As of the beginning of this month, new regulation was adopted in Spain which forbids holders of a British license to drive in the country. Specifically, if a British expat has been a resident of the country in the Iberic peninsula for more than 6 months and has still not converted their UK license for a Spanish one, they will no longer be allowed to drive using the UK license, needing to retake the examination in order to be issued a new license. The new law applies to UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licenses, but will not affect tourists or visitors staying less than 90 days.
An agreement to swap UK driving licenses for Spanish licenses has not yet been reached. From May 1st, UK license holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and did not exchange their license during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain.UK Foreign Office spokesperson
In response to public protests, the two countries have agreed to resume talks and negotiate a new deal which would enable expats to exchange their UK license for a British one without having to re-take the theoretical and practical tests. “We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks, and are urging the Spanish government to bring forward interim measures”, a spokesperson of the UK Foreign Office said.
Meanwhile, the British government has advised any British expats affected by the change to take the driving test as soon as possible. But with the country currently ranking as the 9th most expensive in the world to learn how to drive in, getting a valid driver’s license can get quite expensive. Just the registration with a Spanish driving school can cost up to €200, with each lesson being an additional of at least €30 per hour. After completing the lessons, taking the test costs €130, including the mandatory physical examination, while having the driver’s license officially issues, after successfully passing the test, costs an additional €100. Furthermore, the test is only available in Spanish.