When must a foreigner change their driver’s license to a Spanish one? 


For those who come to Spain for tourism, to settle down, or to work, having a driving license is crucial. If the driver’s license is issued in a foreign country with which Spain has an agreement, it is valid in Spain and can be exchanged for a Spanish driver’s license. However, if the driver’s license is in the Hungarian card format, it can be used in Spain and doesn’t need to be exchanged if it’s valid and the person stays in Spain for less than six months. According to Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament (December 20, 2006), a person cannot possess more than one driving license issued in different EU countries at the same time. If the person moves to another EU country, they usually don’t need to exchange their previous driver’s license for a local one.When is it mandatory to change the driver’s license to Spanish?

WHEN IS IT STILL MANDATORY TO REPLACE YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE?

  • If your driver’s license is lost, stolen, or destroyed, you must replace it immediately.
  • If you are a resident in Spain, it is mandatory to exchange your driver’s license for a Spanish one after six months of living there. Additionally, if you have committed a traffic violation in Spain, it is better to say that you are a tourist and immediately start the process of exchanging your driver’s license.
  • Those who have been living in Spain or any other EU country for more than two years and have a driving license that is valid for an unlimited period of time can continue using their license. However, in case of any issues, authorities accept the consular certificate of the Hungarian driver’s license issued by the consular office after data reconciliation with the competent Hungarian authorities to obtain a Spanish driver’s license.

EXCHANGE A FOREIGN DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR A SPANISH DRIVER’S LICENSE

When exchanging your foreign driver’s license for a Spanish driver’s license, you need to keep in mind the following factors:

– You can only exchange your foreign driver’s license if you obtained it before becoming a resident in Spain.

– If you want to exchange your license for type A (motorcycles) or B (cars) vehicles, you don’t need to take any test; the exchange can be done directly.

– However, if you want to exchange your license for AC (trucks) or D (buses) vehicles, you may need to take both a practical and a theoretical test.

– The basic cost of the procedure, without any additional exams, is €28.87.

– If you need to take an exam, the cost of the procedure will be €94.05.

WHEN IS IT NOT POSSIBLE TO EXCHANGE A FOREIGN DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR A SPANISH LICENSE?

  • If you’re from a country that doesn’t have an agreement with Spain, then you’ll need to obtain a new driver’s license.
  • If you received your foreign driver’s license while living in Spain, it won’t be valid.
  • If your driver’s license was issued in PDF format (for example, in Venezuela), it will not comply with European standards. Finally
  • If you’re a professional driver from a non-EU country, you won’t be able to exchange your driver’s license for a Spanish one. Instead, you’ll have to attend a practical and theoretical course and pass a test.

WHAT DO YOU NEED IF YOU WANT TO EXCHANGE YOUR FOREIGN DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR A SPANISH LICENSE?

To apply for a Spanish driver’s license, you need to fill out an official form that includes a statement confirming that you have not been disqualified from driving motor vehicles and mopeds, and that your license is not restricted, suspended or cancelled. 

You also need to provide proof of your identity and place of residence, such as a valid identity card or passport. The traffic police authority (DGT) will require authorization to check your registration telematically. This involves contacting the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior for data reconciliation which may take up to 2-3 months. Until this procedure is completed, the DGT will not be able to issue your Spanish driver’s license. However, if your Hungarian driver’s license is still valid during this time, you can drive with a certificate issued by the DGT.

You also need to provide a psychophysical fitness report issued by a driver certification center, which should not be older than 90 days. Additionally, a valid foreign driver’s license that must be exchanged, a document confirming the payment of the procedural fee, and a current, 32 x 26 mm color original photograph with a plain background, taken face-to-face, head uncovered, without dark glasses or any other clothing that would hinder your identification are required.