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DRIVING IN SPAIN

Driving in Spain: Can I take my theory and practical tests in English?

Can the 'examen práctico' and 'examen teórico' be done in English in Spain? How about if you don't speak any Spanish? Here's what English speakers who need to get a Spanish driving licence need to know.

Learning to drive in Spain.
Image: Andraz Lazic / Unsplash

Learning how to drive for the first time or even retaking your test, if you’ve been driving for a while, can be a daunting process, especially when it’s in a different country and in a different language.

Fortunately in Spain, there are many different driving schools offering lessons in English, but many of our readers want to know if you can take your driving test in English too.

Can I do my theory test in Spain in English?

Yes, you can sit your driving theory exam in Spain in either Spanish, English, Catalan, Galician, Euskera, French or German.

Many driving schools in Spain can help you prepare for your theoretical driving test in English, offering you English instructors and practice exams.

You’ll need to answer 30 multiple choice questions from a pool of 3,000 and answer 90 percent of them correctly to pass.

While the option of taking the DGT’s theory exam (examen teórico) in English is available, some English speakers in Spain have said that exam questions that have been translated into English aren’t always clear and can be confusing.

It’s true that written Spanish can be more long-winded than English, but if you’re getting your driving licence in Spain it probably means you’re settling here, so learning the right Spanish driving vocab, and Spanish in general is probably the right way to go.

Can I take my practical driving test in English?

While you are able to sit your theoretical test in English if you inform your driving school and the DGT beforehand, unfortunately, the practical part has to be done in Spanish. 

Even though your practical driving lessons can be in English, the actual practical test is always with a Spanish-speaking examiner sitting behind you. Therefore, you’ll need some knowledge of Spanish, least to understand the words and phrases you’ll need during your test.

READ ALSO: Spanish driving licence: the essential language to pass your practical test

Silvia Romero from Corsa International driving school in Barcelona says: “Currently the practical exam can only be done in Spanish since the Provincial Traffic Headquarters does not have this service. Only the common theory exam is translated into English”.

Is there a point in taking driving lessons in English if my final practical exam will be in Spanish?

This depends entirely on your Spanish level and the confidence you have in your Spanish ability, as well as your driving ability.

If you are taking driving lessons for the first time and have a very limited knowledge of Spanish, you may want to take your lessons in English, however, when you get a little more confident on the road, it might be a good idea to get a few lessons in Spanish so you can get to know the vocabulary.

If you can already drive, but are taking lessons so that you can get your Spanish license, you may want to take a few more lessons in Spanish so you can concentrate more on the language than the driving. 

Silvia Romero told us: “It would be advisable to already know some Spanish so that when doing the practical lessons, the student can be more aware of driving than the vocabulary, but it is not essential since the number of words that you have to know is quite small”.

Reader Neda Ahmadiani told us that she recently took her theoretical driving test in English. “The practical is in Spanish but doesn’t require fluency in Spanish. There were few words exchanged between me and the examiner,” she said. 

“In our practice classes, we use both languages – English and Spanish, so that the student understands what he/she has to do, and gets used to how the examiner will speak to them on the day of the exam,” added Romero.  

English-speaking driving schools in Spain

Barcelona 

Corsa International

Corsa International driving school has three different locations in the city. They offer both face-to-face and online practical and theoretical driving lessons in English. 

Driving School Barcelona

Driving School Barcelona is a specialised English-speaking driving school. They offer both classroom-based theoretical classes and private driving lessons.

Autoescuela Driving BCN

Autoescuela Driving BCN offers European-certified driving instructors who have experience driving and teaching in different countries. Director Paula and her team have a great level of English and teach both theoretical and practical driving lessons. 

Alicante Province

Autoescuela Eurovial 
Located in Benidorm, Autoescuela Eurovial has many years’ experience and multilingual teachers to help you obtain your license.

Autoescuela Jonia
Situated in the centre of Villajoyosa, Autoescuela offers a special English driving course, which includes English theory books, access to English theory tests and driving lessons taught in English. 

Málaga province

Urbano Autoescuelas
Urbano driving school has various locations across the Malaga province. They offer both theoretical and practical lessons in English at their schools in Fuengirola, Marbella and Mijas. 

Member comments

  1. Driving Licence Conundrum
    You pass your driving test in a EU country (not UK). You move to the UK and obtain a UK licence. Brexit happens, then you move to Spain.
    Why do I have to take a Spanish test when my original test was within the EU and is automatically recognised in Spain?

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For members

DRIVING IN SPAIN

Driving in rainy weather in Spain: Five reasons police can fine you

Rainy or stormy weather involves even more cautious driving than usual, but there are certain driving mishaps in wet weather than can result in stiff fines and the loss of points for drivers in Spain.

Driving in rainy weather in Spain: Five reasons police can fine you

It’s not always sunny and dry in Spain. In fact, some parts of the country get quite a lot of rainfall throughout the year. 

As a result, some drivers in Spain may forget that they need to drive differently when the roads are wet.

Running a red light, not respecting zebra crossings or speeding are of course immediate fines whatever the weather, but there are certain mistakes that apply when there’s rainy or stormy weather. For all the latest news and information for drivers in Spain, check out The Local’s Driving in Spain section.

Splashing pedestrians when speeding through a puddle

Let’s face it – there are some drivers who secretly enjoy soaking pedestrians as they drive past them, but they could be in for a nasty surprise as they face a €600 fine if caught.

Spain’s traffic laws specify that road users must behave in such a way that they do not hinder traffic circulation, inconvenience people or damage property. If the police believe that you’re doing any of the above by speeding through puddles and splashing passers-by, then you could receive a hefty fine.

Not respecting the safety distance

A safe distance must always be kept between cars, but on a rainy or foggy day, the distance doubles as braking can take longer and skidding and sliding can occur more easily. You should keep a minimum distance of 100 metres or four seconds between you and the car in front. New rules also came into force this year to say that when overtaking cyclists or motorbikes, drivers must keep a safe distance of at least 1.5 metres. 

Some drivers tend to be cautious on wet roads, slowing down more than usual, but this will annoy other drivers who are in a hurry, overtaking and getting too close, forgetting to respect the necessary distance. Not sticking to the right safety distance can cost you a fine of €200 and you could lose four points off your licence.

Having a broken or damaged windshield wiper

While you may not have much rain for a while in your part of Spain, it’s still important to make sure that the parts of a car that deal with the rain are in good working order, such as the windshield wipers.

If your windows are fogged up or there are too many raindrops on your windscreen for you to see out properly and your wipers aren’t working, you can be fined up to €200.

Not keeping your lights on

In adverse weather conditions, such as rain, lights are essential, even if it’s during the day. In rainy weather, you should have your dipped headlights on (luces de cruce). If there’s persistent and thick fog, you should have the fog lights on.  If you are caught without these on you can be fined €200.

Your tyres are in poor condition

Tyre condition is even more important in wet weather as your wheels need to have enough grip for driving, braking and turning when it’s slippery. The tyre thread cannot be worn down or be below 1.6mm or you could incur a fine of €200 for each wheel, totalling €800.

READ ALSO: The new driving rules and fines in force in Spain since March 2022

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