Warning: 200 Euro fine for not renewing your driving licence

spanish-driving-licence

I knew this would happen. It was merely a matter of time.

Sorry to tell you this: but you will need to renew your licence in order to obtain the required Spanish licence.

In addition, as collateral damage, one way or another you will have to pay some money.

Now, you have to decide what to pay:

  • Renewing the licence to obtain a Spanish one.
  • Fines plus cost to obtain a Spanish one.

The old saying “I did not know” is not a valid reason if they catch you.

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NEW REGULATIONS ON DRIVING LICENCES

Over the years I have heard lots of stories, in particular contradictory articles published in free newspapers for instance:

  • You need to renew your driving licence in Spain immediately after becoming a resident.
  • You don’t need to renew it.
  • Your European driving licence is valid all over Europe.
  • You don’t have to renew it until you are 70 years old.
  • Your licence is valid forever regardless of what the Spanish authorities say.

Well, forget them all. Things have changed. Now you should do it in accordance with the new regulations.

Authorities want to establish the Spanish standard for everybody living in Spain.

Spanish licences are renewed after 5 or 10 years (unless you have medical conditions), unlike other countries where the licence never expires or has to be renewed when turning 70 years old.

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DOES IT APPLY TO EVERYBODY?

Not quite. Let’s look into it.

You must renew your driving licence if you:

  • Are from the European Union.
  • Drive using a European Union driving licence.
  • Are a legal resident of Spain.
  • Obtained your Spanish residency on or before the 19th of January 2013
  • Obtained your Spanish residency any time after the 19th of January 2013 but only if you have been a resident for 2 years or more.

Also, if you (any or all four of the following):

  • Have a driving licence which never expires.
  • Have a driving licence with a validity of 15 years or more on date of issue for Group 1 (AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE).
  • Have a driving licence with a validity of 5 years or more on date of issue for Group 2 (BTP, C1, C1E, C, CE D1, D1E, D, DE).
  • Have a driving licence which has already expired or is close to its expiry date.

If your EU driving licence falls under the new regulations, the deadline to renew it is 1st January 2016. Click here to read more.

However, you are free to “exchange” your licence in order to obtain your Spanish licence as soon as you become a resident.

There’s no need to make calculations and play with the remaining time. You can go ahead anytime as soon as you’re a Spanish resident.

Tickets for failing to renew your licence of up to 200 Euros.

how to get a Spanish driving licence

(Your ticket may come through the Spanish Guardia Civil)

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WHEN DOES IT START?

The new law will come into effect on Monday 19th of January 2015. And it’s real. Just do a little research on the Internet (preferably reputed Spanish newspapers, they know what they’re talking about).

There are around 2 million people from the EU driving in Spain. Do you think there is, in addition, a money-oriented reason for this change? Either government fees, fines, or both of them?

Well, it does not matter. One way or another, you will have to make a decision on what to do; but it looks like, sooner or later, you will have no choice.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

This is one of the services I offer, but, honestly, I don’t mind if you do it through somebody else, or on your own.

I’m writing this article to inform you what’s around the corner.

Renewing your licence is not a big deal. You don’t have to take a theory or even a practical test. It is just a procedure.

The Spanish “Dirección General de Tráfico” (Traffic General Direction), also called “DGT”, has published several articles on their Website describing the new law and further requirements you’ll need to obtain the Spanish licence:

And here:

Do not forget to make an appointment online here.

You can obtain more information from these two trusted sources:

If you do not speak Spanish you may use Google Translate to get the idea.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

As mentioned in the beginning, this is something I had been expecting for years since I created Torrevieja Translation.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve read what I always recommend people for their own peace of mind: get everything as legal as possible in Spain.

My recommendation here is to do it, if you are a resident, not taking into account whether you have 6 months left, 20 days, or still 2 years ahead.

But it’s up to you, of course.

I have a feeling they are going to start cracking down and giving tickets as if they were delivering leaflets.

