A man in a white car who has just got his Spanish Drivers licence.

A Spanish Driving License, just how easy is it to get one? Obtaining a driving license in your home country is a nerve-wracking process. So, the thought of going through the test in a foreign country is enough to deter many people. However, relying on public transport or walking is not always realistic. Especially in situations like commuting for work, traveling to medical appointments, or wanting to explore more around this beautiful country.

But that’s where we’re here to help put you at ease. Below is all the information you need about obtaining your Spanish driving license as a non-EU or EU national. We cover the costs, the different license options, and the process you can expect to go through. As someone who has just completed this process as a non-Spanish citizen, it can be done!

How Long Can You Use Your Foreign Driver’s License?

All Expats moving to Spain can use a foreign license for a while.

  • Non-EU Licences: You have a maximum of six months after you move to Spain to get a Spanish License.
  • EU Driver’s Licences: Your EU license is valid for two years after you move to Spain.

Note: UK drivers only have six months of validity before exchanging their licenses due to BREXIT.

Spanish Driving License Process for Non-EU Citizens

Let’s first cover the process you’ll go through if you are a non-EU citizen.

Spanish Driver’s License for US Citizens

Several countries in the world have an agreement with Spain. It allows its citizens to swap their home country’s license for a Spanish driving license.

Unfortunately, the United States is not part of this agreement, and all US license holders must take the entire test in Spain.

Understandably, this is frustrating, especially for experienced drivers. However, if caught driving with an American license, there can be severe consequences, including hefty fines and vehicle impounding.

One good thing to note is that Spain gives people a grace period of six months to use their home license. It’s good to get started with your lessons as soon as possible.

You will have to meet the following requirements to get your license in Spain:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have Spanish residency
  • Have no court orders in place that ban you from driving any vehicle

Getting your Spanish Driving License

The process is the same whether you already have your license or not; think of this as starting from scratch. You’ll need to follow these steps:

1. Find a Local Driving School.

Driving schools often don’t offer lessons in English, so you may have to look around your area.

Although, keep in mind your driving test will be in Spanish language only. If your instructor does teach you in English, ensure they teach you the commands and directions in Spanish. The cost of lessons will depend entirely on your area. In my case, I live in the province of Alicante and paid €22 per lesson.

2. Practice learning the written exam.

This will be done with your teacher on a computer at your driving school. You’ll also have access to an online app to practice questions and mock exams at home. Unlike the practical, the written test can be completed in English. The driving school has to inform the DGT (Directorate-General for Traffic) before your test.

3. The Medical Test

Before you can do the written test, you must first pass the medical exam in a DGT-authorized medical clinic. This quick exam usually costs between €30 and €60, depending on the clinic’s location.

Your driving school can tell you your closest one so you can book an appointment. During this exam, they will test your eyesight, hearing, reflexes, and multitasking ability using simple games. The exam is far less daunting than it sounds. It only lasts around 30 minutes and is not something to worry about.

Once you’ve passed the medical, you’ll get a certificate to hand in at your driving school. Now you’re officially allowed to take the other tests, with the theory coming first. When you and your teacher are happy, they will sign you up for your written test.

Note; This is the same process Spanish citizens and Spanish residents without any other driver’s license will follow.

Test Day

On test day, you’ll go to your nearest DGT test center and take the exam in a room with other students. The exam has 30 questions; you need 27 or above to pass. Your driving school should give you a lift to and from your exam as part of their services.

Now you’ve passed the medical and written exams, there is only the practical exam left. Again, your driving school will book the test for you once you are both confident that you are ready to take it. Like with the written exam, your driving school will give you a lift to and from the exam location.

Extra Information

The cost of your written and practical exams works as follows. You pay a set amount to the driving school (in my case, €150). This covers the DGT admin fees to register you, as well as a little on top for the driving school.

With this cost, you get three “chances” at the tests combined before paying the fee again for another three. Think of these like tokens, and each test attempt costs one token.

For example, if you need two attempts to pass the theory and one to pass the practical, you did it within your three tokens. This cost is always for a block of three. You won’t get any money back if you pass your practical on your fourth or fifth token.

