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Can a foreigner drive in Spain?

The driver’s license in Spain is that document responsible for a person being allowed to drive a car within the country. But have you ever wondered what happens if you are a foreigner? Is a license from another country valid in Spanish territory? In this article we tell you!

Requirements to drive in Spain if you are a foreigner

The first step to drive in Spain as a foreigner is to have a valid driver’s license that complies with the corresponding regulations in the country. For this reason, we explain below the different cases that may arise:

European Union drivers

If you come from a country belonging to the European Union or the European Economic Area, your driving license will be valid within Spain, as long as it is valid.

Drivers from other countries

If you do not belong to the European Union or the European Economic Area, the procedure for driving in Spain is different. In this case, you will have to apply for an international driving license.

International Permit

When we talk about international license we refer to a complementary license that is valid for one year and allows you to drive in most parts of the world.

In this sense, it consists of a main cover and 16 pages, in which your personal data and authorized permissions are stated in different languages (Spanish, German, English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian).

However, it is important that you accompany this document with your passport and driver’s license from your country of origin to validate it. In addition, this permit does not allow you to circulate in the country in which it is issued.

To apply for the international driving license you can do it online through the web portal of the Dirección General de Tráfico (in the case of Spain), or in person, at a Traffic Office.

Depending on your country of origin, you will have to go to the corresponding offices and make your application and collect your international permit, in order to be able to drive on Spanish roads.


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Driver’s license for permanent residents in Spain

Are you a foreigner and have already obtained your permanent residence in Spain? In this case, you will be able to use the driver’s license of your country of origin for a maximum of 6 months. After this period of time, you must apply for a new Spanish driver’s license.

How to apply for a driver’s license?

To start the process and obtain your Spanish driver’s license you must take into account the regulations of the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT):

  1. Proof of Spanish residency

  2. To have the required psychophysical aptitudes in relation to the license to be applied for.

  3. Be declared apt by the provincial or local traffic headquarters in both theoretical and practical tests.

  4. No criminal record or driving prohibition by a judicial body.


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Countries with bilateral agreement with Spain

In some opportunities, there is the possibility of exchanging your driver’s license for a Spanish license. In this way, there is a kind of homologation of the driving license in those countries that have a bilateral agreement with Spain.

Which are these countries?

Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Macedonia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

On the other hand, if you plan to drive type C and D vehicles, trucks and buses, it is necessary to take additional tests and pay a higher fee of 94.05 euros to complete the procedure.

However, if you are going to drive type A and B vehicles, motorcycles and normal cars, you will not have to take any additional test, and the amount to be paid for the procedure is around 28.87 euros.

As a foreigner, you have probably heard about the ease of transportation within Spain, as there are several means that facilitate your mobility such as buses, trains, subways, companies like Uber, among others.

However, if you are one of those who need to drive a car and move between big cities or simply want to enjoy the ride, it is important that you know the relevant regulations that allow you to drive in Spanish territory depending on your country of origin and your immigration status.


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Would you like to be informed about the different immigration procedures and formalities? Visit our website and keep up to date with the latest Spanish news with TAS Consultancy!

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