New driving licence rules from 19 January

Started by Janet, Sun 13 Jan 2013, 00:15

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I was going to post this in a week's time but a flurry of emails on the subject suggests it's as well to post now to avoid confusion. An EU directive, 2012/126/EU, which comes into force on 19 January means that there will be changes to driving licence rules for some expatriate residents in Spain.

The EU law is intended to "harmonise" licensing throughout Europe so that drivers from countries with permanently valid licences (e.g. France), or licences of very long validity (e.g. the UK), will have to comply with the same rules as residents of the countries in which they live, and which issue licences for set periods of time. These drivers will now have to take a medical test every ten years if under 65, or every 5 years if over 65. The rules will apply to all British drivers in Spain once they have been resident here for two years, and Trafico will impose a €200 fine on anyone who has failed to do so.

The medical tests are taken in specific centres known as centros de reconocimiento (list HERE), and comprise a  manual dexterity test (a hand-eye coordination test rather like a computer game) and an eye test. Providing the test is passed, Tráfico will register the licence holder in the Spanish drivers' census: from that moment, drivers will have to renew their licences as the Spanish currently do; they will also be subject to Spain's penalty points system.

It appears that British drivers will be able to keep their British licences, since the change relates specifically to medicals and the penalty system. Because drivers will be registered without a new computer-generated Spanish driving licence being issued, those attending the medical will therefore need to take a photograph for Trafico's records.

Clearly, however, drivers have the option of not just taking the medical, but of changing their licence once and for all to a Spanish licence: the only reason many have not done so is because of the medical anyway, and it is important to note that failing to tell the DVLA that one is resident in Spain is an offence in the UK. Many (if now not all) of the centros de reconocimiento undertake all the paperwork necessary to make the change to a Spanish licence in addition to performing the medical. JA


Whats the ultimate date for changing?
Can't be the 19 th ?


The new rules come in on the 19th so, in theory, you could be stopped on the 19th and fined ... so the last day will be Friday 18th.


Good job you posted this Janet! The wife had a check and the Spanish certification on my UK licence ran out last November!!!! She's off to trafico tomorrow to see what's what


My UK licence expires June 2015, so it's the time I'll be having to action something anyway, and a Spanish licence is probably easiest, assuming I'll still be here.  It will hurt to trade in my UK licence though.  I've had it for 17 years as of Friday just gone  :closet:
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The wife and I still have our paper ones. Think we'll just keep on certifying them for the time being. Until we're made to do something different.


Dam! got to have a medical. The wife went to trafico this morning and they weren't all that bothered about my licence being out of date by a month or so. But they do want a medical cert. before they can re new it. So next week off for a medical. I will report back after.

The wife did say that trafico was full of Brits!


I just come from the drivers medical center in Las Galletas and after inspection of my Belgian permenantly valid driverslicence they sayd ; no need for medical.
You just need to inscribe youre license in Trafico if you go once to Santa Cruz .
Not a mension of an ultimatum?

Does it have to be inscribed before the 19 th ?
Think It can wait till I go once to Santa Cruz  . . . . . .


I seem to have the same sort of licence as you Poker. I think mine expires in 2029 or something like that. The only difference may be that I let the Spanish inscription of mine expire last November. Now if that has any bearing on it I'm unsure. I'm going to try and get a medical this week I'll let you know.


Poker, I've heard of this happening to British licence holders too, and right now that's correct information. It changes after the 19th though, if your licence is a permanently valid one.

Any European licence holder who has a licence "for life", or for periods so long that they can effectively be called unlimited (as is the case with Belgium), must have a medical after the 19th.

More info HERE.