Whether a driving licence is valid in Spain depends on the country of issue, and on the residence status of the driver. Non-residents can drive with EU licences. In theory, non-residents with licences issued outside the European Union should have an International Driving Licence, but they are not normally required for car rental by tourists.
Following changes in regulations in 1996, drivers with EU licences can continue to use the licence from the issuing country but must register it, together with their Spanish address, at Jefatura de Tráfico. The old procedure, which is still an option, was to exchange the licence for a Spanish one.
Drivers from most other countries must apply for a Spanish licence, which involves taking the Spanish driving test. Switzerland, Japan and Korea are the only exceptions as they have a bilateral agreement with Spain.
For details go to :
Calle Arturo Soria 143 C - Metro Arturo Soria (8.30am to 1.30 pm)
Tel.: 91 301 85 00
To register your licence, you hand it to Tráfico together with a photocopy of your “permiso de residencia” (and show the original). They then keep it to introduce your data into the “Registro de Conductores i Infractores”. This can take up to 3 months, during which you have a temporary licence (valid for Spain only). The licence is then returned to you with a note of your Spanish address.
The licence retains its original expiry date, but as with all drivers with Spanish licences, you have to take medical tests at regular intervals to prove your continued aptitude for driving (see below for details).
- Obtain the form “Impreso de Canje“ at the information desk at Jefatura de Tráfico.
- You need 2 passport photos, driving licence and passport (originals and one photocopy of each).
- Pay the exchange fee at the Caja on the 2nd floor.
- Hand in all papers at Desk “Canje de Carnets”.
The new licence is issued on the spot and has a maximum validity of 10 years. Tráfico retains the original licence; you cannot reclaim it when leaving Spain.
RENEWALS - APTITUDE TEST
All exchanged driving licences are automatically subject to Spanish regulations. This means they must be renewed according to the schedule below. The length of validity depends on the driver’s age:
- Between 18 and 65 years: valid for 10 years
- 60 years plus: valid for 5 years
To renew a license you’ll need a medical certificate for aptitude for driving (the test covers sight, hearing, heart & blood pressure, reflexes). Near Tràfico is a medical centre that issues them. It costs around €25, and you’ll need 2 passport photos.
REPLACING A LOST OR STOLEN LICENCE
If your licence was issued or registered at Tráfico, you can apply for a replacement there.
To replace a foreign licence, you must produce proof of issue from your licensing authority, together with an official translation (“traducción jurada”).
You must notify the police if your licence is lost or stolen. You can drive for a certain period if you carry the police declaration (“denuncia”) with you. Ask the police how long this is valid for.