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Driving in Spain

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European Union citizens can drive in Spain with their national driver's license. But other foreigners have to exchange their driver's license for a Spanish driver's license. Find out how to proceed. 

If you are a citizen of the EU-EEA, your can freely drive in Spain with your national driver's license. You can, if you wish, exchange your national license for a Spanish license but this is not mandatory. All you need to do is provide the Provincial Traffic Office with a valid ID documents such as your passport, proof of residence in Spain, your NIE, your original driver's license, two recent passport size identity photographs and a statement that certifies that you have not been deprived of your rights to drive in your home country. You will then receive your Spanish license by post mail, renewable every 10 years up to its 45th year of issue, every 5 years beyond that period.  

Exchanging your driver's license

If your country has signed agreements with Spain, you may be able to exchange your national driver's license for a Spanish license (exchange possible for citizens from South Korea, Japan, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Morocco and Chile). All you need to do is provide the Provincial Traffic Office with your passport, proof of residence in Spain, your resident card, your NIE, your original driver's license, two recent passport size identity photographs and a statement that certifies that you have not been deprived of your rights to drive in your home country. You may be required to provide a certificate stating that you do not hold another driver's license issued in another country and a an official statement from your national consulate or embassy proving that your national driver's license is authentic and valid. You will then receive your Spanish license by post mail, renewable every 10 years up to its 45th year of issue, every 5 years beyond that period.  

Obtain a Spanish driver's license

If you are a citizen from outside the EU-EEA and in case you can not exchange your national driver's license against a Spanish driver's license, you are allowed to drive with your national license up to six months beyond the issuance date of your residence permit. After 6 months, you will have to take driving tests in Spain. 

For more information about driver's license exchange, visit the embassy or consulate of your country in Spain. 

If you do not yet have a driver's licence, regardless of your natioanlity, you can also apply for a driver's licence in Spain. Relating formalities are quite simple. Moreover, there is no minimum number of hours for learning the highway code and driving lessons. Driving tests are also held in a rather short lapse of time given the number of examiners available. In case you do not succeed on your first attempt, you can also take the exam after 8 days.

Note that you have to register with a driving school before proceeding. The highway code test consists of 30 questions where you have to score at least 27 marks. This test, which should last half an hour, is available in several languages. Once you have passed this test, you can then proceed with your driving lessons with a driving instructor. These should cost around 500 euros.

Feel free to seek more information from your home country's embassy and consulate in Spain.

Highway code and road safety

Speed is limited at 120 km/h on the highway.

Your vehicle must compulsorily be equipped with safety accessories such as a safety triangle, a reflective vest, spare bulbs, and a first aid kit.

A maximum of 0.5 g of alcohol per liter of blood is permitted. In the case of young drivers whose driver's licenses have been issued less than two years before, a maximum of 0.3 g is allowed, that is the equivalent of a single glass.

Finally, the use of GPS is tolerated. However, the use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited, except if you have a hands-free kit. 

  Useful links: 

Dirección General de Tráfico - Traffic Branch www.dgt.es

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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
3 Comments
lottienevin
lottienevin
2 months ago

I'm pretty sure that once you get your Residencia card, (which you need if you are going to be living here full time) you must change your driving licence to a Spanish one within 2 years of being a resident. Since the Referendum in the UK last year, it is now necessary to have a medical when applying for a Spanish driving licence.

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Johncar
Johncar
2 months ago

Lottie. Firstly Resdencia does not exist (abolished April 2007) for EU citizens. They now have to register on the EU Citizens Register and get a green card or A7 piece of green paper. One does not need to change their DL if they are a citizens of the EU i.e. as explained in the article. However, the article fails so show all the countries which can exchange their DL. My wife exchanged her Philippines D/L, and I believe these countries, in addition to those listed, can do so too:- Alergia, Bolivia, Brazil, Croatia, Dominical Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Macedonia, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela

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Johncar
Johncar
last year

You can also exchange a Philippines DL.

Reply

See also

Citizens of European Union countries do not require a visa to travel to Spain. A valid identity card or passport is enough. What about other nationalities?
Barcelona, Catalonia's economic center, attracts not only young professionals but also many foreign companies and investors looking for new opportunities.
Madrid's labor market has been facing a shortage of qualified and skilled workforce since some time. Hence, it is open to young foreign professionals.
Malaga has been one of the most affected Spanish cities by the global economic crisis. Hence its high unemployment rate during recent years.
Sevilla's economy is recovering gradually after having been seriously affected by the global economic crisis. Unemployment rate has also been in decline.

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