Spain extends UK driving licence validity until December 31st

The new extension gives thousands of UK driving licence holders in Spain more time to legally drive in the country. Photo: Emmanuel Acua/gov.uk
The new extension gives thousands of UK driving licence holders in Spain more time to legally drive in the country. Photo: Emmanuel Acua/gov.uk
The British Embassy in Madrid announced on Monday that Spanish authorities have again extended the period of validity of UK driving licences in Spain a further two months until December 31st 2021. 

“The Spanish government has announced that valid UK licences will continue to be recognised for driving in Spain until December 31st 2021,” The UK Embassy headed by ambassador Hugh Elliott wrote in a Facebook post on Monday evening.

The extension means UK licence holders who reside in Spain can continue legally driving in Spain for an extra 92 days.

This is the second extension Spain has given British licence holders since Brexit meant their UK-issued documents became unrecognised by the common EU framework, the first extension being announced in late June and which was due to end on October 31st.

In a previous post, the British Embassy wrote that “if you are one of the UK Nationals who successfully registered their intent to exchange their licence by December 30th 2020, you will still be eligible to exchange it for a Spanish one until December 31st 2021 without having to take a practical test”.

READ ALSO: Q&A – How to pass Spain’s driving test and get a Spanish licence

That means that those who registered their intent to exchange also have an extra two months in which to complete the process and get round the hold-ups and other bureaucratic issues they’ve been experiencing with the DGT, all while still being able to drive.

“We know that some people who tried to register their intent have subsequently found out that they were unsuccessful in doing so,” the British Embassy added.

“If this is your situation and you are unclear as to why, you should contact the DGT directly to discuss further. https://www.dgt.es/es/contacto.shtml.”

This new extension gives thousands of other Brits in Spain who didn’t register their intent to exchange some extra time to drive in the country and sit a Spanish driving test, as from 2022 they will need to be Spanish licence holders to drive here (unless there’s a third extension).

The Spanish government's announcement of the extension until December 31st of UK driving licence validity, as well as other transitional measures such as reciprocal health assistance and access to universities for the next academic year.
The Spanish government’s announcement of the extension of UK driving licence validity until December 31st, as well as other transitional measures such as reciprocal health assistance and access to universities for the next academic year.

“We continue to negotiate with the Spanish government about the long-term arrangements for the UK driving licence exchange,” the UK Embassy added with regard to a potential deal that would mean UK licences remained valid in Spain post-Brexit. 

“We understand the uncertainty around this issue is unsettling.

“If you want to take action now, you could, if you wished, apply for a Spanish licence. This includes taking both a practical and theory test. 

“We are aware that there are currently waiting lists to get a test appointment in some areas.

If you moved to Spain after January 1st 2021, your British driving licence is valid for six months from the date of your TIE or until December 31st, whichever date is later.

This doesn’t apply to British tourists with UK licences visiting Spain who are for example renting a car during their holidays. The issues affect UK licence holders who are residents in Spain.

Unless Spain has a bilateral agreement with a third country for the recognition and exchange of licences, most non-EU driving licence holders have six months from their arrival in Spain to use their foreign licences.

After that, they have to sit theory and practical tests and get a Spanish licence from scratch.

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