Driving licences in Spain


Email, July 8

Dear Sirs
Over my many years of dealing with motoring matters in Spain, there are a few recurring urban myths that the blogs are full of, aided and abetted by the notorious bar-room lawyers who seem to know everything and nothing.
One of these is regarding driving licences but after double checking, be assured that if you have a Spanish driving licence, you CAN drive a non-Spanish car, such as one registered in the UK. The provisos are that you must have permission from the owner, if it is not yours, and that you are insured to drive the car. As a reminder, in Spain it is the car that is insured, not the driver, whereas in the UK it is typically the other way around
Another common question surrounds the riding of motorbikes etc of less than 125 cc. Spanish licence holders are entitled to ride such vehicles without the need for a bike test. Again, having checked with Tráfico, holders of non-Spanish licences with category “B” on their licence, which is for cars, can also ride bikes of 125 cc or less in Spain.
Regarding Spanish driving licences, the law requires you to exchange a non-Spanish licence for a Spanish one within two years of obtaining residency, however, the policemen that stops you may not be aware of the timescales, so my advice is to change it as soon as you can, to save potential and unnecessary grief.

Happy motoring
Graham Shelton. (Retired author of CBN “Mediterranean Motoring”)


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