Test Day Information

Finally, test day can be a little overwhelming, so it’s good to be mentally prepared. Your driving school will drop you off at the test location on the day. In my case, this was in the center of Alicante City. Here, you’ll wait on the sidewalk until your name is called.

You won’t be given a specific time; instead, the invigilator will run through all the names in alphabetical order for Spanish natives. Then alphabetical order for non-natives, so if you’re not a Spanish native, expect to be one of the last called.

While you’re waiting, staying focused and not letting the wait get you down is essential.

During the test, your instructor will sit with you in the front. You cannot speak to each other, and the invigilator will be in the back. The test only lasts about 20-25 minutes. If you make any significant mistakes, the invigilator will tell you to drive back rather than make you continue the test.

Note: You’ll always use the driving school car for your practical test. You don’t need to buy a car in Spain before you get your Spanish permit.

The author, Laura holding up her new L plate with her instructor asfter she passed her Spanish Driving license.
Laura, the author, with her new Spanish Driving Licence

Spanish Drivers License for UK Citizens

Driving in Spain after BREXIT

Good news! On March 16, 2023, the UK and Spain reached an agreement regarding driving licenses. UK citizens who are Spanish residents can now swap their home country’s driving license for a Spanish one without taking any tests.

The Requirements for Exchange:

  • The UK license cannot have been obtained in the UK while you were a legal resident of Spain
  • You must have Spanish residency, not only an NIE number.
  • At least 18 years old.

If you do not meet the first requirement, you will follow the same process as a non-EU citizen. If you don’t have residency, you must first complete that process.

Exchanging for a Spanish Driving License

If you meet the requirements, you must make an appointment at the DGT for the swap.

To do this, you can make an appointment through the DGT website. Select your province from the drop-down and “office formalities” on the type of consultation. You can then fill out your personal information on the next page and book an appointment at your local office.

For your appointment, you should take your driving license, residency card, and even extra paperwork such as your passport and Padron. This agreement also means the Spanish driving office can request information about your current license from the UK government, such as any points or driving offenses. Any serious violations can stop you from getting a new license.

Swap Your Current Drivers’ License for a Spanish One

Spain has an agreement with several countries worldwide. These include all EU countries and countries in the EEA (European Economic Area): Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

On top of these, the agreement includes most South American countries and others. You can find the complete list on the DGT website here and click “driving license exchanges” (canajes de permisos de conducción). This will then bring up a third drop-down with the qualifying countries listed.

This agreement means the license holder doesn’t need to take any exams or tests. You can make an appointment online at the same link to exchange the license for a Spanish one. The DGT advises that after handing over your current license, you should receive your new Spanish one within six weeks.

Your driving offenses and/or points can be brought over to your new license.

Process for EU Nationals

The process is straightforward since all EU nationals qualify for a license exchange. Make an appointment online here with the DGT. Fill out your province, select license exchange, choose your home country, then fill out the form for personal information on the next page.

After you have completed each box, you’ll be offered an appointment at your local DGT office. Here you can take your license and residency card. They will then process the license for you, cancel your old one, and issue you a Spanish one in the post within six weeks.

Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) in English

The DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico or Directorate-General for Traffic) is the authority responsible for issuing driving licenses in Spain. They are the body that administers the written and practical tests and issues permits and fines. They deal with all the administration for driving in Spain.

There are multiple offices in each province; you use the link to find a list.

The DGT website can be translated into multiple languages, including English.

However, face-to-face appointments in English aren’t a guarantee. So, taking a translator with you is always best if your Spanish isn’t quite up to scratch.

Driving Lessons in Spain in English

Not every driving school will offer lessons in English, but they do exist. This means that you may need to try several driving schools in your area until you find one that offers lessons in English. This may mean that you have to travel further for your lessons. Learning to drive in your own language can make a massive difference to your progress and confidence.

Don’t forget practical exams are in Spanish only, so your instructor will need to teach you the Spanish directions you’ll need.

Fortunately, your invigilator will only need to say minimal phrases such as “take the next left” or “take the third exit at the roundabout.” So, even under pressure, it’s easy enough to follow.

Where to Get a Medical for Spanish Driving License

The medical test is mandatory; you must pass it to move on to the theory and practical tests. The medical tests are by appointment only; not all medical clinics will have the faculties to do it. Your driving school can recommend a clinic for you.

