British drivers in Spain blame Brexit for licence delay chaos

Martin Lewis issues warning for driving licence scams

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The British authorities are still locked in negotiations with Spanish officials to clarify the recognition of UK-issued driving licences. Since May, Britons living in Spain have been banned from using their UK driving licences on Spanish roads, much to the dismay of expats.

The “Brits in Spain” Facebook page is continually updating drivers in the UK about the developments in the negotiations and if any breakthroughs have been made.

In a Facebook video posted earlier today, Hugh Elliott, the ambassador of the UK to Spain, explained what progress had been made with the driving licence situation.

Earlier this week, he met with a group set up to help advance the interests of those affected by the situation.

He said he wanted to “hear first hand” how much the inability to drive is really impacting those who have been affected.

He added: “Many of the stories they shared were quite harrowing, in particular, being reminded about the impact on people’s physical and mental health.

“I know that it’s hard to believe that we can understand the impact on your lives when we may not be personally affected, but I and my team do read all that you share with us on social media.

“We understand how important it is that this gets resolved as soon as possible.”

He said that he had shared some of the stories with his Spanish counterparts in the hope that this will bring those matters to a conclusion.

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Mr Elliott said one of the most frequent questions he received from British expats in Spain was: “Why the interim measures that would enable you to drive, once negotiations concluded, couldn’t be reinstated?”

He responded, saying: “Now as you know, that is not something which is within the UK Government’s gift.

“We have asked for them to be reinstated on several occasions, but this has not been granted by the Spanish Government.

“However, if it does look like there will be any significant delays to current progress, and we are making progress, I will ask again.

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“Although I can’t guarantee of course that the response will be different.”

He also commented on the difficulties some Britons have been having when trying to register for a driving test in Spain because of waiting lists.

The insurance costs are also having an impact, as British drivers would need to register as new drivers, thus forcing their insurance premiums up.

Most other European countries have now agreed on a post-Brexit deal, with Spain still not having a deal.

In addition, the embassy warned Brits in Spain to be careful about scams.

In a statement, it said: “In addition to this, we have been made aware of some attempts to scam UK licence holders, with fraudulent offers of attaining a Spanish licence in exchange for cash.

“Please be alert to these scams and report any suspicious, unsolicited offers to the local authorities.”

One commenter, Sergio Cano Orihuela, said: “This is appalling, this is really affecting my mental health, you have no idea how frustrated I am after these updates (even if I do appreciate them as we only get them on your side).

“We do not seem any closer to reaching a final solution, we do not even get a further extension to the grace period that allowed us to drive.

“This is a complete disgrace, yet another consequence of Brexit – not a single person I have spoke to is able to name just one thing that has improved post-Brexit, and this is a clear example. What a disgrace.”

Steven Barnes, another frustrated driver, added: “What are the two issues and why are these taking so long?

“After all we are talking about driving licences of people that have passed a test, not nuclear submarines.”

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