THE British ambassador in Madrid has requested another extension to the deadline on the validity of British driving licences for expats in Spain insisting that negotiations for a permanent solution are still ongoing.
On Tuesday Hugh Elliott gave an update on the issue that has been at the forefront of concerns for British residents in Spain since Brexit.
In a video broadcast on the Brits in Spain Facebook page run by the embassy, Elliott sought to reassure residents as the next deadline of December 31 loomed.
“I know you’ve been really concerned about whether you will continue to be able to drive using your UK driving licence in Spain beyond the end of this year,” said Elliott said in the recorded message.
“As I have said in the past, the UK government that includes our team here at the embassy, have been working really hard to reach an agreement with Spain so that you, residents here, can exchange your UK driving licences without taking a test.”
It is hoped that the future agreement will cover those newly arrived in Spain and those who were not able to register their intent to swap their licence for a Spanish one before December 30, 2020.
The process was beset by problems with scarce appointments and complications caused by the pandemic leaving many Brits resident in Spain fearful that they would have to take the Spanish test in order to drive legally here.
Since March, UK Foreign Office authorities have insisted that they were working towards such a deal, and they did manage to extent the initial deadline from June 30 until October 31 and again until the end of this year.
“Now, those negotiations are progressing but they haven’t yet reached a conclusion,” insisted Elliott.
“So what we’ve done is to ask the Spanish government for an extension to the current December 31 2021 deadline.
“That’s in order for you to be able to continue to drive on your UK driving licence here in Spain in the new year.”
Elliott is confident that the extension would be granted and that a deal would be struck in the new year.
“I’m expecting them to grant this extension before the end of the year,” he said.
Those who are still waiting to exchange their driving licences have expressed frustration that a permanent solution is taking so long to agree, a matter that was mentioned by Elliott.
“Many of you have also rightly pointed out that Spaniards resident in the UK are able to exchange their Spanish licence for a UK one without taking a practical test”.