Get Your Spanish License to Drive
There are two conceivable situations for acquiring a Spanish driver’s license for non-Spanish speakers:
- Obtain the required exams (For non-EU citizens and EU citizens that do not have a driving license). In other words, obtaining a Spanish license from the beginning. The best and most hassle-free approach in this situation is to choose a nearby English driving school that will offer you with the required instruction and resources to earn your driver’s license.
- To exchange your national driver’s license for a Spanish one (For EU/EEU citizens, non-EU nationals whose home country has an agreement with Spain, and those with a particular occupation).
Each of these two methods for obtaining a Spanish driver’s license will be discussed in further detail below.
Who is permitted to drive in Spain?
Anyone who is at least 18 years old and possesses a valid driver’s license from their home country is permitted to drive in Spain.
During the first six months (for non-EU nationals) or two years (for EU/EEA nationals) after acquiring an official Spanish residency permit, non-EU nationals and EU/EEA nationals are permitted to use their national driver’s license. If your driver’s license is not in Spanish, you must carry a translation or an International Driving Permit (IDP) at all times when driving in Spain.
After this first term, residents must get an official Spanish driver’s license by passing the theoretical and practical driving exams (non-EU nationals) or by exchanging their driver’s license from their home country for the Spanish one (EU citizens; citizens of countries that have an agreement with Spain and holders of special occupations).
Citizens of other EU nations may drive lawfully in Spain for two years with their national license, but they must register their information with the Traffic Department (DGT – Dirección General de Tráfico) after the first six months.
How to acquire a Spanish driver’s license whether you are a non-EU citizen with a valid national license or an EU citizen without a license.
As stated earlier, people of countries outside the (EU)European Union and (EEA)European Economic Area are only permitted to use their national driver’s license for a period of six months beginning on the day they register as residents. Note that if your driver’s license is not written in Spanish, you must always carry an official translation or an International Driving Permit (IDP).
The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a legal document that converts your national driver’s license into ten languages, including Spanish. The IDP is not valid on its own; you must always have your national driver’s license with you. IDP must be applied for outside of Spain and is valid for one year.
After six months of residency in Spain, your national license will no longer be valid, and you will be required to get a Spanish license. At this time, you can either take theory and practical driving tests to obtain your driver’s license or exchange your national driving license for a Spanish one if you are from a non-EU country having an agreement with Spain (For more details on exchanging your driving license procedure please read below).
Exams for the Spanish License to Drive
Yes, sadly, even if you have a driver’s license from your home country, you will still need to go through the entire process of obtaining a Spanish driver’s license. It is inconvenient, yet there is no other way to receive it. At least we have the option of taking the Spanish driving exam in English, so be patient and go for it. The processes involved in acquiring your driver’s license in Spain are outlined here.
The Driving Exam has two parts:
A theory examination consisting of 30 multiple-choice questions, of which you must answer 27 correctly to pass.
A practical driving exam that lasts around 30 minutes and consists of a 10-minute guided drive and a 10-minute unguided drive in any direction of the examiner’s choosing.
You have the option to take the theoretical exam in English and the practical driving test in an automated vehicle. (In this instance, your license only allows you to operate automobiles with automatic transmission.)
Where to Register for Driving Exams
The Traffic Department (Dirección General de Trafico – DGT) accepts applications for both the theory and practical driving tests.
You may complete the entire procedure on your own or with the assistance of a local driving school that will help you through each stage. In Spain, it is normal practice for driving schools to include all documentation filing and registration services in their training packages. This makes the driver’s license process less daunting and allows you to concentrate only on exam preparation.
Documents required for test registration:
Medical Certification of Your Mental and Physical Health Obtained from an Authorized Drivers’ Check Center (See the list here.)
Application Form for the Spanish Residence Permit – NIE/TIE Card and Application Fee
Two passport-size Photos
Verification of your permanent residence (Certificado de Empadronamiento, obtained in Ayuntamiento)
Self-declaration that you do not possess a comparable driver’s license
Self-declaration, under penalty of perjury, that no suspensions or legal actions restrict you from driving.
