THE SPANISH Cabinet on Tuesday finally approved a deal between Spain and the United Kingdom covering driving licence exchange, as well as the exchange of driver information relating to traffic offences. The deal means that the more than 10-month ordeal that left some UK driving licence holders resident in Spain unable to take to the roads is finally over.
According to a statement released on Tuesday by the Spanish Interior Ministry, UK licence holders who did not or could not exchange their documents for Spanish ones before the December 2020 cut-off date will now be able to do so from March 16. They will have a period of six months from that date for the exchange, during which time they will once again be able to legally take to the roads using their valid UK licence.
The agreement finally brings to an end the living nightmare that the driving ban has meant for victims of the situation, who found themselves unable to legally drive in Spain from May 1, 2022 as post-Brexit negotiations between the two countries dragged on, and the last of the extensions to the situation finally expired.
Since then, victims of the situation – who are not just from the UK, but also Irish, German and Spanish, to name just a few nationalities – have been left unable to legally drive, with the only option available to take a Spanish driving test. This proved an obstacle for many due to cost and language difficulties.
The UK embassy in Spain, and the ambassador Hugh Elliott, have been providing regular updates to anxious victims of the situation since the ban came into force last year. Statements made as far back as November made clear that the post-Brexit agreement had been agreed by the two sides, with the ‘two outstanding issues’ resolved.
Since then, however, there has been an agonising wait for those affected for the final approval to be given by the Cabinet. The terms of the deal will now be published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE).
The Olive Press has been highlighting the issue affecting readers across Spain with its ‘U-turn campaign’, and was determined to shine a light on their experiences in the hope of adding pressure on the authorities to make it a priority to resolve the problem.