British motorists given urgent driving licence warning before changes next week

A driving licence

British expats are being urged to act before the September 15 deadline

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 09/09/2023

- 12:00

Drivers are recommended to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one

Motorists have been handed an important reminder of upcoming driving licence changes set to affect thousands of Britons.

From September 15, British expats in Spain may need to ditch their UK-issued driving licences for a Spanish one.

This has been done to protect Britons living in Spain and to ensure they do not need to take a Spanish language driving test.

Once the deadline passes, drivers will no longer have the opportunity to switch out their licences and may need to take another driving test to stay on the roads.

A Spanish flag

Some drivers may have to take a Spanish driving test


This was first agreed between UK and Spanish authorities in March after long negotiations which aimed to ease post-Brexit changes.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport spoke to GB News about the rules drivers need to follow and what they can do before the deadline passes.

They said: "We have been supporting British citizens in Spain, and continue to support them, by ensuring they can move to their legally required Spanish licence without having to take an additional driving test."

The Department for Transport website states that this was a temporary measure and that drivers would need to take action before the deadline.

In the latest update to the Brits in Spain Facebook group, drivers were reminded of the deadline and what they should do if they haven’t acted yet.

It read: “Now that the process for you to exchange your driving licence is in place, please don’t forget the deadline.

“If you have a UK or Gibraltar licence, you can exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one without taking a practical or theory test.

“You should do this within six months from 16 March or within six months of the date you obtain your residence, whichever is later.

“After this, your UK or Gibraltar driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Spain. However, you will be able to exchange it for a Spanish one.”

The GOV.UK states that UK or Gibraltar licence holders who moved to Spain before March 16 and fail to exchange their licences by September 15 will no longer be able to drive on their UK licence.

If this were to occur, the licence holder “will need to wait until their licence exchange has been completed to drive after that”.

Anyone who moved to Spain after March 16 can use their licence for six months, but they are advised to exchange their licence in that time.


An International Driving Permit

Motorists do not need an IDP to drive in Spain


Motorists can exchange their licences after six months, but the UK permit will not be valid for driving in Spain while they wait for the exchange to be completed.

There have been some issues with British expats trying to exchange their expired driving licences, especially for those who are over the age of 70.

The Department for Transport has been working with Spanish authorities to resolve this and has confirmed that they will be able to exchange expired UK licences, provided they expired after they moved to Spain.

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