A Spanish driving licence (licencia de conducción) is the standard EU model: a plastic, credit card-sized permit with photograph. Older licences are laminated pink cards with a photograph of the holder.

Legal Driving Ages and Permit Types

• Mopeds and vehicles for people with reduced mobility: 14 years

• Permit A1 (motorbikes maximum power 11 KW and 125cc): 16 years

• Permit A (motorbikes, with at least two years experience driving motorbikes of category A1): 18 years

• Permit B (vehicles with a maximum weight of 3.500 Kg and with a maximum of 9 seats, including the driver’s): 18 years

• Permit C (vehicles with weight over 3.500 Kg): 21 years

• D (vehicles for the transport of passengers): 21 years

Validity and Licence Renewal

A standard Spanish driving licence for a private car or bike is valid for ten years when the holder is aged 18 to 45 years of age; from 45 up to 70 it is valid for five years, and two years from 70 on. A person over the age of 70 will be asked to present a medical certificate whenever the driving licence needs renewal.

The periods of validity may be altered for drivers with certain progressive illnesses or disabilities.

Licence Renewal

A licence must be renewed at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) of the holder’s province of residence before its validity lapses. Provincial Traffic Offices are in Cartagena and Murcia.

Documentation required:

• Completed application form issued by the Provincial Traffic Headquarters

• The licence to be renewed

• Photocopy (and original) of a Spanish identity, Residence Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia) or a copy of the passport along with the NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjer) as proof of address in Spain

• Certificate of psychological aptitude issued by the Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) of the province of residence of the applicant with a recent photograph

• Two recent photographs (32 by 25 mm) taken at the same time as the one on the aptitude certificate

The Spanish Driving Examination

Applicants for a Spanish driving permit or licence must be resident in Spain. Application must be made at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura de Tráfico) of the province of residence.

Note: Driving schools play a significant part in the process and are able to take care of making the application and submitting the documents for driver’s exams. It is important to seek their advice before setting out to take a Spanish driving exam.

Making the application

Documents needed:

• A certificate of psychophysical aptitude issued by the Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) with one photo. This certificate is valid for a period of 90 days

• Application and application fee

• Two passport-sized photographs

• Photocopy (and original) of a Spanish Residence Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia) or a copy of the passport along with the NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjer) as proof of address in Spain

• Declaration in writing that there is no legal process pending nor licence suspension that forbids the right to drive

• Declaration in writing that no other licence of the same category is held

Driving Licence Test

There are two parts to the test, one theoretical and one practical. Both must be passed to be considered competent. All tests are in Spanish although a translator can attend the practical exam.

Traffic Offences and Penalties

Spain monitors a driver’s traffic offences with a points system. A diving licence starts with a credit of 12 points in the case of experienced drivers, and 8 during a new driver’s first three years of driving.

A person caught speeding (for example) loses three points from their licence. If a driver loses all 12 points, the driving licence will be withdrawn for a year, and once the year is up, the driver will have to take a special test and a course, as well as the usual theoretical and practical driving tests in order to be given a new licence.

A licence’s points status can be checked online on the Traffic Department website www.dgt.es (in Spanish).

Licence Lost, Stolen or Changing Address

If a licence is lost, damaged or stolen, or needs an address change, the Provincial Road Traffic authority will issue a replacement licence. The replacement licence is issued free of charge in the event of change of address.

Any change in the information which appears in the driving licence has to be communicated to the official Regional or Local Spanish Traffic offices within 15 days of the change.

More detailed information on this subject including Foreign Driving Licences in Spain, Residency permits, NIE and a direct link to the licence points status check page are available at www.angloinfo.com.

This article is an extract from an AngloINFO INFOrmation sheet

The latest updates are available at http://costacalida.angloinfo.com/information.asp

Bill Boyd

Director AngloINFO Costa Calida

costacalida@angloinfo.com

(Copyright © 2009 AngloINFO Limited. All Rights Reserved)