DGT issuing fines for not exchanging foreign licences
In 2015 the DGT set out the the criteria that had to be met as to when a foreigner would be obligated to exchange their foreign driving licence to a Spanish one. There have been over the last two years countless publications and “advice” given by all sorts of people as to why you DID NO have to exchange your licence. The DGT, kindly, gave a period of amnesty due to the very high numbers of foreigner drivers in Spain, and to ensure that the country and its residents fell in line with the the rules and laws set out by the European Union who are responsible for making sure that the new rules that became law in 2015, were carried out throughout the European Union member states, this was permitted but has now expired (in January 2016).
There are two main scenarios where action by the licence holder is required BY LAW. Firstly if your licence has an indefinate expiry date (those holderes from Belguim and Germany for example) or where there are more than 15 years validity and you were LEGALLY resident in Spain before January 19 2013, then you should already have renewed/exchanged your original licence for a Spainish one. If you fall into this catagory we strongly advise that you do this now, as the DGT are now enforcing the law and issuing fines upwards of 200 euros to drivers when caught .
If you became LEGALLY resident after the 19 January 2013, you have a two year period from the date of your residency to renew, of course if you have been resident since 2013 as we are now in 2017 that will have well expired.
The second situation is if your driving licence has expired or is due to expire, then it MUST be renewed in YOUR COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE. You should note that your Residency status is not a matter of choice but physical prescence, i.e. where you reside. Therefore if you hold a Green Residency Certificate and your licence has expired or is due to you HAVE to renew in Spain. Many people “use” an address in their country of birth to renew a licence BUT this is ILLEGAL as you are no longer resident in that country so cannot renew there.
Many people, including some “experts” here in Tenerife were and still are providing advice that is incorrect stating that as we are in Europe, you do not have to exchange your licence, also suggesting that the DGT would not fine people, again this is incorrect.
The process may seem daunting and complex but if you use a professional person or company who deal with these type of things on a daily basis, then the whole process from start to finish can be very smooth and uncomplicated.
There are of course, costs involved, would you expect anything else in Spain?, but these are not expensive. There is the added advantage that the Spanish licence displays not only your photo, name and date of birth but your NIE number. The licence DOES not show your address, this is stored in the DGT central system and due to the Data Protecion laws, this is the reason it is not displayed on the licence. In the event of an accident or incident where the police are involved, you normally only have to produce your Spanish licence and insurance documents as the driving licence holds all the necessary information that the police might need to do a report.
Whilst you may all be thinking of a summer holiday, think first about whether you are driving legally!
Motorworld offer a service for exchange of licences, please contact us for further details.