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Driving Licences in Spain 

For those of us living permanently in Spain we know how important it is to have the correct paperwork and for it all to be in order. Why then do so many foreigners, not just those from the UK forget or feel the need to “hang onto” their driving licence from their country of origin. Many do, but its not actually a choice you can make, as if you are legally Resident in Spain and hold a Certificado de Registro de Cuidadanos you are obliged by Spanish Law to exchange your licence for a Spanish European one, and why not.

The process is relatively straightforward and involves primarily getting your licence verified as being legitimate, confirming that the holder has not been disqualified and of course the situation regarding the points and any medical restrictions that may be in place i.e. the use of glasses, restricted hours of driving i.e. night driving not permitted to name but a few. Sometimes people do not adhere to this because they are scared of the medical they may have to undertake. There is no need, as the medical is pretty straightforward and is carried out in a special centres called Centro de Reconocimiento Medico.

At the test you are asked about medication you may be taking, have a short sight and hearing test, and spend a few minutes on a simulator similar to a play station where you are controlling the “car” on screen by two handles driving along a road. You will no doubt “hit” the road and think oh that’s me failed, but its not about keeping within the lines so much, as to how quickly you rectify the error i.e. your reactions. The tester will also take your photograph and this will be included in the certificate that you receive and which has to be presented to Trafico in Santa Cruz at the time of the exchange, not at the start of the process. The certificates only last for three months so it is not recommended to do this test until you have been advised that the verification has been received at Trafico. You are not able to obtain a certificate of entitlement yourself and present that at Trafico, to speed up process which is sometimes lengthy, as Trafico MUST receive the verification directly from the Driver Licensing Department in the country of origin.

The initial presentation at Trafico is of photo copies of your documents, no photograph or medical is needed at this point of time. Once verification is received you will be advised and have three months in which to complete the process. We suggest that once received you proceed as quickly as possible, as often people forget, the three months passes and you would then be fined if stopped by the police.

At the time of the actual exchange you will be required to surrender your original drivers licence and you will receive a temporary Spanish one valid for driving in Spain only, as the original is sent to you directly through the normal postal system. It is therefore vitally important that when completing the exchange you provide the correct and full address at which you receive your post. If you do not receive post then you can ask for the licence to be sent to your place of work or to the Trafico Office for collection. You should be aware that if you intend to travel during the period of the temporary licence being held outside of Spain you would have to obtain an International Licence, for example if you were to be visiting the UK and hiring a car that latter would be required.

If you require any further information or assistance in exchanging your licence please contact emma@motorworldtenerife.com.