Exchanging Your Driver’s License for a Spanish One


If you are living in Spain legally for six months, it is important for you to know that you have to get a valid driving license here to get in front of a steering wheel on Spanish roads.

However, if your plans are to stay less than six months, and your country is part of any agreement signed with the Kingdom of Spain, you should not have any trouble to continue using the one you got from your country in Spain. When in doubt, please contact the nearest consulate, or visit the webpage of your embassy in Spain to check if your license is valid here.

If you are not sure whether you license is allowed in Spain or not because there is not enough information at the consulate or embassy, you can get a one-year international driving permit that can be translated in up to 8 languages and is valid along with your original driver’s license.

Which countries have driver’s license agreements with Spain?

In general, licenses from other European Union or European Economic Area countries can be exchanged for a Spanish license as long as certain conditions are met. There are some other countries that have agreements with Spain related to driving licenses, but you have to be aware that you are only allowed to exchange your license if your country has an agreement with Spain.

If the country or the state (if you come from USA) that issued your license does not have an agreement with Spain, then you have to take all the examinations (theory and practical) to get a driving license.

These countries are the following: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Macedonia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Paraguay, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

This exchange must be done at the nearest Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico. The documents you have to provide to the authorities for the exchange are:

  • Your passport
  • Proof of legal residence (for foreigners, this is the Número de Identificación de Extranjero or NIE)
  • The driving license to be exchanged, which has to be currently valid
  • Two photographs (passport size)
  • A declaration from the applicant that says you have not been banned from driving
  • Another written declaration from the applicant that says you do not have any other driving license of the same type you are applying for in another country (apart from the one you are exchanging).
    The expiration date will depend on the age and the type of license.

Example: a small motorcycle (A1/A2) or a small car (B1). This kind of license is valid for ten years if you are under 65 years old, and for 5 years if you are over 65 years old. A commercial vehicle, or a public transportation vehicle license has to be renewed must be renewed every five years if you are under 65 years old, or every three years if you are over 65 years old.

How to get a Spanish driver’s license without an exchange?

The Spanish driving examinations are considered some of the most difficult ones. However, you can register in one of the driving schools (autoescuelas) which will assist you with all the registration procedure with the Jefatura. Otherwise, you can go straight to the Jefatura and do all the procedures by your own.

A medical certificate, passing the theoretical and practical tests are the main requirements to get a valid Spanish driving license. You can study for the theoretical test online, but the exam must be scheduled in advance and taken in person, and professional driving lessons at an autoescuela are mandatory.


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