British expats in Spain given major update after UK driving licence ban

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In May, it was announced that British expats in Spain would be banned from driving after UK officials were unable to reach an agreement with their Spanish counterparts. This meant that tens of thousands of Britons living in Spain were banned from using their UK driving licence on Spain’s roads.

Until this point, Britons living in Spain had been able to use their DVLA-issued licences.

While the change did not apply to holidaymakers, many were still furious about the restrictions, with some blaming Brexit for the law changes.

According to Uswitch, passing a driving test in Spain is almost double the cost in the UK and averages between £700 and £1,100.

Although lessons are slightly cheaper, taking the theory test is £50 more expensive than the UK, with Spanish tests also requiring registration fees alongside a copy of health documents.

Britons have now been given an update from the Embassy on the Brits in Spain Facebook page.

It explained that “intensive talks” have continued this week, with UK and Spanish officials having a “productive” meeting.

There remains some more work to be done on both sides to agree to certain annexes.

Also this week, the Ambassador met with citizens’ rights groups representing UK Nationals from across Spain to hear their perspectives on local issues and answer questions from their members.

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Negotiations are expected to take place into August, with Spain confirming its intention to speak with the British Government.

The post continued: “We recognise that many people are considering their whereabouts over August and so would like to know more about the negotiation timeline. 

“Although, as we’ve said before, it’s impossible to give an exact date on when they will conclude, we want to be open about the fact things may take longer than we’d like during August.

“Once the negotiation teams have agreed the text, it will then go forward for final legal and political approvals. 

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“On the Spanish side, this means going through the ‘Consejo de Ministros’ (Spanish Cabinet). 

“On the UK side, it will be approved by relevant Ministers.

“Then it will be published in the BOE (state bulletin) and should come into force the same day.”

Drivers will then have six months to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one without having to take a test.

During that time, they will be able to drive using their UK licence.

The agreement will apply to anyone holding a UK licence, whether they were in Spain before the end of 2020 or whether they move in the future.

Expired licences shall be accepted provided that they were valid at the time that the licence holder entered Spain.

The Spanish authorities are responsible for the appointments for drivers to exchange their licences.

Expats in the country are encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible and not to leave it until the last minute.

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