If you are living and driving in Spain, no matter which country you come from, you get six months grace before you have to go to the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico for a Spanish licence – the permiso de conducción.
Getting the replacement driving licence is something the authorities have not been too rigorous about up to now. They want you to, they encourage you to, you are supposed to, and there are threats of fines if you don’t, but they haven’t been nasty about it before.
Oh, hello Brexit.
Don’t be using your UK licence, when living in Spain, after the UK leaves the EU, or you will have to retake your test. In Spanish.
Well if you’re going to be like that about it …
I used, and recommend, DrivingLicences.es – you register with them, load all your documentation (I’ll go through that in a minute) and pay them a fee which works out around 40€. They check everything is in order, tell you step by step what you have to do, make the appointment for you at the local DGT, (mine was Granada) and give you a letter in Spanish to give to your burócrata which explains you don’t speak good Spanish and provides the answers to the commonest questions they may have.
So what you need is:
- Residency certificate or card and at least one copy (if card, front and back)
- Valid passport from whichever country issued your current driving licence, and at least one copy
- Medical certificate
- Two suitable photographs
- Your original driving licence
- If your address does not match your residency certificate, you’ll need a current original padron and at least one copy. I took one anyway. Just in case.
You could probably do the whole thing yourself but I found paying the DrivingLicence.es fee worth every cent for peace of mind.
The photos cost 5€ to be done by a local photographer but a photo booth would have been fine.
The only tricky thing about the medical certificate is that it has to be current so I waited to know my appointment date at the DGT (because of Brexit, the delay in certain areas can be months, but mine was three weeks, ideal). It was then a case of finding the nearest place which was authorised to do the medical test – look online. Rather than try to book an appointment (cita previa) over the phone I pitched up in person to make the appointment in my limping Spanish and they very nicely tested me there and then.
You need to take your residency card or certificate, and your original driving licence. They’ll fill in the form (do check that they entered everything that is on your current licence, or it will only be filled in for driving a car) and do two separate examinations in two separate rooms. The first is eyesight and hearing tests, blood pressure, height and weight. The second is a reactions test, and fun – you get a fifteen second trial run at keeping on two sets of tracks which twist and turn (and occasionally go in two different directions, exactly the way the wheels on a car don’t) without being beeped at too often, then do it for real. Your photograph is taken and your certificate, with photo, printed out. The cost was 45€.
The DGT appointment was made with a reference number so when you get there, find a terminal in the main hall to punch the number in, and it will tell you which floor to go to and which desk you will be seen at. You then sit and wait for your number to come up, which mine did bang on time. I had a very nice burocráta who spoke not a word of English but briskly processed everything, took away my UK licence and gave me a form confirming I had applied and paid (24.10€) to present to any enquiring policia before my temporary licence arrived, which it did within the week.
The card licence arrived today – in the name Elizabeth Jonanna Lamprey. Oh well. Matches the car.