Valid Driving Licenses in Spain

TRAFICO_GUARDIA_CIVILThere seems to be a certain amount of confusion surrounding what licenses are valid to drive in Spain. I shall try and clear up these doubts once and for all.

Firstly, I must point out that you cannot drive any vehicle in Spain on an English Provisional Driving license. Licenses issued in countries of the European Union and the EEC (Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) are valid. In certain cases there are licenses that are valid in Spain, under the following terms:

  • Licenses issued issued in other countries according to Annex 9 of the Geneva Agreement, or Annex 6 of the Vienna Agreement, or that differ from said licenses only in the suppression of certain non essential seals.
  • Licenses issued in other countries that are in Spanish or accompanied by an official translation of the same.
  • International licenses issued abroad according to Annex 10 of the Geneva Agreement, or in line with the model of license in Annex E of the International Agreement of Paris, in the case of countries party to this Agreement that have not subscribed to the Geneva Agreement.
  • Those recognised in certain international agreements to which Spain is a party and under the terms that are indicated in the same.

Conditions for Validity

The licenses previously mentioned are conditioned by the validity period, that the holder is of legal driving age in Spain in order to obtain the equivalent of a Spanish license, and that it is not more than 6 months since the holder has obtained residency in Spain.

Once this six month period has expired, the mentioned permits are no longer valid in Spain, and if the holders wish to continue driving in Spain they must obtain a Spanish license, adhering to the requirements and passing the corresponding tests, except in the case where there is an agreement in place with the country that issued the permit and an exchange is possible.

Exchanging Your License

Driving licenses issued in any country of the European Union or in countries party to the EEC Agreement, in accordance to the community laws will maintain their validity in Spain, under the same conditions where the license is issued, with the exception of the age limit required to drive which should be in line with the requirements of their Spanish equivalent.

However, you cannot drive in Spain with a license issued in another country that has been withdrawn or restricted. The holder that has acquired their license in one of these countries and that becomes a Spanish Resident will be subject to Spanish laws regarding the periods of validity of the license, the psychotechnical test, and the points system.

When the license is not subject to a determined validity period, the holder must renew the license once they have been resident in Spain for two years.

For more information you can consult www.dgt.es (General Traffic Office), and there you will find information in various languages.

If you have questions on this or any other legal or tax matter, please do not hesitate to contact me on anagay@linkpointlegal.com or on (+34) 96 626 0500.