British expats living in Spain face a driving ban after the collapse of a post-Brexit deal on UK driving licences.
From May 1, thousands of Brits in Spain will no longer be able to use their UK driving license on Spanish roads – but tourists will be exempt from the new directive.
The new restriction comes as the UK and Spanish governments failed to reach an agreement on licenses issued by the DVLA by April 30, with Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith pointing the finger at European authorities.
“It’s a case of ‘mañana, mañana [tomorrow, tomorrow]'” he told him post on Sunday. “It’s time they pulled out their finger and did what they agreed to do.”
Until May 1, Britons living in Spain were able to use their DVLA-issued licenses to travel, but weeks of chaos could now ensue as alternative measures to reach an agreement are pursued. It comes as every other European nation has a post-Brexit deal on British drivers.
A UK Government source said: “This could take a week or longer. It should be temporary, but we don’t know how temporary. Meanwhile, British residents living in Spanish hilltop villages will not be able to drive.”
A Foreign Office spokesman added: “An agreement to exchange UK driving licenses for Spanish driving licenses has not yet been reached.
“From May 1st, UK license holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and have not exchanged their license during the transition period will no longer be able to legally drive in Spain. We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks and urge the Spanish government to take interim measures.”
The change will not apply to holidaymakers, who can continue to use their UK driving license in the country.
Anyone affected by the ban is advised to take immediate steps to apply for a Spanish driver’s license, which includes both a theory test and a practical test.
Meanwhile, Spain continues to crack down on anti-social behavior by restricting holidaymakers to six alcoholic drinks a day at hotels in parts of Ibiza and Mallorca, with guests paying extra if they want more.
The official guide on the UK Government website for UK expats in Spain says the following:
“If you have a valid UK driving licence:
- If you lived in Spain from 1 May 2022 before 1 January 2021 your valid UK driving license is no longer valid for driving in Spain.
- If you have moved to Spain after 1st January 2021 your valid UK driving license will be accepted for 6 months from the date you take up residency.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-british-expats-spain-driving-ban-b2069366.html British expats living in Spain cannot drive after failing to reach the Brexit deal