Latest update on British driving licences in Spain

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It’s the hot topic of the Summer for the British community in Spain, when is Spain going to allow UK residents who initially failed to exchange their UK driving licences for a Spanish one a break so they can do so as soon as possible and get back on the roads.

A deal was due to have been struck before the end of last month, but was not and now, as we enter August, chances are the Spanish will leave it until September, however, progress does appear to have been made.

Today, the British Embassy issued this statement: As we move into August, Minister Karl McCartney, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (the UK Government Department leading on driving licence negotiations) provides a message of reassurance to let those of you who are affected by the ongoing negotiations know that the Department recognises your frustrations and the impact this is having on you, and that they remain committed to getting you back on the road as soon as possible. His full message is below.


A message from Minister Karl McCartney, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport.

“Working with the British Embassy in Spain and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Department for Transport has been negotiating with the Spanish Government regarding the exchange of UK driving licences.

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Our aim is to secure a deal that allows UK licence holders resident in Spain to exchange their licence for a Spanish one without the need for a practical test, so they can return to the roads as soon as possible.

The UK Government has engaged in these negotiations in good faith and ensured that Spanish drivers in the UK have, as always, encountered no limitations nor inconvenience in their ability to drive.

We have similar arrangements in place with 24 other EU Member States already, but negotiations with Spain have been made more complicated on account of Spain requiring additional elements which no one else has asked for in relation to driving licence exchange arrangements. Nonetheless, we are working hard to finalise negotiations with the Spanish Government.

We understand that some UK Nationals are currently unable to drive whilst we are negotiating with the Spanish.

To those affected, we would reiterate that we understand your frustration and we are aware of the severe impact on your everyday lives.

You remain in the ‘front of our minds’ for the Department for Transport’s negotiation team, and we want to have you back on the road as soon as possible.

The British Embassy in Spain will continue to keep you informed on the progress of negotiations.”

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