Oh dear, oh dear: Another Brexit dividend has kicked in for thousands of British expats living in Spain, after an agreement about the validity of UK driving licences expired – without an extension being granted.
Why UK drivers could be banned from driving in Spain
From Sunday 1 May (today), Spain and its traffic authorities will no longer consider the UK driving licence a valid one. That means any Brit who is permanently housed in the Iberian nation will now be banned from driving there, until a solution is found.
Talks are ongoing between the UK and Spain, as both countries look to find a way forward. However, with no agreement sorted by the end of April, road-using British citizens will have to keep their cars at home for the time being.
- This legal complication only applies to permanent UK residents in Spain – tourists can still hire cars and drive as usual.
- Those who moved to Spain BEFORE 1 January 2021 will no longer have their UK licences considered ‘valid’
- Those who moved to Spain AFTER 1 January 2021 will only have UK licences considered valid ‘from six months after residency was obtained’.
- Tens of thousands of expats are now being asked to retake both theory AND practical tests to obtain a Spanish licence.
- According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, talks to resolve this issue have been ‘rapidly accelerated’.
Driving licence row blamed on Brexit paperwork
The Foreign Office has also explained that interim measures are likely to bridge the gap between now and when a legitimate deal can be ironed out. But, for the meantime, Brits abroad are being screwed-over by yet another Brexit complication.
“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.”UK Foreign Office