However, you can also check the DGT website by clicking here and finding an authorized center that suits you.

The price of the medical test will depend on your region and which clinic you go to. You should expect to pay between €30 and €60.

Motorcycle and Moped License in Spain

There are four categories of motorcycle and moped licenses in Spain: AM, A1, A2, and A.

AM – Moped License

An AM license allows the driving of mopeds (up to 50 ccs) with two or three wheels and light quadricycles.

You only have to be 15 to obtain a moped license in Spain. For the test, you must pass a written exam (18 out of 20 questions correct). Then get written permission from your parent or legal guardian. The practical test is on an off-road course and will include all essential maneuvers.

A1 – Motorcycle License

An A1 license is for motorcycles with a maximum displacement of 125 cm³ and a maximum power of 11 kW (just under 15 hp). You must be 16 years old and pass the written and practical exams on track. An A1 also allows you to drive an AM vehicle.

A2 – Motorcycle License

An A2 license is for motorcycles with a maximum power of 35 kW (just under 47 hp). You must be 18 years old and pass the written and practical exams on track. An A2 also allows you to drive vehicles from the A1 and Am categories.

A – Motorcycle License

An A license is for all motorcycles and motor tricycles. You must be 20 years old and pass a medical test, a written exam, and a practical exam. An A license also covers you for A2, A1, and AM vehicles.

International Driving Permit for Spain

An Internation Driving Permit (IDP) is a translation of your license. In this case, your permit would be a Spanish translation of your home country’s driving license. You must carry your permit with you while driving under your non-Spanish license.

The permit is valid for 12 months, although your foreign license is only valid for six months.

The cost varies by country, but it’ll cost around $20 for Americans.

FAQ – Obtaining your Spanish Driving License

What is the legal driving age in Spain?

You must be at least 18 to legally drive a car in Spain and 15 to drive a 50cc moped.

What is a Type B driver’s license in Spain?

Type B is the most common license in Spain and entitles you to drive a standard private passenger car. The car must be less than nine seats and less than 3500kg. The vehicle is for private use only, not commercial use, such as a taxi.
With a type B, you can also pull up a trailer of up to 750kg.

Do you need an international driver’s license in Spain?

If you have an international license and are a non-EU citizen from an agreement-exempt country, good news! Your license will be valid for up to six months. After this, you either need to:
– Exchange your license for a Spanish one or
– Pass your test in Spain if you don’t qualify for an exchange.

Can I drive in Spain with a UK license?

Yes, but only for six months. After this, you must exchange your license with the DGT for a Spanish one.

Can I hold a UK and Spanish driving license?

No, you can only hold one at a time. If you ever move back to the UK, you must exchange your Spanish license for a UK license with the DVSA.

Can I use my American driver’s license in Spain?

Yes, but only for six months. You must pass a Spanish driving test to continue driving after this time.

Can I hold a US and Spanish driving license?

You can hold both, but you can only legally use your Spanish one in Spain after the first six months.

Can I do my Spanish driver’s permit test in English?

You can take the written test in English, but your practical test will be in Spanish only. But don’t worry; the test is only 20-25 minutes long, and the instructions are basic.

How long can you drive on a foreign driver’s permit in Spain?

While an international driver’s permit is valid for 12 months, your driving license is only valid for six months. A permit differs from a license; you must obtain a Spanish license after six months.

Can I drive in Spain if I am from an EEA country?

If you’re from a European Economic Area (EEA) country (EU plus Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein). You can drive in Spain using your existing driver’s license for the first two years in Spain. You must also register with the traffic authorities after six months.

Is my UK Blue Badge valid in Spain?

For those using the UK-issued Blue Badge, this is no longer valid in Spain. You must return this to the UK and apply for a Spanish Disabled Parking Card. You can do this through the town hall.


  1. What kind of insurances are required? recommended?

    That would be for both owning a car and driving a rental vehicle.



  2. When exchanging a EU driving license for a Spanish one but they only send the new Spanish one after six week, will you get a temporary document so you can drive in the meantime?

    1. HI Christian. The DGT issues a provisional Spansih license until your standard Spansih driver’s license arrives. All the best, Alastair

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