Spain accepts a driving license agreement with the UK

On Tuesday March 14th 2023, the Spanish Cabinet eventually gave its approval to a deal that will allow Spain and the UK to exchange information about drivers’ licenses and traffic violations. The driving license agreement signals the end of the more than 10-month ordeal that prevented some UK residents with valid driving licenses from using the roadways in Spain.

From March 16th 2023, holders of a valid UK driver’s license living in Spain will be able to redeem a Spanish driver’s license without having to pass a theory or practical test.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday 14th March 2023 that UK license holders who could not or did not exchange their documents for Spanish ones before the deadline of December 2020 will now be allowed to do so starting on March 16 2023. After that date, they will have a window of six months during which they can exchange their licenses and resume driving lawfully with their legitimate UK license.

Here’s the official announcement.

With the new agreement, holders of a Spanish license can also exchange it for a UK license without having to take any extra exams.

The agreement finally ends the living nightmare the driving ban has for the victims of this situation, who find themselves unable to legally drive in Spain since 1 May 2022 when the Post-Brexit negotiations between the two countries dragged on and the last extension of the status finally expired.

Since then, the only option left to the victims of the situation, is to take a Spanish driving test. Cost and linguistic barriers made this a challenge for many.

Owners of UK licenses can begin driving legally on Thursday for a period of six months, after which the Embassy advises them to swap it for a Spanish license as soon as possible.

Since the prohibition went into effect last year, the UK embassy in Spain and its ambassador Hugh Elliott have been giving frequent updates to worried victims of the situation. The post-Brexit agreement had been agreed upon by the two sides, with the “two outstanding issues” resolved, according to statements made as early as November.