So, you are a legal resident of Spain and thinking, quite rightfully, whether you should be replacing your current driving license issued in another EU country to a Spanish one. There seems to be some confusion if you try to research this topic in internet and different media, so to answer the question in the summary below we have only used the official guidelines from the DGT website – The Traffic Department of Police in Spain.
Firstly, all valid driving licenses issued in the countries belonging to EU (European Union) and EEA (European Economic Area which adds the countries of Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) remain valid in Spain provided their holder meets the requirements of minimum driving age in Spain. Once the driving license holder becomes a legal resident of Spain, he/she falls under the license regulations of Spain when it comes to the period of validity, renewal regulations, medical/fitness checks and assignment of points. While some countries issue licenses valid indefinitely or longer than 15 years and do not require any medical checks, in Spain under the age of 65 you need to renew your type B license every ten years and above the age of 65 - every five years, and every time you need to pass the medical check. Same driving license renewal conditions will apply to any legal resident of Spain.
So, who and when needs to replace an EU driving license to a Spanish one:
• EU license holders whose licenses have expired or are due to expire
• EU license holders whose licenses are valid indefinitely or longer than 15 years for the licenses of Group 1 (types AM,A1,A2, A, B and BE) and longer than 5 years for the licenses of Group 2 (types BTP,C1, C1E,C, CE,D1,D1E,D,DE) after two years of their legal residence in Spain counted from January 19th 2013
In other words, in case you have a valid driving license issued in another EU state with the validity term in line with Spanish rules you can continue using it in Spain until its expiry date and then renew to a Spanish one. In case you belong to the second group with the driving license of indefinite term or the term exceeding the ones stated above, you need to renew it to a Spanish one after two years of becoming a legal resident of Spain. If this was on January 19th 2013 or before, you should have renewed it already (in January 2015). If your residency is dated let’s say August 1st 2016, then you should renew it by August 1st 2018 or before.
To renew your driving license in the province of Malaga, you have two options: either do it yourself or appoint someone like Malaga Expat Consulting to do it for you, which will definitely save you lots of leg work and time. In case you would still prefer dealing with authorities yourself and practice your Spanish, you need to make an appointment in the Traffic department in Malaga and bring with you the documents listed on the DGT website.
Once you have applied, the Spanish authorities will have to contact the issuing body in your home country to verify the driving license and depending on the country it can take several months. You will still be allowed to drive during the whole “waiting” period until you receive your new Spanish driving license.
In general, it is recommended to apply well in advance your expiry date or the end of the two years period, so get in touch with us now and let’s start the process of getting your Spanish driving license!