IN a last minute reprieve, Brits living in Spain have been given another two months to exchange their driving licences with a further extension until the end of February 2022.
Last week the British Ambassador Hugh Elliott said he had requested an extension beyond the December 31 deadline while insisting that negotiations for a permanent solution were ongoing.
“We are pleased to let you know that the Spanish Government has today confirmed the extension of the grace period during which you can drive in Spain using a valid UK licence until the end of February 2022,” The UK Embassy in Madrid wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The Foreign Office updated the official Living in Spain page to include the extension on Wednesday morning.
This is the third extension Spain has given British licence holders since Brexit meant their UK-issued documents became unrecognised by the common EU framework.
It means that those who have residency in Spain and who had registered their intent to exchange their British driving licence for a Spanish one – a measure required to have been done with the DGT before December 30 2020 – have until February to conclude the process.
It also means there is more time for those who haven’t begun the process to prepare for a Spanish driving test before the deadline expires.
“We recognise that the extension is relatively short, and therefore it is important that – if it is imperative for you to drive – you consider all your options, which may include looking into taking a driving test now,” the Embassy note stressed.
However, it is hoped that an agreement to allow UK licence holders to convert to a Spanish licence without the need for sitting the Spanish driving licence will be struck before the deadline.
“As you know, the UK Government is committed to reaching a long-term agreement with Spain so that residents can exchange their UK driving licences without taking a test,” confirmed the embassy on facebook.
“Negotiations are continuing and we stand ready to conclude that agreement as soon as possible. But unfortunately we are not there yet.”
The current rules mean that British drivers must apply for a Spanish licence within six months of becoming resident in Spain. Before Brexit this was a relatively simple process – although there have been difficulties with securing appointments at the DGT thanks to overwhelming numbers of applications as Brexit approached plus complications caused by the pandemic.
However, with an agreement, Brits would have to sit the Spanish driving licence from scratch.
The issue does not affect those who are visiting Spain when driving with a British licence is valid in the short term.