The new law is now a reality… Better to be safe than sorry!

David

Credit Image: Oscar, Oscar

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Comments

  1. Jess says

    HI David,

    AS you know,I myself do not drive here in Spain (you are all crazy) but I thought your article was excellent, informative and easy to understand.

    Regards Jess xxx

  2. James says

    Hi David,

    I changed my licence at age 70, have just renewed it through CERECO in Torrevieja, could not be easier.

    Regards James.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi James,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. You have been able to renew it through Cereco because you already hold a Spanish one.

      However, somebody had to go in person to Alicante when you changed the British licence to Spanish one. That’s the way it works.

      Once you get the Spanish one is a lot easier renewing the licence.

      Cheers,

      David

  3. Sue says

    This explains is brilliantly, had been told that you could keep your EU licence providing you had a Spanish medical certifucate! So, what happens in you don’t have residencia but spend the majority of your time in Spain?

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Sue,

      That sounds estrange, keeping the UE licence by providing a medical certificate…

      Unless you become a resident, I have never heard any other way to change a driving licence from another country to Spanish. Sorry!

      All the best,

      David

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Abraham,

      That’s a good question, as I’ve never done a Norwegian one. Do you have a Spanish residency?

      David

  4. Diane says

    Today I had an apt at Traffico & had previously been given a couple of forms to fill in to exchange my Licence from an English one. I had all my documents (originals & photocopies & 2 recent photographs. ) I did the medical & paid my €52. In Traffico they placed my 2 completed forms in the bin & gave me a new one. They didn’t look at my documents except my residencia & Licence
    , which they gave me back. . They stamped the new form & gave me a copy, they did not take any fee. And said that’s it. I am completely baffled now. The form is titled Solicitud Renovacion de Permiso de Conduccion Comunitario. And my English Licence expires in May this year. What should I do next?

    • Jan-Albert says

      Hi Diana,

      My experience: At the DGT, you give them all filled in forms + medical exams and a copy of your license. The reason that they don’t even look at the papers is that they will have to confirm with the (British?) authorities that your license is indeed valid. This process takes about a month for British licences. Once validated, they will send you a letter which says to come to DGT again to finalize the process (think you have to take give them your original license at this point). There they will give you a temporary license, valid for a month (just a piece of paper actually) and they will send the Spanish license to your home, which takes about 2 weeks after finalization.,

      Hopes this helps a bit.

      • David Ruiz says

        Hi Jan,

        Thanks a lot for your contribution. At the Alicante office, that is one of the possibilities. Actually, it’s been that way until they introduced possibility #2 a few months ago:

        You can deliver all the originals straight away and they will give you a Spanish temporary driving licence while they validate everything with your country.

        Once your country’s driving licence office confirms everything is ok, the Spanish DGT sends you the final Spanish licence :-)

        All the best,

        David

  5. russell says

    So let me get this right the plastic european license is no good here. Its only good if I dont stay here longer than 90days. If I dont how do I prove I have been out the country. No one stamps passports anymore. The police won’t beleve a download for an airticket. So what do you advise.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Russell,

      It all depends on whether you live in Spain permanently or not, and weather you got your Spanish residency or not. No reason to apply for the licence otherwise.

      How are they going to be able to find out you’ve been in and out? That’s a good question :-)

      By the way, by 90 days you mean the time you have to get your residency, right?

      Regards,

      David

  6. Morgan says

    I travel between my house in the UK and my house in Spain and don´t have full residencia but I do have an NIE. Do this mean that I have to change my licence aswell?

    Thanks
    Andie

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Andie,

      One of the main requirements to get a Spanish licence is to be a legal resident in Spain (Spanish residencia). And becoming resident in Spain is personal decision, usually based on how much time you spend in Spain a year.

      If you are going back and forth I do not see it’s necessary.

