For members


UK driving licence deal: How to exchange yours for a Spanish one

After 10 long months, the wait is over for UK driving licence holders residing in Spain as you are now able to exchange your permit for a Spanish one. Here's our step-by-step guide on how to go about it.

UK driving licence deal: How to exchange yours for a Spanish one
The UK is now one of a small number of countries which has a driving licence exchange deal with Italy. Photo: Damien MEYER / AFP

Spain’s Interior Ministry confirmed on Tuesday March 14th that the UK-Spain driving licence deal had been approved and that those with UK licences could be back on the road from Thursday March 16th, while they wait to exchange it. 

From March 16th 2023 onwards, holders of a valid and current driving licence issued by either Spain or the UK may request to exchange it, depending on their residency, without being subject to any additional requirement such as a practical or theory test.

In order to make the process easier, the provincial traffic headquarters has granted a period of six months, during which British citizens can drive in Spain with their original permit while they undergo the process of exchanging it.  

READ ALSO: British embassy hails new UK-Spain driving licence deal

But how exactly do you go about exchanging it?

Firstly, driving licenses for residents in Spain that have been issued in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland can be exchanged for an equivalent Spanish licence, only when a set of specific requirements has been met. These are:

  • The driving license cannot be exchanged if you obtained it in your country of origin while you are already a legal resident in Spain.
  • It will also not be exchangeable if you have obtained the permit after signing up as a legal resident in Spain.
  • You will still be able to exchange your licence, even if your permit has expired after you entered Spain. 

Driving licences issued by the UK and Northern Ireland authorities will be valid for driving in Spain for a period of six months from March 16th. 

The British Embassy in Spain has reminded UK residents in Spain that “If you don’t exchange within the six-month window, you won’t be able to drive in Spain anymore using your UK licence, but you will still be able to exchange your licence after that time without taking the Spanish test”.

Step 1: Take your psicotécnico test

The ‘psicotécnico‘ is a medical exam in Spain that tests both your physical and mental abilities to assess whether you can safely carry out certain tasks, such as driving a car. Everyone in Spain needs to get one of these when they renew or get a new licence.

Remember that you must take this test before you make your appointment to exchange your licence. To find out all about what the test entails and where to get it done, click here. You must have taken the test within three months of applying for the exchange. If it is older than this, you will have to take it again. 

Step 2: Getting an appointment

The next thing you need to do is get an appointment with a Jefatura or Oficina de Trafico to do the exchange. You can request an appointment online here or by calling 060. If doing it online, you will first select your city from the dropdown menu and then select Trámites de Oficina.

Next, click ‘continuar‘ on the Área: Conductores / Vehículos / Sanciones. This will bring up a page where you will have to fill out all your personal details such as NIE/TIE number, name and e-mail address. Once complete, click on ‘Solicitar’ and this will give you your appointment day and time. 

Be aware that because of the number of applicants, it may not be able to get an appointment in all cities right away, but keep trying at different times of the day. 

What do I need to take with me to the appointment?

  • A completed application form which you can find on the DGT website here, including a declaration to say you have the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds, haven’t been restricted and that you do not hold another EU or EEA licence of the same class as the one requested or that has been restricted, suspended or annulled.
  • ID cards such as your NIE or TIE, residence card, or valid passport. Proof of residence such as your original residence card or certificate of registration in the EU citizen registry and any other document requested by the office where the exchange request is processed.
  • Your permit verification code: Before the day of the appointment, you must access the following web pages to obtain your permit verification code. If your permit has been issued by the UK (DVLA), you can find it here. If it was issued in Northern Ireland (DVA), you can find it here.
  • The results of your ‘psicotécnico‘ test, issued by an authorised Driver Recognition Centre.
  • Proof of payment of having paid the fee. This costs a total of €28,87.
  • A current original photograph, measuring 32 x26 mm. It must be in color and with a plain background. The same rules as your passport photo apply such as not wearing dark glasses or a hat.

Remember that while your application for the exchange is being processed, your original permit will be taken away and a provisional permit will be issued to you until the new Spanish one is ready. This will be valid for three months. 

How long will it take?

According to the DGT website, it will take approximately a month and a half after your appointment until you are issued your final Spanish licence. You don’t have to worry about making another appointment and going to your nearest office to collect it, it will simply be sent to your home address. 

You can check online to see the processing status of your permit. 

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For members


The companies that insure young drivers in Spain

Like in many countries, insuring new drivers can be expensive in Spain and some companies even refuse to take the risk on younger people behind the wheel. Here are the different types of cover and companies that insure young drivers in Spain.

