The British Ambassador is coming under mounting pressure over driving licences. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The delay in a new deal being reached between the British and Spanish government over the validity of UK driving licences in Spain appears to have tested the patience of tens of thousands of British residents who have failed to have exchanged their UK licence for a Spanish one.

In early July the British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, said that a deal was due to have been reached by the end of July - it did not happen.

He said that negotiations were due to have continued during August with a deal on the table, but still nothing has been achieved and now British residents are planning on taking protest action.

A Facebook site called “Invasion of the British embassy in Madrid for the DL exchange lssue” has been set up it states that the aim of the group “is to organise a demonstration at the British Embassy in Madrid regarding the problem of the exchange of British licences in Spain. The primary aim of this event will be for a delegation to have a discussion with the Ambassador and his staff. Any violence or calls for violence will not be tolerated.”

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The latest update from the embassy was on August 26:
“The negotiations remain a top priority and teams are working hard to conclude them as quickly as possible. In the last two weeks, we have made further progress on the annexes and we and DfT are currently waiting for the Spanish to come back to us on some outstanding points. As soon as we have anything further to update on, we will let you know.

"We are very aware of the difficulties and frustration this is causing many of you – particularly in the heat of the summer. We read all your messages and continue to share examples of the difficulties being faced with the negotiating teams. A reminder that if you find yourself in a really vulnerable position, please do call our consular team on 0034 917 146 300 who will do their best to advise on any support that may be available.”

One of the most recent difficulties has been for Britons wishing to sign the books of condolence to the Queen, many have been unable to do so because they are currently unable to drive and they vented their anger and frustration on the Brits in Spain government Facebook site plus in Twitter.

In the meantime, the only solution is to take a Spanish driving test or hire a car. A hire car can be driven by a British resident using a UK licence.