U-TURN CAMPAIGN: Councillor calls for longer extension period on UK driving licence swap as British Ambassador in Spain remains coy

AS the Olive Press continues to campaign for Brits to once again be allowed to swap their UK licence for a Spanish one and get back on the road, the British ambassador has stated he believes an agreement is in sight. 

Since May 1, Brits who have lived in Spain for more than six months and do not have an EU driving licence cannot legally drive in Spain.

Although the pre-Brexit process by which they could previously swap their licence for a Spanish one had been extended pending a new agreement, it was cancelled before negotiations concluded leaving many thousands of Brits in limbo.

Darren Parmenter, British councillor for Tourism and International Relations in San Fulgencio on the Costa Blanca met the ambassador last week as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebration.

“I am hopeful there will be an agreement soon, there has to be otherwise Spain will be left out in the cold,” Parmenter told the Olive Press.

He raised the issue of licences with Ambassador Hugh Elliott who was coy on sharing any more details despite seeming ‘significantly more upbeat about the issue’ according to Parmenter. 

Darren Snip
Councillor Parmenter says he has heard many horror stories from Brits now that many are unable to drive in Spain.
Photo: Darren Parmenter.

On June 2, Elliott announced that although negotiations were still ongoing, an agreement had been reached on a clause that will permit everyone back on the road from the moment an agreement is signed for a period of up to six months to allow people time to once again try and exchange their licences.

Parmenter, however, insists this does not go far enough. 

“I would hope that it is more than a six month time period. At the very least, it should be six months to allow Brits to declare their interest, given how many examples there are of people getting stuck in bureaucracy,” said the 61-year-old, originally from London.

This is a view supported by the Olive Press. 

Six months may not be long enough for every Brit that needs to, to carry out a licence swap in time, given that in the past such appointments have been scarce.

While an agreement may be in sight, for many Brits in rural areas even a few weeks is too long and we continue to call for an immediate reversal of the decision not to extend the deadline allowing Brits to swap their UK licences for Spanish ones.

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