The companies that insure young drivers in Spain

Learning to drive and hitting the road for the first time can be an exciting time for many young people.

Finding car insurance as a new or learner driver, however, can be pretty difficult and often incredibly pricey. This is true the world over, and in Spain it is no different.

In fact, some insurers simply won’t take the risk and refuse to offer coverage to drivers under 25 years of age. For those that do, premiums are almost always much more expensive and can make driving unaffordable. 

But perhaps this is with good reason. The data shows that novice drivers behind the wheel are more likely to suffer an accident – in some cases twice as likely.

READ ALSO – UK driving licence deal: How to exchange yours for a Spanish one 

According to a study by PONLE FRENO-AXA Road Safety Study Centre, the very youngest drivers in Spain are twice as likely to have an accident compared to the average driver. Drivers under the age of 22 have an accident frequency of 29 percent and young people aged 22 between 25 have a frequency of 25 percent, compared to 14.2 percent among other drivers.

It is worth noting that in Spain, the only place to (legally) learn to drive is with an official instructor at the ‘autoescuela‘. That is to say, unlike in other countries, learning to drive with a parent or older sibling is actually illegal, so there’s no ‘learner’s insurance’ available.

You can drive from age 18 in Spain, but last year, the DGT also announced a new type of licence for those from age 16. This is the B1 driving licence for electric vehicles with a maximum speed of 90 km/h and a maximum weight of 400 kg.


There are different types of insurance in Spain, ranging from the basic third-party to fully-comprehensive insurance, and then there’s the question of whether you want to be the named driver on the policy or simply added to someone else’s (likely your parent’s).

Of course, prices vary between companies, ranging from third-party insurance for less than €400 a year, whereas fully-comprehensive cover can cost more than €2,000 per year for a new driver.

Finding a fair (and affordable) policy can be a real head-scratcher, especially in a foreign language.

The Local has broken down everything you need to know below.

Different types of insurance 

Among the types of car insurance for new drivers in Spain, there are generally three types that you’re more than likely already familiar with – third party (terceros básico), extended third party (terceros ampliado) and fully comprehensive cover (seguro a todo riesgo).

  • Third-party insurance (terceros básico): this is the cheapest type and therefore often the most popular with learners and new drivers. This is the most basic type of cover and insures you against damage caused and against other people and cars.
  • Extended third-party (terceros ampliado): offers the same basic cover as third-party insurance, but is usually extended with protection against glass breakage, fire and theft. 
  • Fully comprehensive (seguro a todo riesgo): the most complete type of car insurance, with damage to your own vehicle covered. However, it is rarely suitable for novice drivers as premiums can be pretty pricey. 

Regular or occasional driver?

As a new driver, you have two fundamental options when it comes to taking out your car insurance in Spain.

The first is to be named as the regular or main driver (conductor principal) on your own insurance policy. This is undoubtedly the most expensive option, but also offers the most complete coverage since you will be fully protected against any type of mishap you may have at the wheel, however big or small, and you’ll be able to accrue your own no-claims bonuses and reduce your insurance premium over time.

The second is to be named as an ‘occasional driver’ (conductor occasional) on someone else’s insurance policy. This is incredibly common in Spain, as it is in many other countries. In this case, usually, an older relative with experience behind the wheel (and several years of no-claims bonuses) will be listed as the regular driver of the car, so the price of the policy will be lower.

Despite this, finding an insurer willing to cover a younger driver isn’t always easy.

Companies that insure younger drivers

Here’s a list we’ve put together of some of the cheapest companies that insure new drivers in Spain on both terceros básico and terceros ampliado offers.

Third-party insurance (terceros básico) 

  • Balumba: For around €300 a year you get basic coverage for Compulsory Civil Liability, free garage choice and travel assistance.
  • Drive & Win: For around €500 a year, Drive & Win offers Compulsory Civil Liability and travel assistance. 
  • Qualitas Auto: for less than €300 a year, it is possible to take out this insurance with the basic coverage of one to third parties, in addition to the free choice of a garage for repairs. 

Extended third-party (terceros ampliado)

According to price comparison site, the best companies (approximate price estimates) for extended third-party coverage are:

  • Qualitas Auto: €321
  • Balumba: €337
  • MAPFRE: €608

What if nobody will insure me?

It is possible that nobody will insure a newly qualified driver.

But fear not, there is another option. You can get coverage with Spain’s Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros (Insurance Compensation Consortium), which is part of the Ministry of Economy and offers civil liability coverage.