British expats affected by major driving licence changes introduced from today

Driving licence: DVLA instructs motorists on how to apply online

British motorists must comply with strict new driving licence rules changes which were introduced from today.

British expats living in Spain before March 16, 2023, must have switched their photocard to a Spanish one before laws are changed on September 15.

Drivers who have not already done this will no longer be able to use their UK licence if they live in the country.

The British Embassy in Spain has issued regular warnings about the changes in a bid to reach out to anyone who was not aware of the rules.

They posted on Facebook: “Now that the process for you to exchange your driving licence is in place, please don’t forget the deadline.

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“If you have a UK or Gibraltar licence, you can exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one without taking a practical or theory test.

“You should do this within six months from March 16 or within six months of the date you obtain your residence, whichever is later.

“After this your UK or Gibraltar driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Spain. However, you will be able to exchange it for a Spanish one.”

According to GOV.UK, Britons who have missed the deadline can still apply for a Spanish driving licence. However, motorists will not be able to use their vehicles until they have had their application approved.

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They said: “UK or Gibraltar licence holders who moved to Spain before March 16, 2023, and fail to make the exchange by September 15 will no longer be able to drive on their UK licence and will need to wait until their licence exchange has been completed to drive after that.

“If you move to Spain after March 16, 2023, you can drive using your valid UK or Gibraltar licence for six months from the date you acquire residency. We recommend you start the exchange process during this time.

“Exchange is possible after six months, but your UK licence will not be valid for driving in Spain while you await your exchange to be completed.”

The Government warns drivers cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) in place of a Spanish licence.

Motorists hoping to exchange their licence will need to present a ‘check code’ from the DVLA. They will also need to bring documentation to their appointment to help process their application.

However, GOV.UK admits motorists have reportedly faced issues with the process.

They added: “We know that some UK licence holders with expired UK driving licences (primarily those over 70) have been experiencing issues when trying to exchange their licence for a Spanish one.

“The Department of Transport has been working to resolve this issue with the Spanish Government and can confirm that Spain’s Traffic Authority (DGT) will be able to exchange expired UK licences, as long as they expired after the individual moved to Spain.”

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