British expats call for Spanish driving licences to be invalidated

The “Brits in Spain” Facebook page is attached to the Madrid consulate and keeps British expats in Spain up to date with any relevant information. UK drivers in Spain have been calling on both Governments to resolve long-standing differences when it comes to Britons driving in Spain.

In a video posted before Christmas, Hugh Elliott, the ambassador of the UK to Spain, stated that the agreement between British and Spanish authorities was done, with “technical wording” still being resolved.

The Government confirmed in February they had spoken to the Spanish Government to underline the urgency of the situation for those affected.

It stated the final steps would be taken by Consejo de Ministros (Spanish Cabinet) within the “next few weeks”.

The Brits in Spain page added this continues to be their understanding and what they have been told by the Spanish authorities.

The most recent update added: “We know those of you affected are very anxious to know when the driving licence agreement will be reviewed by the Consejo de Ministros. 

“The Spanish Government will not publicly confirm the date as the Council’s agendas are not made public ahead of time. 

“We will post again as soon as we receive confirmation that this has taken place.”

The most recent guidance on the GOV.UK website states drivers can continue to use their DVLA-issued licence until April 30 2022.

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They may need to take a Spanish driving test if they want to exchange their driving licence.

If they hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, they may also need to take a test to drive in Spain.

One frustrated driver slammed the negotiations, saying: “It’s coming up to nearly a year now… what a joke!”

Another driver said: “Spain do not care for the Brits in this country anymore, it would be easy for them to allow us to drive until an agreement had been signed but the bottom line is they don’t want to make it easy for us.

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“This place has definitely lost its sparkle for a lot of people!”

A third expat went as far as to suggest that Spanish nationals living in the UK should have their licence restricted in order to speed up the negotiation process.

They claimed: “I am…sick to the back teeth with the same inane platitudes emanating from the UK representative. 

“Maybe it’s [time] to remind him he is a public servant and it’s his job to protect us. 

“Try suggesting that until this long overdue process is completed that Spanish driving licences are no longer valid in the uk.”

Drivers must also display a UK sticker no matter what is on the number plate in Spain, as well as Cyprus and Malta, according to the GOV.UK website.

New legislation was recently introduced which ensures EU driving licence rules in Portugal apply to UK driving licences until December 31, 2023.

Until this date, it is possible to drive in Portugal on a UK driving licence issued by the DVLA in England, Scotland and Wales or DVA in Northern Ireland.

A similar agreement was signed with Italian authorities in December, enshrining a long-term agreement for exchanging driving licences.

If someone is a resident in Italy, they will be able to exchange their UK licence for an Italian one without the need to take a test.

Furthermore, if someone was a resident in Italy before January 1, 2023, they can use their UK licence until December 31, 2023.

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