All valid EU Community and EEC driving licences can be used in Spain and can also be exchanged for a Spanish licence…

All valid EU (European Union) Community and EEA (European Economic Area) driving licences are valid in Spain provided that the holder meets the minimum driving age in Spain.

EU licences can only be renewed in the holder’s country of residence. In addition, the licence terms of their country of residence will apply. This means that if a driver with a licence from an EU or EEA country other than Spain is resident in Spain, they will have to renew their licence every ten years if they are under the age of 65, and every five years if they are over the age of 65. Renewing an EU/EEA licence in Spain effectively converts it into a Spanish EU licence. Several EU countries issue licences that are valid for life, but in Spain, these will only be valid for five or ten years.  Those who do not renew their licences may be fined. The licence must be renewed within two years of the first day of the driver’s official residency in Spain.

As of January 2015, those who become Spanish residents are required to exchange their license for a Spanish one. The new law enables Spain to check the health conditions and ability of foreign drivers in Spain.

Note: The EEA includes all European Union countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

All Spanish licence conditions apply to the EU licence being used by a foreign resident in Spain. These conditions include:

  • the period of validity of the licence
  • requirement for medical checks
  • payment of taxes
  • penalties and restrictions, including suspension, withdrawal and cancellation of the licence

If a driving infraction occurs, Spanish authorities can require the holder of a licence from an EU country to convert their licence into a Spanish licence so that points can be removed.

Foreign drivers from within the EU still need to register with the traffic authorities within six months of moving to Spain. Details must be registered with the Central Register of Drivers and Minor Offenders (Registro Central de Conductores e Infractores) of the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) of their place of residence.

Once registered, applicants will need to undergo a medical examination at an Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) to show mental and physical fitness. The standards that apply to Spanish drivers will also apply to them.

Licence Addresses

While it is completely legal to use the EU-issued licence until it expires, it is not possible to change the address on the EU licence to an address outside of the issuing country. It is generally accepted within the rules that the address on the licence will be from the issuing country and may not be the drivers’ actual residential address.

UK licence holders should note this statement from the DVLA:

Moving to another country
You don’t need to notify DVLA of a change of address when moving to live abroad.

Exchanging a EU or EEA licence for a Spanish licence

The holder of an EU or EEA driving licence may exchange it for an equivalent Spanish licence. Application must be made at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters of the applicant’s province of residence and an application form issued by the Provincial Traffic Headquarters must be completed.

Documents required:

  • Application form (in Spanish)
  • Proof of identity (passport original and copy)
  • Proof of residence (Certificate of Registration in the Central Aliens Register – the NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)
  • Valid driving licence to be exchanged (original and photocopy)
  • Two recent photographs (32 by 25 mm)
  • Declaration in writing stating that the applicant has not been banned or suspended from driving
  • Declaration in writing stating that the applicant does not hold another driving licence of the same class in another country

Note: To exchange a UK licence for a Spanish licence, a certificate of entitlement from the DVLA is needed. It can be obtained by calling the DVLA.

The licence issued will be credit card sized and include photo identification.

The driving licence will be sent by ordinary post.

The licence will need regular renewal. A standard Spanish driving licence for a private car or bike is valid for ten years when the holder is under 65 years of age, and will need renewing every five years from the age of 65.