Changes to Rules on Driving Licences in Spain

Changes to Rules on Driving Licences in Spain: discover what only the top, expert criminal lawyer in Spain know about changes to rules on driving licences in spain

Since 2013, all European Union countries have issued a single driving licence that allows the bearer to drive in any European Union States, without the need to apply locally to obtain a new licence if they have changed their country of residence.

However, as of January 2015, non-Spanish EU citizens resident in Spain ought to obtain a Spanish driving licence if their current licence corresponds to any of the following descriptions:

  • a licence that is valid for 15 years or more, and qualified to drive vehicles classified as Group 1 (AM, A1, A2, A, B and BE).
  • a licence that is valid for 5 years or more, and qualified to drive vehicles classified as Group 2 (BTP, C1 and BE).
  • a licence that is currently expired or about to expire.


Legislation & Penalties

The requirement arises as a result of the need to comply with EU Community Directive 2006/126/CE and it’s transposition to the General Regulation of Drivers (RD 818/2009 of the 8th of May), to correct differences between the EU States with regard to the renovation period applied to driving licences.

It is important to highlight that Tráfico, the Spanish Government Department responsible for licencing matters, may impose fines of up to 200 € on drivers who are driving in Spain without having renewed their driving licence, as it is considered to be a serious offence within the definition of Article 65.4.ll of the Road Safety legislation. Road Traffic penalties may be of a minor nature (fines up to 100 €), serious (up to 200 €) and very serious (up to 500 €), all of which may be appealed.

These penalties may be paid applying the appropriate discount of 50% as stipulated in the current legislation, or appealed, following the process established by law.



It should be borne in mind that if the first option is chosen, ie. pay the fine voluntarily to benefit from the discount,  the only appeal then permissible by law is the formal Administrative Contentious Appeal (Recurso Contencioso Administrativo) with the consequent costs of a lawyer and a Procurador (an officer of the court required by law to represent appellants and defendants in court proceedings).

On the other hand, if the second option is chosen, i.e to appeal against the fine, the time-frame within which an appeal must be lodged is 20 days from the day after notification of the fine was received, or if it was not possible to notify, then on the day after publication of the notification in the official government noticeboard of Traffic Sanctions (Tablón Edictal de Sanciones de Tráfico).

If the person who has received notification of a fine does not formally respond to the penalty that they have been notified of, nor pay the fine within the 20 days stipulated, this shall be considered to be a decisive act within the penalty procedure, and as such, the penalty shall be enforced automatically, on the day after the 30 day period following the notification.


Failure to Pay Fines

If payment is not made voluntarily, Tráfico may enforce the fine by obtaining details of any bank accounts via the Tax Authority Hacienda and placing an embargo on said accounts to ensure payment of the penalty.

Bearing in mind the summary nature of the fines, which can be levied by the police when a car is stopped for any reason, it is strongly advised that if you have a driver’s licence as described at the beginning of this article, and you are resident in Spain, then you should have that licence exchanged for a Spanish licence and carry your residence card at all times when driving.

13 Lawyers Offering Road Traffic Offences Services in Spain

Testimonials for our Road Traffic Offences service
  • Karen McClelland
    Karen McClelland, Ibiza

    Rosa was very helpful and explained everything to us . We would have been in a terrible state if it hadn’t been for Rosa , Rosa always answered our inquiries very efficiently and quickly. We would highly recommend Rosa

    Dec 15, 2020
  • Jessica Evans
    Jessica Evans, Mallorca

    Rosa was very clear & explained everything very clearly step by step a true professional a pleasure to deal with.

    Nov 03, 2020
  • Mark Underhill
    Mark Underhill, Mazarron

    We had a legal problem in Spain and the allocated solicitor, Consuelo, helped us solve the issue. Right from the beginning she was extremely professional and understanding of our needs. It was obvious that she knew exactly what was required.

    We felt completely at ease and presented very knowledgeable in respect of legal procedures. I would highly recommend the Advocate Abroad service to anyone in a tight spot in need of legal help.

    In terms of what could have been improved, maybe time from initial phone call requesting service to client contact could be a bit quicker, but that's the only thing.

