- Must all European Union driving licences be changed to Spanish Licences after the new regulation?
- Do you have to change your EU licence if you do not have Spanish residency?
- In the case that the new regulations apply to you, do you need a medical certificate?
I’ll answer these three questions and more in this article.
All right, you are in Spain to:
- Enjoy the sun.
- Have an easy life.
- Slow down.
- Live the dream that many thousands of people have now in your country.
There are new regulations coming for renewing your EU driving in Spain. Not a big deal.
Since I published the article on the new driving resolutions, I have read a lot of negative and catastrophic comments.
There’s no reason to panic, to worry or to fill Facebook Groups with complaints and aggression as if the Spanish government were going to take away all your belongings.
I understand that you have doubts. There’s always a small period of confusion when things like these are first introduced. Even for people like me who offer this type of service, there is a learning curve.
But, hey, we are in Spain, and we are laid-back people. Let’s not make a drama of something insignificant, ok? 😉
It’s just a new regulation that gets resolved with a little bit of money and some paperwork- if it applies to you.
Not the end of the world, is it?
You can ask me any questions any time by email or via my Facebook page. I’ll personally answer every single message I receive, and I will get in touch with the Tráfico office if I do not know the answer.
However, I will not reply to questions made using an aggressive and rude tone of voice, as has already happened (I received a disrespectful email against me… as if I were a government approving / disapproving new regulations).
In addition, I will not answer questions at all on Facebook groups. There is always someone who seems to stir up anger and nonsense on the comments.
I simply do not want to get into sterile and empty debates.
I’m here to help
EUROPEAN UNION LAWS
Some people are claiming that the EU laws are against the new Spanish regulation.
- Is that true?
- Do you think the Spanish authorities have been impulsive regarding such a big thing which affects several million people?
Well, firstly it seems that the Spanish General Direction of Traffic (Dirección General de Tráfico in Spanish, also called DGT, a similar entity as the British DVLA) has already informed European consular representatives about the new law:
So your nearest consular / embassy office in Spain should be able to explain everything clearly.
Secondly, if that is what you think, if you are sure that all this goes against the EU laws and is illegal, then I encourage you to prove it to everybody. Provide evidence, not simple words.
And send me please an email with all the facts so that I can write an article about it (which I promise I will do, but only if I think that your argument makes sense).
You may report it to the European Union authorities as well so that they can take legal action against all this.
If you are right, we should all hear some official announcements soon confirming your statements.
And I will publicly apologise for trusting the information that the Spanish authorities officially published on their Websites and even told me in person, as well as for any damage I may have caused.
Otherwise, I’m afraid you’ll have to play the game and get the Spanish licence sooner or later if you are a resident and meet with the rest of requirements.
(European Laws VS. Spanish Laws?)
RENEWING YOUR EU DRIVING LICENCE IN SPAIN: 3 CASE STUDIES
This might not be the last article clarifying questions around the new regulation.
To compile the following listI have been in direct contact with the Alicante DGT office.
All three fictitious characters I’m going to describe are from the European Union.
- Person 1 has been living in Spain since 2010, has Spanish residency and is 30 years old. His Group 1 licence (AM, A1, A2, A, B Y BE) expires when he turns 70.
- Person 2 moved to Spain in 2010, became a resident that same year, is 67 years old, and his Group 1 licence expires in 2018 and was issued on 2008.
- Person 3 has been living in Spain since 2005, has Spanish residency, is 71 years old, and changed his licence to a Spanish Licence in 2014. His Spanish licence expires in the year 2019.
Who must change their EU licence to Spanish according to the new regulation?
- Person 1 DOES have to renew it starting on 19/01/2015. Person 1 has been a resident in Spain for more than 2 years, is driving using an EU driving licence rather than a Spanish licence, and his licence expires in more than 15 years.
- Person 2 does NOT have to renew it yet. Person 2 has been a resident for more than 2 years but his Group1 driving licence does not expire in 15 years or more on date of issue. So, person 2 will have to renew it in Spain around 2018, although it could be done earlier or even right now should he wish to do so.
