Immigration office in Palma. | PLOZANO


There is a distinct possibility that hundreds if not thousands of British expats living in Spain could have to retake their driving test because they failed to changeover their licence.

The British government, through the British Embassy in Madrid, is battling to secure an agreement in the form of yet another “period of grace” in which drivers will be able to exchange their licence without the need of a driving test in Spain, but it appears that the Spanish government is rather digging in its heels.

You can see its point. “Grace periods” were granted before, but still some expats failed to make the changeover. It does appear outrageous that expats with British licences will now have to sit a new test but they were warned that this could happen. Paperwork in Spain has got more complicated in the post-Brexit era and the Spanish government no longer appears willing to give expats more time.

I had a similar problem when I presented immigration staff at Madrid airport with my green residence certificate instead of the new TIE residence card introduced for Brits following Brexit. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had years to make the changeover and the fact that I hadn't wasn't their problem. They were of course right.

In modern-day post Brexit Spain, paperwork has to be taken seriously and if you are told to make the changeover, do so, as otherwise it could leave you in the cold.