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Everything one should know about driving license in Spain

водительские права в испании

In order to make a viable ‘plan of action’ for obtaining an official driving license in Spain, one should first answer these two questions:

  • How long are you planning to stay in Spain?
  • In which country was your current driving license issued?

For a period of time under six months, you can use your foreign driving license easily, even if the license was issued outside the E.U. A driving license issued abroad or in one of the E.U. countries or European Economic Area countries is valid for two years in Spain. However, upon the expiration of this officially established two-year limit, both E.U. residents and E.U. non-residents must use Spanish driving licenses.

One should remember that the majority of the foreign driving licenses are recognized in Spain due to bilateral agreements on the reciprocal recognition of driving licenses. The bilateral agreements include all driving licenses issued inside the E.U. and licenses issued by some states in the United States. In other words, a driving license issued in the U.S.A. will be valid in Spain only if it was issued in a state with a bilateral agreement. The same rule is applied to the driving licenses issued in other countries (almost all Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America as well as, for example, Turkey and Serbia).

According to Spanish law, the procedure for exchanging the foreign documents from the aforementioned countries for their Spanish equivalents is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended in order to avoid unnecessary questions from the traffic police. (For example, you can avoid explaining why you are presenting a driving license in Spain in the English language.) It should be mentioned that Brexit has made the status of driving licenses in the UK and Spain unclear, although for now licenses from the UK are still considered European licenses. (However, there are no agreements on the reciprocal recognition of the driving licenses between these two countries).

In order to obtain a driving license in Spain, the holders of licenses issued by countries that do not have mutual agreements with Spain on the reciprocal recognition of driving licenses must pass theoretical and/or practical exams and driving tests. As a rule, the written tasks of the test are in Spanish, although some driving schools offer tests in English as well.

Another important point to consider is the age of a license holder. In the table below, you can find the major restrictions established in Spain for motor vehicle driving, depending on age:

Category

Minimum age

AM (Scooters and motor vehicles for those with disabilities)

15

A1 (motorcycles with power up to 125 cubic centimeters)

16

A2 (motorcycles with a maximum capacity of 35 kW)

18

A (all motorcycle types; at least 2 years of driving experience are required)

20

B (motor vehicles up to 3500 kg and with no more than 9 seats)

18

C (motor vehicles over 3500 kg)

21

D (passenger vehicles)

24

The driving license in Spain is a plastic card that contains the holder’s personal information and photo on one side of the card and vehicle information on the other side. The Spanish driving license is very similar to those issued in other E.U. countries. When driving a motor vehicle in Spain, you must always have this document with you.

The validity period of a driving license in Spain depends on the holder’s age and the vehicle category. For example, for categories A and B, the license is issued for 10 years if a driver’s age is below 65 years and for 5 years if he or she is older than 65 years.

Documents necessary for obtaining a driving license in Spain

оформить водительские права в испании

When considering the requirements for obtaining a driving license in Spain, one should be aware that a driver must have the following documents:

  • International driving license in Spain, a driving license issued in the country of the driver’s residence, and a vehicle registration;
  • Professional translation of the driving license (officially certified, which can be done at the Spanish consulate);
  • Compliance certificate (certificado de equivalencia) obtained at the Royal Auto Club.

The international driving license in Spain is rather easy to obtain at the representative office of the Royal Auto Club of Spain (RACE). To do so, it will be sufficient to present a valid foreign driving license, a Spanish passport or residence permit, a completed application, and a photo in passport format. It is worth mentioning that if a non-resident obtains an international driving license in Spain, it is valid only outside of Spain.

Apart from the aforementioned documents, one must submit a payment receipt of the fee for changing the driving license, a passport photocopy and original or Spanish residence permit photocopy and original, and the residence address confirmation (empadronamiento). Non-resident drivers in Spain will need to present a medical certificate that verifies their motor vehicle driving aptitude.

Another crucial point related to the driving license requirements is the processing time of the document. On average, the process may take up to three months. While waiting for the document, a driver receives the official confirmation of the submission of documents (with the purpose of obtaining a Spanish driving license), which is valid until receipt of the license card. Once the Spanish license has been received, the foreign driving license is returned to the authority that had issued it in another country.

To extend a driving license in Spain, one must present the following documents:

  • A completed application of the official form (the same one used to obtain the Spanish driving license for the first time);
  • A valid driving license;
  • Verification of the residence permit in Spain or of Spanish citizenship (together with a photocopy);
  • Residence address confirmation in Spain (empadronamiento) that is valid for at least three months from the filing date of the application;
  • Medical certificate;
  • Two passport-format photos.

In case a driver cannot submit the application for the driving license extension in person, his or her authorized representative must present a written permission for submitting the passport or residence permit on behalf of the owner of the documents.

For a consultation on obtaining a driving license in Spain, you are always welcome to contact the professionals of INEEDSpain service center for assistance.

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