Driving licenses that will no longer be valid from 2022

The side effects of Brexit were manifold, and the start of the new year brings new ones. On December 31, 2020, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland effectively ceased to belong to the European Union, which amended several agreements between the two institutions, such as the validity of driver’s licenses.

As it has become a non-EU country, all transit agreements within the EU are no longer valid for holders of UK driving licenses. However, to facilitate a more advanced adjustment, after the withdrawal agreement, a transitional period was established that granted some advantages in terms of citizens’ rights, such as extending the recognition of driver’s licenses between the two institutions until December 31, 2021.

From 1 January 2022, British driving licenses will only be valid to drive in Spain for a period of six months

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This agreement allowed for valid and valid driver’s licenses issued by the British authorities to enable their holders to drive in Spain until that date. A few days before the end of the year it is important to make clear what the new rules will be and how valid permits will be between our country and the UK.


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According to the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), from 1 January 2022, the system for driving licenses issued by British authorities will be the same as for licenses issued in third countries, in accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of the General Drivers Regulations. This means that it will only be valid to drive for a period of six months, from the holder’s entry into Spain or from the date of obtaining legal residence.

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The British will have 6 months to drive in Spain, after which their driver’s license will no longer be valid.

Once this period of time has elapsed, the person will not be able to continue driving across the country if they do not obtain a new Spanish driver’s licence. This is because at the moment “there is no signed permit exchange agreement with the UK”, as they explain from the DGT, “they are working on it”. In this way, “British people who drive in our country will have 6 months to drive, and from that moment on their driver’s license will no longer be valid,” they point out.

However, as explained on the DGT’s online headquarters, at the time, British driver’s license holders were given the option to request replacement, replacement or exceptional renewal before 31 December 2020. This procedure allows those who requested them to replace their permit from 2022 on the same conditions before exit Britain from the European Union. This means that the authorities change your driver’s license to an equivalent Spanish license, as is currently the case with any member state of the European Union and the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway).

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During the Brexit transition agreement period, EU drivers were able to drive vehicles on their territory without the need for an international driving license.

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“The grace period of 6 months and the possibility to obtain, exchange or renew your license if you apply in time, until December 30, 2020, guarantees you the ability to drive in Spain with all guarantees always and when you formalize the process within the stipulated six-month period on her,” according to a report by DGT.

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What about the Spaniards who drive their cars in the UK?

The regulations are the same in both cases, they are referring from traffic. From 1 January 2022, the Spaniards will have six months to drive through the UK and once that time period is up, they will not be able to trade anymore as there is currently no agreement.

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In any case, the government of Spain advises on its website that “the information published by the British authorities on the use of driver’s licenses in that country is checked” before embarking on the journey.

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