      I hope that helps 😉

      David

  7. John C says

    Thanks for the article, very informative. Could you advise as to whether the UK licence has to be relinquished while the process of tranferring to a Spanish licence is taking place. I am very keen to get the licence thing sorted out, but the issue for me is that I travel quite a bit and car hire is essential… without a licence, I am unable to hire cars and I don’t want to find myself without a licence for any period of time. When I looked previously to get it registered here in Spain, they told me in the Trafico office in Malaga that it would take 3 months….. I’d imagine few of us are happy to hand over our licence for that sort of time. Any information greatly appreciated.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi John,

      I do not know how they do it in Málaga, but in Alicante you can start the process without giving your driving licence away. Now, once the validation is made with your country, then you get a temporary Spanish licence… no choice you can keep yours until the very last day.

      I hope it helps!

      David

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Peter,

      This new law is only for people who drive using EU licences (except Spanish licences, of course) under the conditions I described in my article above.

      In your case, you will have to renew your Spanish licence when it expires (date at the back of the licence). They will do the medical + renewal at the medical place. All in one.

      Thanks Peter,

      David

  8. says

    Hello David,

    Can i post your article on my social network and link to your site for it?

    I have members from whole world and it`s grows for each day so it will be good article for my members from Europe :)

    Regards
    Geir

  9. Benjijamin says

    Hi David

    Thanks for the information.

    We live here but both have UK licences and a UK plated car. We are not residents. Should we need to be worrying a little ??

    Many thanks :))

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Benjamin,

      In your case, since you do not have a Spanish residency, it does not apply to you :-)

      Thanks for the comment,

      David

  10. Val says

    Hello David,

    I need to change my driving license ASAP. Tell me, what kind of medical do I need? And how much does the new driving license cost?

    THANKYOU in advance.

  11. Mike says

    Checked this directly from the EU and their response was rather different:

    “EU: You will not be required to exchange it for a Spanish driving license as long as your licence has not lost its administrative validity”

    When I brought up the €200 they encouraged me to contact free legal service in case I receive such fine.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Mike,

      Exchanging the licence does not apply to everybody, as I described on my article. So the answer from the EU is right in that respect.

      In a similar scenario, if I were a legal resident in the United Kingdom I would ask the British authorities (DVLA in particular), not the European Union. But it’s only my opinion, just what I would do.

      Thanks for your contribution,

      David

  12. ron howells says

    hi, a question, i just received a denuncia from traffico but there is no fine mentioned?? there is a box asking if it was a different driver…strange. also, i have sinceJanuary 4 times for speeding in La Cala ( i didnt know/see the camera..) just a few kilometres over but…anyway that was in the other car,.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Ron,

      The denuncia should have a phone number. Give them a ring. Otherwise, I would go to your nearest Trafico office to find out.

      I hope this helps,

      David

  13. Eve says

    Hola David!

    Thanks a lot for the info. Very useful

    I’m curious about the process for Canadians? I’ve read that you have to get a Spanish driving license after 6 months in the country (if you are a resident). I’ve also read that as Canadians, we can’t exchange our driving license but have to go through all the initial process (exam, driving lessons, etc.). Do you have more info?
    Also, do they keep your original driving license? My driving license is also my health card. I’d like to keep it and not surrender it for the Spanish driving license.

    Thanks a lot!
    Eve

  14. Simon says

    Hi David,

    Many thanks for a very informative article.

    I’m trying to work out whether I need to exchange my UK licence based on the ‘expiry’ rules. Which date do I look at? The one on the front (2023 – so no need to exchange?) or the ones on the back (2041 – so I should exchange)?

    Thanks!

    Simon

  15. Ethel says

    Your link for arranging an appointment does not work…… El recurso al que intenta acceder no existe.
    Disculpen las molestias

    • David Ruiz says

      Fixed! Thanks a lot for letting me know.

      It’s kind of hard to keep all the links up to date on a site, but I always appreciate this sort of suggestions :-)

      All the best

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