    Sep 29, 2020
  • Vicky Bailey
    Vicky Bailey, Marbella

    Speedy response. Very approachable.

    Jun 14, 2020
  • Elin Dahms Konig
    Elin Dahms Konig, Seville

    I recommend Rafa who helped me through a tough situation where I was wrongly accused in a case of fraud. His advice, support and professionalism were outstanding!

    Feb 28, 2020
  • Robert Melvin
    Robert Melvin, Seville

    I was extremely happy with Rafael during my case. He always responded promptly to any questions I had. I found both his spoken and written English to be excellent, even with complex legal matters.

    He explained any query I had very well and if there was anything I was unsure of he explained thoroughly. I was extremely impressed with the level of professionalism throughout the process together. I would highly recommend Rafael to anyone needing a lawyer in Spain. It was a pleasure to work with him.

    Dec 08, 2019
  • Stefan Olivier
    Stefan Olivier, Ibiza

    Rosa was incredibly helpful and also patient with me. I would recommend her to anyone as she is incredibly professional and knows how to advise a distressed client brilliantly.

    Sep 07, 2019
  • Jason McNabb
    Jason McNabb, Fuengirola

    Very professional and a first class service at very short notice.

    Everything was under control in a short space of time. Alvaro was a man of his word. Anything he said he would do he done it. Me and my family appreciate everything you done for my brother thank you so much.

    Jul 16, 2019
  • Clare Parlour
    Clare Parlour, Mallorca

    Initially I had a lot of communication but as time went on it was difficult to get prompt responses and I felt frustrated by the Spanish system and lack of understanding.

    It has now been transferred to the UK but this was done through the court and not the solicitor. it took 3 months for our file to turn up in the UK and I think that was more by luck.

    More regular communication especially as we didn't know the Spanish legal system.

    Jul 09, 2019
  • Andy and Diane Heston
    Andy and Diane Heston, Fuengirola

    We have recently had to employ the services of a lawyer, to deal with a very serious and distressing problem. We found Alvero and made a phone call to him ,within seconds of speaking to him he proved to be the lawyer to represent us.

    His knowledge of our particular problem was in depth and precise he listened carefully and gave us really sound and honest advice. His professionalism in handling our case has been impressive to say the least but he has also remained sympathetic and constantly kept us up to date with everything he has been doing at every stage.

    This has helped to minimize the stress at this extremely stressful time I would have no hesitation in recommending Alvero. His professionalism and whole attitude towards his clients is second to none

    May 24, 2019
  • Nicholas Lee
    Nicholas Lee, Palma

    Very good. Made me feel very comfortable in a difficult situation and helped me resolve the issue in a calm, efficient and cost effective manner. Highly recommended.

    Feb 15, 2019
  • Rhys Keely
    Rhys Keely, Mallorca

    Rosa was very understanding and helpful in all matters. She explained everything and went above and beyond to assist.

    So lucky to have found her at a difficult time.

    Jan 29, 2019
  • Val
    Val, France

    Francisca was extremely helpful. We especially appreciated the clarity and sensitivity to our situation.

    Jan 08, 2019
  • David Grundy
    David Grundy, UK

    Jose was very polite and we received an excellent service from him.

    Nothing was to much trouble and his communication was 2nd to none. Highly recommended!

    Aug 24, 2018
  • John Wedlake
    John Wedlake, Murro de Alcoi, Spain

    Very satisfied with Jose-Antonio's service, in particular I appreciated the completely honest appraisal of the situation. Will definitely use this service again.

    Jul 30, 2017
  • Andriy Shevchuk
    Andriy Shevchuk, Ukraine, Lviv

    Jose Antonio is a very professional lawyer. He have very good experience and clear vision of case. Also digging deeply in all details.

    Very professional Lawyer.

    Apr 05, 2017
  • KSC
    KSC, Ireland

    She was very helpful, always happy to assist.

    I was very satisfied with the service.

    Oct 18, 2016
  • Martin Rawlings
    Martin Rawlings, Baza

    I am very pleased with the time and trouble taken by Álvaro in advising me and acting on my behalf.

    His English was more or less fluent and I would definitely use his services again.

    Apr 07, 2016