- Person 3 does NOT have to renew it at all. Person 3 has been a resident for more than 2 years, but he’s driving already with a Spanish licence. You cannot change your licence to a Spanish one if it’s already Spanish.
Only person 1 would have to renew the driving licence straight away based on the new regulation, as person 1 would meet all the requirements to go ahead.
I know there are more cases to cover. Send me an email please and let me know yours.
SOME COMMON MISUNDERSTANDINGS
I will try to clarify some of the worries or misconceptions I’ve heard, read or received during this last week.
- You do not have to renew your licence to obtain a Spanish one just because you have Spanish residency. There are other requirements (please take a look to the article I wrote last Sunday).
- You do not have to become a Spanish resident with the sole purpose of obtaining the Spanish driving licence if you just hold a NIE number and spend equal amounts of periods in and out of Spain. You can continue living a normal life and renew your licence in your country whenever it is due for renewal.
- You do not have to do anything at all if you already have your Spanish driving licence. The new regulation is for non-Spanish EU driving licences. Just renew your Spanish one on whatever date is on the back of the card.
- Norway is not part of the European Union, but belongs to the so-called “European Economic Space” alongside Iceland and Liechtenstein. All citizens from these three countries can obtain Spanish residency and Spanish driving licences as if they were from countries within the European Union.
- The Spanish DGT is the highest institution in Spain dealing with everything regarding driving overall, which depends on the Spanish Ministry of Interior. And, yes, the DGT is an authority above what your neighbours and friends say in relation to driving in Spain, as well as other contradictions you may find at non-profit organisations and friends’ clubs. Check out everything first at the Spanish DGT.
- You will need a medical certificate (as well as an up-to-date Padron and other requirements) if you rely on the new regulations (read the requirements on my previous article to know whether it would apply to you).
(Spanish “Dirección General de Tráfico” – DGT)
REMEMBER WHO’S GOT “THE FINAL WORD” IN SPAIN
To finish this article I’m going to give you a valuable tip that applies to not only your driving licence, but anything you do in Spain:
Get the final word from the public organisation, official institution or other place where you have to deliver your paperwork to
I’m telling you this not only because I’m a native Spaniard and speak the language, but because:
- I know my own culture very well.
- I’ve dealt with the Spanish system solving problems on many fronts since 2010.
Let me give you an example.
I live in Torrevieja and deliver my services in the Spanish South Costa Blanca, Murcia and Cartagena.
As you can imagine, my knowledge on this area is extensive, including:
- Public national offices
- Local administration
- Legal documentation
- Driving licence offices
- Unemployment offices
However, why should I know the way they do things in Madrid, Málaga, Barcelona or Valencia?
The new driving licence regulations are national. But Spain is a decentralised country in many official / legal aspects.
Take everything you read out there (including my own articles, of course) as a mere piece of information.
Obtain all the final requirements directly from the place you have to deliver any paperwork to. You will read this recommendation hundreds of times on my blog
ASK FIRST ALWAYS
You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve read confusing and misleading information on lots of websites.
It’s very important that you understand this basic non-written rule that applies to the entire Spanish territory:
Go in person to the place where you have to deliver your paperwork and ask first
This is best solution to all doubts and contradictions.
If you don’t speak Spanish, take an interpreter or a friend who does.
You might be dealing with national stuff, but each region in Spain may do things in their own way.
READY TO EXCHANGE YOUR EU/BRITISH DRIVING LICENCE IN SPAIN?
If you need to renew your EU driving licence to get a Spanish licence because the new regulations apply to you, it will be beneficial for you to do so sooner rather than later. And this is just my personal opinion.
First of all: you will be doing things in accordance with the law, thus avoiding fines or legal problems if you were involved in something serious, like a car accident, for example.
Second of all: you will be able to drive in Spain without worrying each time you see the Guardia Civil stopping people at roundabouts, or passing you on their motorcycles.
Do you have any other questions? Make a comment below or send me an email. It will be a pleasure to help you
NOTE: The form below is just to make public comments, not to contact me. If you wish to send me a private email do it here please
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