Tens of thousands of British nationals living in Spain are no longer able to use their current licence as the UK and Spain have failed to reach a post-Brexit deal on the use of British driving licences.
From 1 May, British expats in Spain are hit by a driving ban as they are no longer allowed to use their current UK licence.
Tourists and non-residents are exempt from the change in rules but guidance from the UK government’s website for British expats in Spain has been changed to:
“If you have a valid UK driving licence: From 1st May 2022, if you were living in Spain before 1st January 2021, your valid UK driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Spain.”
“If you moved to Spain after 1st January 2021, your valid UK licence will be recognised for 6 months from the date you obtained residence.”
Spanish and UK authorities reportedly failed to reach an agreement on DVLA-issued licences by 30 April, which was the deadline for such a deal to be struck.
An angry Ian Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader and Tory MP, EU authorities simply refused to cooperate.
Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail newspaper: “It’s a case of ‘mañana, mañana [‘tomorrow, tomorrow’]. It’s time they pull their finger out and do what they agreed.”
Spain is the only EU country that did not reach an agreement with the UK over the use of non-EU, or British, driving licences.
Up to last week, Brits residing in Spain were permitted to use their DVLA-issued licenses.
A Foreign Office spokesperson told the I newspaper: “An agreement to swap UK driving licences for Spanish licences has not yet been reached.”
“From May 1, UK licence holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and did not exchange their licence during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain. We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks, and are urging the Spanish government to bring forward interim measures.”