Driving in Spain with a foreign driving license? This could cost you if stopped by the Guardia Civil.

Here’s why:

Since the 1st of January 2016 it is a legal requirement to change your EU/EEA license to a national license if you are a legal resident in Spain.

The reason for this is “…Because some countries, such as the UK, don’t require medical checkups until you turn 70 and because of some countries, such as Germany, issuing driving licences that never expire.

This law thus enables Spain to check the health conditions and the ability of foreign drivers in Spain.”

In addition to the minimum 200€ you face, if stopped with a EU/EEA license, there are more problems ahead for British driving license holders. After the 29th of March 2019, British drivers will face more problems due to the Brexit, as Britain leaves the European Economic Area, the licenses essentially become completely invalid in Spain. Even holidaymakers may need a special permit ‘to drive or hire a car throughout the EU. Said permit is known as an ‘IDP’ or International Driving Permit’.

This is quite problematic for those who wanted to keep hold of their national Licenses.

Fear not, however, as there is still time for British license holders as well as other nations remaining in the EU/EEA. This is done by visiting the local DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico) and exchanging your license. The only problem there is that many people are currently seeking appointments to do so and due to the influx of people looking to exchange their licenses, appointments are scarce. It is highly advisable to book as soon as possible as there is currently up to two months waiting time for appointments in most offices.

Torrevieja Translators can help you from start to finish and even attend these appointments on your behalf.

Do not hesitate to get in touch to find out if you are affected by these changes.


  • https://www.expatica.com/new/es/living/transportation/eu-regulations-drivers-license-473563/
  • http://aeaclub.org/conductores-comunitarios-renovar-carnet-conducir/
  • https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/522-uk-driving-licences-may-lose-validity-after-brexit.html
  • https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/driving-in-the-eu-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/driving-in-the-eu-if-theres-no-brexit-deal