How to get a spanish driving license

If you are planning to live in Spain and want to drive here you will at some point need to either exchange your driving license to a Spanish one or pass the driving exams and get the Spanish Driving License.

During the first 6 months of your residency you can drive using an International Driving Permit (IDP) but after that time has passed, depending on your origin you have a few options:

EU/EEA Citizens

If you are an EU/EEA citizen (plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) you can drive in Spain with your driving license for the first 2 years (but you will have to register your details to the traffic authorities after 6 months though) before needing to exchange it for a Spanish one.

To exchange your EU/EEA license to that of a Spanish driving license, you’ll need to go to the Provincial Traffic Headquarters with the following documents:

  • Application form
  • Valid passport or national identity card
  • Proof of residence (i.e. empadronamiento)
  • Valid driving license to be exchanged in Spain (original and photocopy)
  • Two recent photographs (32x25mm)
  • Medical examination
  • Declaration in writing that you haven’t been banned or suspended from driving
  • Declaration in writing that you don’t hold another driving license of the same class in another country.

Non-EU/EEA citizens from countries that Spain has an agreement

For some of you out there we have some good news! If you are citizens of Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, North Macedonia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela you can still exchange your driving license to a Spanish one without needing to take the exams.

To do so you need to head the the Provincial Traffic Headquarters after 6 months have passed from when you became a resident in Spain and apply for an exchange.

The list of the documents is the same as for the EU/EEA citizens (plus your Residency Card and a photocopy of it)

Non-EU/EEA citizens from other countries.

Unfortunately you will have to take the Spanish driving license tests (both theory and practice) and pass them both before being able to drive in Spain if 6 months have passed since you became a resident.

You can take the theory exam in a few different languages including English, French and German while the practical one will be in Spanish but it consists of directions for which you can learn the handful of phrases needed.

There are a lot of resources to help you with the process such as for the theory exam which has official DGT tests in English and videos from Autoescuela Gala, DonCar etc. on Youtube for the practical one and even though the exams are notoriously difficult in Spain, with the right preparation you can still easily pass them.