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EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about getting an international driving permit in Spain

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about getting an international driving permit in Spain
You can now apply for your international driving permit online in Spain and more. Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay
If you're based in Spain and you're planning on travelling and driving in a country outside of the EU, you may need to get an international driving permit, a process which since August 2021 is possible to complete online. Here's where you'll need one and how to apply.

What’s the latest on international driving permits in Spain?

If you have a Spanish driving licence and plan on going on a trip, driving outside EU, you can now apply for the international driving permit (permiso internacional de conducir) online, instead of having to go in person. Here’s how to do it and what you will need.

According to Spain’s General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), since August 2021 you can request and pay for your international driving licence online with your digital certificate, electronic ID or [email protected] and can pick it up two days later at your local office, without an appointment.

Previously, you had to request your international permit in person and wait for an appointment to become available in order to do this. 

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Who needs an international driving licence and for which countries?

Your Spanish driving licence authorises you to drive within the European Union and the European Economic Area.

There are also other countries outside the EU, which will accept Spanish driving licences such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, El Salvador, the Philippines, Guatemala, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, the Ukraine and North Macedonia. 

For the rest of the countries, in theory you need to obtain an international permit if you want to drive in them. There are also countries 

However, it’s recommended that you ask the consulate or tourist office first if you’re planning on driving in these countries, just to make sure if you do need an international driving permit and if you have everything you need. 

Some countries that don’t have agreements with the EU may also set their own rules, such as Montenegro, where foreign holders of driving licences that are written in Latin script or a Latin-based alphabet (English, Spanish, French etc) do not require an international driving permit (IDP).

Can I still get an international driving permit issued in Spain if I have a foreign driving licence?

The DGT makes no mention of an option for non-EU/EEA driving licence holders to apply for an international driving permit issued in Spain.

Most non-EEA licence holders are allowed to drive in Spain for a maximum of six months before they need to get a Spanish licence (there are some third countries which have signed bilateral agreements with Spain), which indicates that the DGT cannot issue an international permit for a year when they don’t officially recognise the driver’s licence in the first place.

For UK licence holders, whether they are able to apply for an international driving permit from Spain may be dependant on how talks regarding the reciprocal recognition of Spanish and British licences post-Brexit evolve, with discussions now ongoing for around a year.

READ ALSO: Driving in Spain – Who can exchange their licence and who has to resit the exam?

Spanish authorities recently extended the validity of UK driving licences in Spain past the six-month mark until October 31st 2021, but in any case an international driving permit issued by Spain isn’t valid for driving in Spain, it’s meant for abroad.

Britons can find out more about the international driving permit requirements abroad for British licence holders on the UK government website.

“You do not need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK,” British authorities state.

“You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either: a paper driving licence OR a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.”

How do I apply online and how much does it cost?

Now you can apply online with your digital certificate, electronic DNI or your [email protected] through the Electronic Registry of the DGT here. You will need to fill out all your details on the form and pay the fee at the same time. Click on ‘Comprar’ to pay the fee online. It has a cost of €10,40.

You can collect your permit two days after making the request, without making a prior appointment.

What do I need to bring with me to collect it?

In order for your licence to be valid, when you go to collect it, you will need a current DGT-approved original photograph measuring 32 x 26 mm, in colour and with a plain background.

You will also need to bring a valid ID so that they can identify you. 

Is there another way of applying for the international driving permit in Spain that isn’t online?

Yes, it’s still possible to apply in person by handing all the documentation required at any  DGT headquarters or main office in your part of Spain.

First, you’ll need to request an appointment (cita previa) here or by calling 060.

You can also authorise another person to act on your behalf by designatiing a representative through the DGT’s Registry of powers of attorney .

Also, if you carry out the procedure in person, you can appear in person as long as you have a document signed by the person concerned where you authorise you to make the request, and where you express its free nature. To do this, download and fill  in the DGT authorisation form “Granting of representation” .

If the procedure is going to be carried out by another person on your behalf, at the time of requesting the prior appointment by calling 060, you must indicate the ID of the interested party and also that of the authorised person.

How long is the international driving permit valid for?

The international permit will be valid for one year, without the possibility of extending it. Once the year is up, if you still need your international licence, you will have to apply for a new one again.

If you are moving permanently to another country though, you will have to exchange or register your permit according to the rules of your new country.


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