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DRIVING IN SPAIN

How to get a moped or motorbike licence in Spain

Having a two-wheel drive can be handy is Spain's busy and narrow streets. But what's the process to get a licence for a motorbike or moped in Spain, how much will it cost you, what do the tests involve and in which cases do car drivers not need to get one?

How to get a moped or motorbike licence in Spain
If you have a B driving license, in most cases you can drive mopeds and motorcycles up to 125cc in Spain if it says so on your driving license. Photo: Pixabay.

If you’re living in Spain and fancy getting yourself a little moped to run errands or pop to the beach, you’re probably wondering what you need to do to get the right licence and onto the road.

What if you already drive a car and have a licence? Do you need to start from scratch, jump through all the administrative hoops and tick all the bureaucratic boxes?

Fortunately not. If you’re already an experienced driver, you’ll be relieved to learn that you won’t be required to take classes or theory and practical tests along with the eager 15-year-old Spaniards desperate for their first taste of the road.

Article 5.7 of Spain’s Reglamento General de Conductores states that most people who have a valid B car licence and more than three years’ experience on the road can drive AM and A1 motorcycles (more on the different types below) and don’t need to apply for licences.

Put simply, this means if you have a B driving licence, in most cases you can drive mopeds and motorcycles up to 125cc if it says so on your driving licence.

However, if you don’t have any kind of licence and want a moped or motorcycle, you’ll need to understand how the system works in Spain and their requirements.

There are several types of licences for mopeds and motorcycles in Spain. Each gives you different rights on the road, have different costs, and entail different exams.

1. AM Licence 

The AM licence is the most basic type you can get in Spain and the one you’d need to drive the kind of small mopeds you see zipping around in Spanish cities and towns. It allows you to drive mopeds up to 50cc, regardless of whether they are two or three wheelers, or even light quad bikes. The minimum age to qualify for an AM license is 15 years old and, unlike in the past, there is no age limit on the passengers you can take on the back.

Tests

In order to get the AM, you must pass:

  • A psychometric test (including motor skills and eyesight)
  • A theory exam – 20 questions, of which you must get 18 correct.
  • A practical exam on a closed circuit that includes basic tests of control and spacial awareness. 

Costs

You must pay €30 to the Dirección General de Tráfico (known as the DGT, like the Spanish equivalent of the DMV in the United States and DVLA in the UK) for the theory exam and €92.20 for the practical, plus fees and any lessons you need. All in all, getting the AM licence should cost at least €200 as long as you pass both tests first time.

2. A1 Licence

The A1 motorcycle licence allows you to drive motorcycles (with sidecars) up to a maximum of 125cc. The A1 permit also allows you to drive motor tricycles, two- and three-wheeled mopeds, and light quad bikes and vehicles for people with reduced mobility. You can also take 125cc motorbikes on Spanish motorways, which may be convenient for you.

As we said above, if you have already have a B licence you are likely able to drive A1 motorbikes, although you may want to get some practice lessons before hitting the road. If you don’t, you must be at least 16 years old and will also have to pass a series of tests.

Tests

In order to get the A1, you must pass:

  • A psychometric test.
  • A general theory exam (the same for as a car driving licence)
  • Another specific theory motorcycle exam with 30 questions of which you must answer 27 correctly.
  • A practical exam on a closed circuit.
  • Another practical exam on the open road in traffic.

Note that for the A1 licence, the exams are both longer and more complicated than the AM. If you pass the first part of the practical exam (on the closed circuit) but fail the traffic section, you will have to redo both parts. You are allowed to redo the exam twice, but will have to pay again for the third attempt.

Costs

As with the AM licence, you must pay €30 for the theory exam, plus €90.20 in fees to the DGT. If you pass everything first time, with around ten classes plus the exams you should be able to get the A1 license for around €500.

3. A2 licence

If you want to ride a motorcycle that is more powerful than the 125cc limit set by the A1 motorcycle licence, you will want the A2 licence. You must be 18 to qualify for the A2, and can ride motorcycles (including a sidecar) with a maximum power of 47.2 horsepower, which is around 700cc. 

To get the A2 licence, the process is the same as with the A1. It is worth noting however, that even if you have a B driving licence driver’s you must still do the specific theory exam, the closed circuit practical and the traffic section of the practical exam. You may be able to skip the general theory part of the exam, depending on your licence.

Tests

  • General theory exam (You will not need to do this if you already hold a B or A1 licence).
  • Specific motorcycle theory exam (If you already have an A1 licence you will not have to take this exam, but if you only have a B licence you will).
  • Practical on a closed circuit, including an exercise with the engine off, a low-speed test and a high-speed test. (If you were issued an A1 licence more than two years before the date of the test you will be exempt).
  • Practical exam on the open road in traffic. 

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BREXIT

CONFIRMED: Deal on UK licences in Spain agreed but still no exchange date

The UK Ambassador to Spain has confirmed that “two outstanding issues” delaying negotiations have now been resolved, although he didn't confirm how many “weeks” it will be before in-limbo UK licence holders can exchange and get back on the road.

CONFIRMED: Deal on UK licences in Spain agreed but still no exchange date

UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott on Friday November 18th took to the embassy’s social media channels to announce some promising news that will give hope at the very least to the thousands of UK licence holders who haven’t been able to drive in Spain since May 1st.

“I can tell you today that we have now made a very significant step forward,” Elliott began.

“You will recall that we have been in discussions with the Spanish for some weeks over two outstanding, complex issues and I’m pleased to tell you that we have now reached an agreement on those two points.”

The British Embassy has never explicitly explained the reasons why negotiations have gone on for over two years without much progress, with the only hint being that Spain asked for the provision of UK licence holders’ data to be part of the deal, something the UK did not want to agree to.

“So we will now take forward the remaining steps including legal checks, securing ministerial approval on both sides, which for Spain is by the Consejo de Ministros (the Spanish Cabinet), and the necessary treaty processes and formal exchanges,” Elliott added. 

“What I can’t tell you today is exactly how many weeks those final steps will take. 

“But I can tell you the process is already underway and once those legal and political approvals are done, confirmation will be published in the BOE, or state bulletin.”

Some Spanish laws have to receive approval from the Spanish Parliament and the Senate before they can come into force, extra legislative steps that can add months to the process. 

The fact that Elliott has said that this post-Brexit agreement on the exchange of UK licences in Spain will go from the Spanish Cabinet straight to the BOE is positive, although the “weeks” the ambassador mentions could end up adding up to a couple of months in a country known for its slow bureaucracy.

However, all the British drivers residing in Spain – as well as Spaniards and other foreign nationals who have a UK licence – at least now have the peace of mind of knowing that they won’t have to sit their driving exam again in Spain.

“At that point (when the law comes into force) you will then have six months to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one and during that time you will be able to drive using your existing valid UK licence. 

“Now I know this has not been an easy time for those of you who have been unable to drive,” the ambassador acknowledged once more about the mobility issues affected drivers have faced for months, especially those in rural areas. 

“But I hope that this latest news gives you some reassurance and helps you consider your next steps. 

“We will keep you up to date on further developments and provide more information on the process for licence exchange itself,” Elliott concluded.

Spain and Italy remain the only EU countries that have not implemented laws which allow for the exchange of UK licences for Spanish or Italian ones by residents. British tourists in Spain are not affected by the UK driving licence debacle.

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