So, you will be living in Spain for an extended period and are planning on driving while you are there. Depending on whether you are getting your very first licence or are planning on using your current one, you need to be informed on driving licence regulations. Here are some guidelines to get your driver’s licence in Spain, quickly and easily.

Getting a Driver’s Licence in Spain

The Spanish driver’s licence has a reputation of being harder to pass than those in other EU countries, so get through these steps quickly so you have time to study!

Step 1: Registration

Have a look at the legal driving ages and permit types before you register. You can get details here depending on what type of vehicle you want to drive: English Driving School

For new drivers, your best bet is to go to a driving school as they take care of the registration process with the Jefatura (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico.) for you. Once you have registered, get your medical and vision test out of the way too.

Step 2: Theory Test

You may have classroom teaching or computer based teaching with videos and tutorials. The written test is supposed to be taken in Spanish but a few places offer it in English. You will get 30 multiple-choice questions – if you have studied well most of them will be very straightforward. For information on driving schools that offer English and multilingual teaching visit Auto Escuela Corsa. If you’re based in Madrid, visit Auto Escuela Gala and AE Stop n Drive in Barcelona.

Step 3: Practical Test

With Spain’s reputation for being challenging, it is important to have a good driving instructor. You can get lessons hourly or get a package deal if you want 5 or 10 lessons to ensure you pass the first time!

Driving School in Malaga

Driving school in Barcelona (theory and practical)

Driving school in Madrid (theory and practical)

Step 4: If you already have a driver’s licence, see if you can use it!

If you have a valid EU or EEC Driver’s Licence

For drivers who have a valid EU (European Union) Community or an EEA (European Economic Area) driving licence and meet the minimum driving age in Spain, the licence is considered to be valid. It is advisable to obtain an International Drivers Licence from your native country which includes translation into 8 languages and is valid for one year.

While many EU countries issue licences that have lifetime validity, in Spain licences are valid for 5 or 10 years. If you renew your EU/EEA licence in Spain, it automatically becomes a Spanish EU licence and licences must be renewed within the first 2 years after your residency begins in Spain.

Once you move to Spain, you need to register with the traffic authorities as a foreign driver from an EU/EEA country within 6 months. This is done with the local traffic authorities, the Central Register of Drivers and Minor Offenders of the Provincial Traffic Headquarters.

There is a new regulation that has been enforced as of January 2015, which requires new residents to exchange their licences for a Spanish one. This means that the following Spanish licence conditions apply:

  • Restrictions and penalties including withdrawal, suspension and cancellation of the licence
  • Validity period of the licence
  • Medical examination requirements

How to Exchange an EU/EEA Licence for a Spanish one

Spain has agreements with over 20 countries, allowing drivers to exchange a foreign driver’s licences for the equivalent Spanish one. For more information, check with your home country’s consulate in Spain or the Spanish Traffic Authority. You will need to fill out an application form that is issued by the Provincial Traffic Headquarters.

What you will need to exchange your driver’s licence in Spain:

  • Proof of identity (your original passport original as well as a copy)
  • Proof of your residence for 6 months (Certificate of Registration in the Central Aliens Register – the NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)
  • Application form (in Spanish)
  • Current valid driving licence to be exchanged (original as well as a photocopy)
  • Written declaration stating that you don’t have another driving licence of the same class in another country
  • Written declaration stating that you have not been suspended or banned from driving
  • Two recent passport size photographs (32 by 25 mm)
  • Medical fitness report (Authorised Drivers’ Check Centre)

Step 5: Congratulate yourself!

Driving in a new country can be stressful and getting all the logistics and paperwork sorted is quite a feat. So pat yourself on the back and enjoy your new driver’s licence in Spain!