The Validity of your EU Driving Licence in Spain

Ensure you know the rules about the validity of your EU Driving Licence in Spain

An update to the EU directive, 2012/126/EU came into force on January 19th 2013,and then again on January 19th 2015. They enforced changes to the validity of your EU driving licence in Spain.

These changes in the traffic laws mean that anyone who has been resident in Spain for two years, and holds an EU driving licence, must have a Spanish medical examination*. We are checking with local authorities to clarify this.

The EU law is intended to “harmonise” licensing throughout Europe so that drivers from countries with permanently valid licences (e.g. France/Germany), or licences that are valid for over 15 years, will have to comply with the same rules as residents of the countries in which they live.

If accurate, non native drivers, in Spain, will have to take a medical test: every ten years if under 65, or every 5 years if over 65, like their Spanish counterparts. Failure to comply may result in a €200 fine.

*The medical tests are taken in specific centres known as centros de reconocimiento, and are also available in some medical centres, and comprise a manual dexterity test (a hand-eye coordination test) and an eye test. Providing the test is passed, Tráfico will register the licence holder in the Spanish drivers’ census: from that moment, drivers will have to renew their licences as the Spanish currently do; they will also be subject to Spain’s penalty points system.

It appears that EU drivers will be able to keep their EU licences, since the change relates specifically to medicals and the penalty system. Because drivers will be registered without a new computer-generated Spanish driving licence being issued, those attending the medical will therefore need to take a photograph for Trafico’s records.

Remember that you also have the option of not just taking the medical, but of changing your licence once and for all to a Spanish licence. For further details, contact your local DGT office or consult their website here.

EU driving licence in Spain

Our understanding is that the UK European Licence/ picture card , as per this image is valid until the expiry date that is displayed on the card.

The rules are constantly changing and we often hear of expats receiving fines for not holding valid driving licences.

Please be advised that it is illegal to renew your EU licence in Spain once you have become resident in Spain

A WORD OF ADVICE: If you are planning to stay in Spain for an indefinite period then you really should be applying for a Spanish driving licence. It is a very simple process and is easier to do BEFORE your current EU licence expires.

If you are moving to Malaga, we recommend you speak to:

Cristina Navas

Tlf. 952 36 01 97/ 610 72 62 06