The rules of the Road in Spain
From the first day that you obtain your residence card in Spain, you can use your driving license from
your home country BUT, only up to 6 months. This includes any other European country and some
non-EU countries in the European Economic Area including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
After the 6 month period is completed, you must exchange your license for a valid Spanish driver’s
license. There are also countries with which Spain has an agreement, and holders of those licenses
are able to go to the traffic department and ask for a new license after six months.
The countries with an agreement with Spain are:
Asia: Philippines, South Korea, Japan
Africa: Algeria, Morocco
Europe: Switzerland, Croatia, Andorra, Serbia
South America: Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Ecuador,
Peru, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guatemala.
That means that the non-EU/EEA license holders, and the countries that were not listed
above, must take a Spanish driving test in order to continue driving within Spain.
Spanish driver’s license test in English
It is compulsory to take two examinations:
A theory test that consists of 30 questions in which you only can make up to 3 mistakes,
otherwise, you will fail. This test can be taken in English, Spanish, French and German, plus
any regional co-official languages (e.g. Catalan in Catalonia). This examination is taken at
the Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico. It is important to book this test in advance as the waiting
list could be up to 3 or 4 months. You need to select your preferred language when you fill
out the request. You can learn the material at a physical or online driving school, with a few
offering material in English.
A practical test that lasts 25 minutes approximately. These kinds of tests will be done on
roads, highways, or avenues. To take this exam, you have to have the following
1. ID card (tarjeta de residencia, usually your NIE),
2. Medical certificate issued in an approved medical center in Spain, and
3. Certificate from a driving instructor.
Driving lessons from an authorized school are mandatory, even if you have been
driving for years in your home country!
Other things to bare in mind regarding Spanish driver’s licenses:
European Community driving licenses are only valid if the holder of the license has passed
a psychophysical medical exam within the periods established by Spanish law,
nowadays, every 10 years until the person turns 65 years old, or every 5 years after age 65.
If the candidate fails the psychophysical medical test, this license will no longer be valid.
You also have to take into consideration that all already expired EU Driving License are not
valid in Spain either. Therefore, you must take the tests to get the license.
Other things to consider before taking the tests are the regulations you find in Spain for
driving. The first thing that you have to know is the different signs and indications you may
find on the road, which varies from one country to another. For example, if you come from
the UK, chances are that you are used to driving on the other side of the road. Hence, you
may find difficulties understanding certain signs in Spain, and when is the exact moment to
turn left or right.
Another thing to point out is the speed limit in the country. In Germany for example, it is
totally normal to go really fast, while in Spain there is a limit that varies on the roads.
Whether you are an experienced driver or not, driving licenses in Spain are very
important if you plan to own a car in that country.
If you would like more information about driving in Spain just contact us!