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I am moving to Spain; will I encounter a problem with my driving licence?

Spanish Driving License

You may have read in the papers, that following a mix-up over  post-Brexit driving licence regulations in Spain  (Whitehall sources blamed Spanish bureaucrats for delaying talks and missing deadline) British expats in Spain face weeks of driving chaos. Until now, Britons living in Spain have been able to use their DVLA-issued licences. Every other European country has now agreed a post-Brexit deal apart from Spain.   Some time ago British citizens resident in Spain were warned that they had to obtain a Spanish driving licence either by exchanging their foreign licence or renewing their foreign licence

Now time has run out and, as from 1st May 2022, British drivers are banned from using their UK licence on Spanish roads.  However the good news is that the change does not apply to holidaymakers, who can still use UK driving licence.

There is no problem with driving a UK registered car in Spain. However if you spend more than 6 months in Spain it is a legal requirement that you register your vehicle with the Spanish authorities.  For more information on the procedure of registering your car and changing the licence plate you can visit the official website in Spain DGT Website

Driving in Spain: From Monday, 21st March 2022, a series of new motoring laws will come into force across Spain.  The new changes will aim to punish drivers with a major focus on minimising the number of accidents and deaths on Spanish roads caused by driver distraction.

Although the financial penalties have not been increased, the number of points that can now be removed from the licence has. Further changes to Spanish driving regulations include

Safety when driving

  • Drivers and motorcyclists are no longer permitted to exceed the speed limit by 20 kilometres an hour when overtaking other vehicles.
  • When passing a bicycle or motorcycle, the driver should fully occupy the adjoining lane on a road with two or more lanes.
  • On single-lane roads, they must leave at least 1.5 metres between their vehicle and the bike or motorcycle. Failure to do so will result in a loss of six points from their driving licence.
  • From now on, anyone who drives with a mobile phone in their hand will lose six points from their licence instead of three.
  • Failure to use a seat belt, child retention systems and other elements of protection, such as crash helmets for motorcyclists, will result in a loss of four licence points instead of three.
  • Throwing anything into the road or nearby which could cause a fire or accident will be penalised with a loss of four licence points and a 500-euro fine.
  • Pedestrians always have right of way on zebra crossings, pavements and in pedestrian areas, including over personal mobility vehicles such as bicycles and scooters.
  • Stopping or parking in a cycle lane is now a serious offence and will result in a 200-euro fine.

Motorbikes and mopeds. People on motorcycles and mopeds are allowed to wear certified or homologised wireless devices on their helmets for communication or navigational purposes, but it is not permitted to carry a mobile phone between the helmet and your head.

  • Failure to wear a crash helmet, or not wearing one correctly, will result in a loss of four licence points instead of the previous three.

Bikes and scooters. No personal mobility vehicles may use the pavement or other pedestrian spaces; they must use cycle lanes or, if there are none, then the road. They are not permitted on dual carriageways or motorways.

  • A helmet must now be worn by law on a scooter or any other type of personal mobility vehicle.
  • Helmets must be worn on inter-urban roads, but in towns this is only obligatory for under-16s.
  • the alcohol limit for under-18s is zero.

FAQ. What are the new EU driving laws?

The European Commission reached a provisional agreement that all new vehicles sold in Europe will be fitted with a speed limiter as a legal requirement from July 6, 2022. The 2019/2044 regulation also mandates all new cars that have already launched to be fitted with an Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) by July 7, 2024.12 Apr 2022

 FAQ. Can I take my car to Spain permanently?

Anyone wishing to import a vehicle into Spain must be a permanent resident, own property in Spain or have a rental agreement for a minimum of a year and hold a Spanish driving licence.

FAQ. Do I need to carry documentation when driving in Spain?

Yes, it’s important that you carry the correct documents. If you were stopped by the authorities, you would be expected to produce

  • A valid driver’s licence
  • Insurance details
  • Proof of ID (passport)

FAQ. Do I need to make any adjustments to my car?

if you are driving your UK car you will need to adjust the headlights, so you do not dazzle any oncoming traffic. The most common technique is to use a specialist adhesive sticker which redirects the beam. Most car outlets will stock these. Do be aware that if your headlights have not been adjusted and you are involved in an accident  your current insurance policy may be deemed invalid.