British expats slam ‘unfair’ driving licence update and blame Spain
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The British authorities are currently locked in negotiations with Spanish officials to deal with the recognition of UK-issued driving licences. Since May, Britons living in Spain have been banned from using their UK driving licences on Spanish roads.
It is estimated that almost 200,000 British nationals live in Spain, with holidaymakers spared from the new rule changes.
In the years before, British expats living in Spain were able to use their DVLA-issued licences.
Most other European countries have now agreed a post-Brexit deal, with Spain still not having a deal.
The “Brits in Spain” Facebook page has been updated to provide more information about the driving licence negotiations.
Many commenters and expats have expressed their concerns about a lack of an update, with it being almost three weeks since the last statement.
The British Embassy and Consulate page said: “Please be assured that work continues intensively between the British and Spanish authorities, even when we don’t post.
“And, of course, the events of last week overtook all of our communications.
“We recognise that the negotiations are taking longer than we anticipated and longer than either you or we want.
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“We know that, above all else, you want to know when you will be able to drive.”
The statement confirmed that they were making “genuine” progress on resolving outstanding points, but they cannot be definitive about a timescale.
They added that if a British expat needs to drive, they would advise them to consider taking a test.
However, they did acknowledge that this can take some time to sort out.
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In terms of giving more detail, the update said the outstanding issues were “complex” and they cannot comment on all the detail.
They continued by saying: “We know that this is frustrating to hear and we don’t underestimate the huge impact this is having on those of you affected.
“As soon as we are able to provide a further update we will, but we are afraid that we cannot respond to every individual message that comes in.
“However, as soon as we have new information we will make it public.”
Many in the comments were frustrated with the update, saying that it had taken far too long to reach a conclusion.
One commenter, Colin Wilson, highlighted how every EU country (apart from Italy) accepts British driving licence for residents of EU countries.
He added: “These ongoing and seemingly endless negotiations are grossly unfair, and constitute a massive denigration of our EU residents’ rights.
“Disappointed isn’t the word, for my feelings towards the British Embassy in Madrid.”
Another driver, Edward Lambert, said: “This update is definitely a backward step, saying if you must drive take a test which may take up to three months suggests 2023 before any of us are driving.
“Absolutely no comments on why they can’t get a temporary extension to drive like was happening before.”
Janet Elizabeth Kay Cox claimed: “It must be a Spanish problem since this issue isn’t affecting British citizens emigrating to other EU countries.
“Blaming this on Brexit is disingenuous. It’s the Spanish Government taking advantage of Brexit to be stubborn. Other EU countries have been more gracious.”
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