Not all foreign drivers’ licenses can be exchanged for a Spanish license. Certain countries don not have a driving license agreements with Spain, therefore these citizens must pass a Spanish driving test before being able to drive legally in Spain.
If you are from an EU country and have a valid license and two years of driving experience, you can simply exchange your license. You can collect the altered license from the Jefatura Provincial de Trafico, which is located in Madrid. The address is:
C/Arturo Soria, 143
However if you are from a country outside of the EU, you must retake your driving test in Spain. In order to apply for a Spanish license you must first become a resident. You are permitted to use your foreign license for up to 6 months upon arriving in the country, which should give you enough time to get your residency paperwork in order.
To exchange your license you must present the following paperwork:
- A completed an application form (Solicitud de Carnet del Permiso de Conducir), available at the “información-impresos” counter at the provincial traffic department or at the following link: http://www.valdemoro.es/ficheros/descargar.asp?FileId=2477.
- Your Spanish residence permit (residencia) and a photocopy.
- Your current foreign driving licence and a photocopy.
- A sworn written statement that your licence hasn’t been suspended and that you don’t own another driver’s license.
- Three passport photographs.
The exchange fee is 17.60 euros (the same price as for the replacement of a lost or damaged licence).
If you hold a non-EU driver’s license that is eligible for a license exchange, you will also need an official translation of your license and a certificate of equivalence (certificado de equivalencia) available from the Royal Automobile Club of Spain (http://www.race.es/), a medical certificate of fitness to drive and a stamped self-addressed envelope. You can ascertain whether your country has an agreement with Spain on your countries embassy website.
It will take one to three months to receive your Spanish license. You should also receive a receipt for your application and a copy of your foreign license, which is valid until you receive your Spanish license. When you receive your Spanish license, your foreign license is returned to the issuing authority abroad. If you change your address, you must apply to have the address on your license changed which is free.
There is no need to make appointments in order to submit any of the paperwork, but the process is time consuming.
The standard way to get a driver’s license is to contact a driving school. These schools will tutor you and deal with the paperwork needed to book your test. However, keep in mind that driving schools in Madrid can be quite pricey, as you are charged per class. Therefore, the more classes you require, the more expensive. There is no mandatory amount of classes that you must take, and classes may be offered in English depending on the driving school. You will have to take both a theoretical and a practical test, which can be taken in English, as long as you inform your driving instructor beforehand. You should also request a driver’s manual in English from your school if necessary.
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