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November 2005 Update Page.

Foreign EU Driving Licences in Spain.  The latest.

There has been a lot of conflicting news about using a foreign EU driving licence in Spain.  Since the case heard in the European Court of Justice in September 2004, where Spain was ordered to obey the EU Directive on this matter, all foreign residents living in Spain are able to use their original driving licences subject to the following, and this changes the advice in my book, Second Edition.  The following is issued because two months ago, as I was advised locally, the law was that licences were to be registered at Trafico and in fact it is/was a good idea for notification of medical and expiry dates.  One reader in the Gran Canarias in September reported that he was fined 450 for not having done this, but now, we have readers reporting that when they went to Trafico there, they were told that it is now not necessary, and this has been supported by the British Consul there.  I have mailed the Chief of Trafico in Andalucia for his advice and will report back when he has replied, but the following appears to be the Law now: -

  1. A foreign EU resident is someone who lives more than 6 months or 183 days a year in Spain and Spain is therefore their official place of residence.

  2. They have a foreign EU driving licence here in Spain, not a Spanish one, and this is legal to use subject to the items below.

  3. They do not have an official address in their country of origin.  The law states that you may only have a new driving licence issued in your main country of residence.  New in this case means new after the driving test or a replacement for any reason as stated below.

  4. Ex-UK residents have a UK driving licence issued since 1990, and the credit card licence issued from 1997.  All other countries may use the licence is similar to the Spanish licence where language is not necessary s they are laid out the same as the Spanish licences, i.e. the flexible card or the current credit car types without  translation.  Licences issued before 1990 for UK licences or where other licences are not similar to the Spanish licences and hence not able to be easily understood by the Spanish authorities due to the different layout and languages, must have an official translation done.  In Spain this can be by the RACE or a gestor (officially registered business advisor), and in the country of origin, by the local Spanish Embassy there.  An alternative is to use an International Driving Licence (IDL) issued by the authority in the original country of the holder.  The IDLs normally last one year.

  5. However the motoring laws of Spain must be obeyed by the holder of a foreign EU driving licence while resident in Spain.  The one that is important is that all drivers must have periodical medicals (see my book for more details, page 87, Second Edition) from the date of passing the driving test.

  6. In the event of the driver taking a medical, the Spanish driving licence is renewed, however, the Spanish authority, Trafico, cannot renew a foreign licence and as the driver has officially moved to Spain, the authority in the country of origin cannot renew or issue a new licence with a foreign address on it.  It is also an offence to have more than one driving licence document unless one is an International Driving Licence, and then both licences must be carried simultaneously.   Only by issuing a Spanish licence can the holder continue to legally drive in Spain after the date for the compulsory medicals has passed.   This is not a problem because the Spanish licence can be used anywhere in the EU.

  7. If a foreign EU driving licence is lost or stolen, it can only be replaced by the issuing authority, e.g. for the UK, the DVLA, Swansea.  But if the holder now lives in Spain , this cannot be done, as the issuing authority cannot put a foreign , e.g. Spanish, address  on the replacement licence.

  8. In the case of a lost or stolen UK licence, a certificate can be obtained from the DVLA, Swansea, stating that you held a UK licence with the qualified classes. This is described on page 103 in my book (Second Edition).  Using this, the holder of the lost or stolen licence may be able to apply for a Spanish licence.  The certificate issued for this action is Form D537.  The procedure can be done by phone as in paragraph 10 below.

  9. However, if the driving test was not taken in the UK, or a country that has no reciprocal arrangement with Spain in this respect, Trafico will reject the issuing of the replacement Spanish licence.  This also applies where a foreign original licence is offered for exchange at Trafico. This is explained in my book (Second Edition) in more detail on page 84.  The place and date of the holder's driving test is shown on the licence.

  10. How to apply by phone for a Form D757.    The DVLA phone number is (0044) 870 240 0009.  The service is available Monday to Friday (except Bank holidays) 08H00 to 20H30, and on Saturdays 08H00 to 17H30.  These are UK times so do not forget we are an hour in front.  The driver must phone and he/she will need the full personal details or driver number on the licence.  (Keep a photocopy).  You can pay by credit card, namely Maestro, Visa MasterCard and Eurocard.  Have the address that the certificate must be sent to ready.

As soon as I have a reply from Trafico, Malaga, I will advise on this page. 13 November 2005.




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