Your license issued from a country other than Spain is valid for a short while, after which you might be able to exchange it…

Licence holders 18 years of age and older, with a valid licence from anywhere other than the EEA countries may legally drive in Spain for up to six months after first acquiring Spanish residency.

During that period it is essential that an official translation or an International Drivers Permit (IDP) accompany any foreign licence that is not in Spanish.

After six months the foreign licence is no longer valid. Exchange agreements exist between Spain and some countries which allow the licence holder to exchange their licence for an equivalent Spanish one. Spain has a special licence exchange agreement with Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and Andorra.

Licences issued in the following countries may also be exchanged by foreigners legally resident in Spain: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Macedonia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Paraguay, Peru, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Any person with a licence from any other country will need to take the full Spanish driving test.

Note: the list of countries sharing exchange agreements does change. It is recommended to confirm with the relevant nation’s Consulate in Spain if an exchange agreement exists.

Exchanging a non-EU licence for a Spanish licence

Application must be made at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico).

Necessary documentation:

  • Completed application form
  • Photocopy (and original) of a Spanish Residence Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia) and a copy of the passport along with the NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) as proof of address in Spain
  • Certificate of mental and physical fitness issued by the Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) of the province of residence of the applicant
  • Two recent photographs (32 x 26 mm)
  • Declaration in writing that there is no legal process pending nor licence suspension that forbids the right to drive
  • Declaration in writing that no other equivalent licence from any other country is held
  • The licence being exchanged and a photocopy (It may be necessary to have an official Spanish translation of the licence).

The Provincial Traffic Headquarters may request verification from the country that issued the permit that it is real and valid.

Further information (in Spanish) is available from the Provincial Traffic Headquarters by telephone:

Not permitted to exchange a licence

Australia, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa are included in the list of countries where no agreement exists. Once the licence holder has legal residence in Spain they may drive for up to six months on their licence before taking a Spanish driving text.