Your Driver's Licence and Brexit

Emma Swain from Motorworld Las Chafiras

At the time of going to press a no deal Brexit cannot be ruled out. This of course affects people living in the UK and abroad, so, in this issue, we are going to cover the legal obligations as they stand regarding Drivers Licences here in Spain.

Once you become a resident in Spain you have 2 years in which to voluntarily exchange your Licence for a Spanish one. Our recommendation is always to do this as soon as is practical. With Brexit end day being the 31/12/20 it is imperative that those people who wish to, or are obliged to by Law to, exchange their Licences do so as swiftly as possible and not leave it to the last minute.

So, what should you do?
Holders of Green Residencia Certificates (Certificado de Registro de Cuidadano de la Union)

If you have held this type of Residencia for less than 2 years an exchange can be done voluntarily without the need for a medical. However, if you are nearing the expiry of your Licence, or approaching the age of 70, a medical is recommended as this will mean that your new Licence issued by DGT will be valid for a longer period of time.

If you have held a Green Residency Certificate for more than 2 years (the A4 paper or small credit card-sized one) a medical will always be necessary regardless of your age or the length of time left on your Licence. Medicals are always carried out at special centres called Centros de Reconocimiento Medicos and there are many dotted around the island. They test your sight, hearing and co-ordination.

Holders of the New TIE Card

If you have exchanged your old Residencia for a TIE (or obtained the TIE as a first-time applicant) a medical is required or a Certificado de Residencias Legales issued by the National Police, the latter not being recommended by us as it will likely take longer than getting a medical! If you have applied, but do not yet have the card, an exchange can be done with the Resguardo and a Certificado de Empadronmiento.

If you are not yet Resident but have an NIE certificate with no expiry date, a current Certificado de Empadronmiento (which shows that you have lived in Spain for at least 6 months) and a current passport you can still do an exchange at time of writing.

After 31/12/20 a UK Driver's Licence will not be valid in Spain, unless an agreement is reached between the UK and Spain. This could mean that anyone wishing to exchange their Licence after 31st December may have to sit a Spanish Driving Test (both theory and practical), which, due to language problems may not be possible - or in any event will not be easy and of course will be far costlier. Any non-resident will however be able to drive in Spain with an International Licence.

Please remember that after 31/12/20 British citizens will no longer be 'European' and, in Spain (unless and until any agreement is reached) anyone not holding a Green Residencia or TIE will come under the same legislation as for other Non-European citizens (e.g. those from China, Venezuela etc.).

We at Motorworld will always be happy to help with exchanges or to answer any questions you may have.