42.6% of UK nationals responding to an online poll* by Age in Spain have yet to acquire a Spanish driving licence.
The main reason given for not doing so was lack of clarity in the law and confusion over what was needed before a licence could be exchanged (61%). But the prospect of taking the test in Spanish, the cost of lessons and the licence application process, as well as concern about the theory were put forward as the greatest obstacles to beginning the process.
From May 1st, UK nationals resident in Spain have not been permitted to drive if they do not have a Spanish driving licence, although there is a six month period of grace for newly arrived residents (from the UK and other non-EU countries).
The results of the poll have prompted Age in Spain to produce a Guide to Driving in Spain, which is launched today.
The guide, available free online, is comprehensive. It covers all aspects of driving, from bringing your car to Spain, to how to register it, change the number plates and keep it on the road with an ITV test.
Detailed guidance on how to apply for and take the test is also included, with information on booking a medical exam, studying for the theory test, and the importance of the driving school for the practical part of the test.
There’s a section on what to do if you infringe the law – and how the penalty points system in Spain differs from that in the UK.
The information in the guide is backed up in case-study interviews with people who have gone through the process, including a former UK driving instructor who explains the differences between the UK and Spanish tests.
Speaking as a trustee of Age in Spain, Marijke Cazemier living in Andalucia, who designed the poll said:
“Our Guide to Driving in Spain will be extremely useful to anyone who has still to acquire a Spanish driving licence, and also to many of those who have done so and who want to make sure they comply with regulations for driving here.
“The poll was conducted anonymously on the social media platforms used by English-speaking nationals living in Spain, including the Age in Spain website and Facebook page, and gave us insight into what has been deterring people from either exchanging their licence whilst it was possible, or applying for the test.
Age in Spain volunteer Fiona Hulme from Denia, Valencia, said:
“This guide is vital for everyone – visitors and people coming to live in Spain. There are some important differences in the Spanish driving rules, such as how to enter and exit a roundabout – that we all need to know in order to drive legally and safely in Spain”