Required study materials include:
English Driving Theory Manual (Includes 16 chapters covering all the theoretical driving content)
Multiple-Choice Exams for each Chapter in the Theory Manual Exam-Style Tests (Substantially beneficial for theory test preparation, as you are exposed to several variations of possible problems in the shape of 30 multiple-choice questions; excellent practical preparation)
Driving lessons with an instructor who speaks English. (the number of lessons required is dependent on your prior driving experience and familiarity with Spanish roadways).
You may also choose to take Intensive Driving Theory Classes on-site. (Classroom-based theory classes are the most effective kind of instruction for exam preparation, particularly if you are taking a driving exam in a foreign nation. Interaction with the instructor allows you to ask questions and clarifies complex areas of the Spanish driving legislation.
Expenses to take into account:
- Traffic Department Charge or Tax ( 93 euros)
- Fee for Driving School lessons and study materials
- Practical Driving Instruction
- Fee for the Driving Exam
- Medical Certificate Fee
- Think about these:
Check with your local driving school, as they frequently offer package offers that cover many services at a discounted rate, so saving you money and a great deal of mental effort.
- You have two concurrent tries to pass both of your tests. If you fail your first theoretical exam, you will not be allowed to take your first practical driving exam, leaving you with just one shot at both the theory and practical examinations.
After passing the theoretical exam, your license will be valid for two years. Consequently, you must complete your practical test within two years
- If you fail your practical test, you must retake it no later than six months after your last try; if you fail to do so, you will be required to pay Traffic Tax again.
After passing your Driver’s Examinations
After passing both exams, you will obtain a temporary driving permit that will allow you to drive freely in Spain. Your temporary license will serve as a replacement for your original Spanish license until it comes. Original driver’s licenses often come in one month (this may vary, as we are located in Spain). You will also receive a L sign that you are required to display on the back window of your car for one year. You are not required to do so, but it is strongly advised that you do so in order to avoid potential risks when driving on Spanish roads.
How to acquire a Spanish license by swapping your home country’s license.
Who Can Swap Their Driver’s License?
EU/EEA citizens who possess national driver’s licenses
Citizens of non-EU Countries with which Spain has an agreement
How to obtain a Spanish driver’s license for nationals of the EU/EEA
As stated at the outset of the article, all EU/EEA nationals are permitted to use their national driver’s license in Spain. However, after the initial six-month term, they are required to register with the Traffic Department (DGT). After registering, individuals must undergo a medical examination at an Authorized Driver’s Check facility (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Authorizado). In addition, after two years as a resident, they are required to receive a Spanish driver’s license, which they may do by exchanging their national license for a Spanish one. If you refuse to alter your license after two years of residency and are found driving, you will be fined 200 euros. If you desire, you can switch your license at any time; you are not need to wait two years, but you must not exceed this timeframe.
If you are a citizen of the European Union and wish to switch your driver’s license, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you must comply to the same criteria as a bearer of a Spanish license.
This incorporates: undergoing essential medical examinations.
As soon as you Exchange your license, your national license will be changed into a Spanish EU license.
This license must be renewed every 10 years until age 65, and every 5 years thereafter. You may be required to acquire a new Spanish driver’s license if you have accumulated too many demerit points.
The Traffic Department also handles the driving license exchange application procedure. Here is a list of documents required for the procedure:
- Passport or National ID card valid
- Evidence of Spanish Residency (your NIE card or the NIE number will be necessary here)
- Form for applying (Filled in and printed)
- Paid Tax Form Modelo 791 (may be received at the Traffic department in person or on the official website, you must select 2.3 from the drop-down menu.
- Payment evidence for the Modelo 791 Form (28.30 euros)
- Two Photos (32x25mm)
- Your existing license that you wish to replace (copy and original document)
- If you are going to collect all the paperwork and complete all the processes on your own without the aid of a driving school, we advise you to contact your local Traffic Department for all the specifics. Whether it be a list of required papers, application forms, or taxes to be paid. It is highly encouraged to double-check the information with your local traffic department, as rules are subject to frequent modification. In many traffic departments, you must schedule an appointment beforehand.
How to Obtain a Spanish Driver’s License for Non-EU Nationals with an Agreement with Spain
Spain has an agreement with more than 20 non-European nations that permits people of other nations to exchange their national driver’s licenses for Spanish licenses without completing driving exams. It is advisable to double-check with your country’s consulate/embassy or the local Traffic Department, as the list of nations changes very frequently.