British expats' fury after they are BANNED from driving in Spain
‘I can’t go to work!’ British expats’ fury after they are BANNED from driving in Spain and will have to pay up to £1100 to take a test there after failure to reach a post-Brexit agreement on UK driving licences
- Brits are left furious as they face road chaos following bungle over licence rules
- From today, Brits have been banned from using UK licence on Spanish roads
- Change does not apply to holidaymakers, who can still use UK driving licence
- The cost of passing driving test in Spain is up to £1100, according to USwitch
Furious British expats have blasted Spanish bureaucrats after they were banned from driving in Spain following a failure to reach a post-Brexit agreement on UK driving licences.
From today, tens of thousands of Brits living in Spain are banned from using their UK driving licence on Spanish roads – but the change does not apply to holidaymakers who are exempt from the new rule.
Until now, Britons living in Spain have been able to use their DVLA-issued licences. Every other European country has agreed a post-Brexit deal.
According to USwitch, passing your driving test in Spain is almost double the cost in the UK and averages between £700 and £1100.
Although the driving lessons are slightly cheaper, taking your theory is £50 more expensive than the UK and Spanish tests also require registration fees alongside a copy of your health documents.
British expats have since taken to social media to complain about the ‘backwards’ policy that has left many unable to travel to work after the Covid pandemic delayed Spanish residency permits being issued – leaving many unable to sign up with a driving school.
Writing on the Facebook group, Brits in Spain, Ward Priestman said: That’s us screwed, due to the pandemic our TIEs [Spanish Foreigner Identity Card] were delayed and we didn’t get them until the April after the deadline.
‘I have no idea what we are going to do, we live up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. Why on earth is this so hard?’
Maria Matches, who lives in Cordova in Spain, took the advice of Hugh Elliot, UK’s Ambassador to Spain, when negotiations were announced in February – however she has not been able to book dates for her practical test, which only takes place twice a month
British expats (Pictured left and right) have taken to social media to complain about the ‘backwards’ policy that has left many unable to travel to work after the Covid pandemic delayed Spanish residency permits being issued – leaving many unable to sign up with a driving school
From today, tens of thousands of British expats are banned from using their UK driving licence on Spanish roads after the two governments failed to reach a post-Brexit agreement (File image)
Maria Matches, who lives in Cordova in Spain, took the advice of Hugh Elliot, UK’s Ambassador to Spain, when negotiations were announced in February – however she has not been able to book dates for her practical test, which only takes place twice a month.
She added: ‘Okay, we took the ambassadors advice in February, the earliest we could do this and signed up with a driving school. We’ve now passed our theory and are awaiting dates for our practical – which in Marbella only takes place on one day twice a month – and to date they are fully booked.
‘Getting a Spanish driving licence does not happen overnight. We’ve made the effort as advised but are still thwarted by time scales and availability.’
What does this new policy mean for YOU?
If you have been resident in Spain for longer than six months, your UK-issued licence will no longer be valid to drive here from 1 May.
Driving a vehicle without a valid licence is illegal in Spain.
If you are affected by this change and need to drive, you should not wait for the outcome of the ongoing negotiations and should take immediate steps to apply for a Spanish licence.
This does not affect visiting motorists from the UK or Gibraltar or UK licence holders who have recently moved to Spain.
You have six months from the date you get your residence document to take a Spanish test.
One user said: ‘UK driving licences are now not valid for drivers in Spain. This means I can’t go to work – nor can I continue my work with a dog charity here in Tenerife!
‘It’s absolutely ridiculous that you’ve tried to change it prior to Brexit!’
It comes as last night Whitehall sources blamed Spanish bureaucrats for delaying talks and missing the April 30 deadline.
Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith criticised the Spanish authorities, saying: ‘It’s a case of “Manana, manana [tomorrow, tomorrow]”. It’s time they pull their finger out and do what they agreed.’
A UK Government source said: ‘This could go on for a week or it could be longer. It should be temporary but we don’t know how temporary. In the meantime, British residents living in Spanish hill villages won’t be able to drive a car.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘An agreement to swap UK driving licences for Spanish licences has not yet been reached.
‘From May 1, UK licence holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and did not exchange their licence during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain. We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks and are urging the Spanish Government to bring forward interim measures.’
Until a deal is struck, UK expats will need to obtain a Spanish driving licence before getting back on the road.
One user on Twitter, known as Philip, said the new policy was yet another ‘obstacle’ for Brits who work in Spain or want to retire – whilst another user added it was stopping them from ‘continuing their work’ with a dog charity.
Britons living in Spain have been left furious at having to pay £1100 to pass their driving test in Spain following a a Government bungle over licence rules. Pictured above: Madrid skyline
Malaga-based Sam Britton-Beese said: ‘It’s ridiculous. Our application for residency was still in process before the deadline so we couldn’t register to exchange.’
Linda Rogers, originally from Coventry, said: ‘Our house is in the mountains and nothing is close by – I’ve tried to get into a driving school but nothing is available.’
The DGT, the Spanish equivalent of the DVLA, and Spain’s ministry of interior, were approached for comment last night.
Holidaymakers on all-inclusive packages are being restricted to six alcoholic drinks a day at hotels in parts of Ibiza and Majorca.
Under new rules announced earlier this year in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour, only three tipples are allowed at lunch and three at dinner, with guests having to pay extra if they want more.
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