4 of the Spanish Regulation General Drivers, it is compulsory for drivers to renew their EU/EEA driving licences whose validity is:

  • permanent (never expires);
  • 15 years or more on date of issue for Group 1 (AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE);
  • five years or more on date of issue for the Group 2 (BTP, C1, C1E, C, CE D1, D1E, D, DE).

In addition, the EU/EEA citizen must be living in Spain for more than two years. Therefore, there are two different scenarios to which the new law applies:

  1. Holder of an EU/EEA driving licence that never expires or with a validity of 15 years or more for Group 1 (or five years or more for Group 2) and having Spanish residency since 19 January 2013 or before. In this case, you must renew your driving license.
  2. Holder of an EU/EEA driving licence that never expires or with a validity of 15 or more for Group 1 (or five years or more for Group 2) and having Spanish residency after 19 January 2013. In this case, you must renew your driving licence after having Spanish residency for two years or more.
  3. Do you have Spanish residency? Or do you intend living here permanently? You must have Spanish Residency to renew / exchange your EU licence. Whether you’ve been living here simply on a NIE number, this does not allow you to exchange your EU licence for a Spanish driving licence. In addition, holders of EU/EEA driving licences who have Spanish residency must also renew their driving licence if it’s already expired or close to the expiry date.
  4. You must make an appointment online to renew / exchange your EU driving licence. Here is the link:
  5. Stolen or lost original EU licence. In this case you must request a certificate from your country’s driving licence office to prove you hold a valid driving licence. A deteriorated or a partially damaged original document may not be accepted.
  6. You cannot pay in cash. Tax at Spanish driving licence offices (Dirección General de Tráfico) must be paid either with a credit or debit card, at the bank or online.
  7. The medical certificate is not extensive. Basically, it is just a sight test, a questionnaire and driving test on a computer, (but I am told that it could vary from area to area.)
  8. Your final driving licence is sent by post.  
  9. Driving on an expired driving licence incurs a 200 euro fine.

Cat services (Albox) have put a detailed leaflet of the costs and procedures involved with obtaining a Spanish Driving Licence. A great service and good value.


Obtaining a Spanish Licence

Please find below the necessary information in order to bring you in line with the Spanish/EU requirements.

Medical – carried out by an authorised centre – there are 2 in Albox and both have someone who speaks English.  They are both equally as good as each other – Virgin de Saliente in Calle Ramón y Cajal or the other formally known as Checkbox which is now called Doctors Check, which is in the next street and virtually backs on to the other. They each have a picture of a driving licence in the window. Take your driving licence and residencia with you.  If you have any extra categories (other than car) on your licence that you want to retain please make sure they know to include on the certificate.

Photo – although there will be a photo on the medical certificate Trafico require us to take one to Almeria.  The required size is 32 x 26 (smaller than passport). Tell the photographer what it is for and they should provide correct size. I recommend the photographer next door to Caja Granada just over the old green bridge by the ´Lady’s´statue.

Passport and Residencia – Trafico need to see the originals or certified copies of both documents – if you can take the originals & photocopies into your town hall and ask them to stamp, sign and print their name on the copies that would be better for us to take.

Driving Licence – The plastic part is surrendered in Almeria – whilst at the town hall get them to certify a copy of your plastic licence (both sides) as you will carry this until the new licence comes in the post.


Medical – approx 45€ per person

Trafico – 23.50€ per person or 27.70€ if you have had your Residencia for less than two years

C.A.T. Services – 45€ per person or 75€ per couple – includes forms, appointments and trips to Almeria (we go on your behalf)

For your information our office is open Monday to Friday 09.00-17.00 and Saturday 09.00-14.00 – no appointment necessary.



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