Brits living in Spain face road chaos as they are banned from driving after failed Brexit
From today, tens of thousands of Britons will no longer be able to use their UK driving licenses on Spanish roads as the two governments failed to reach an agreement by April 30.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Britons living in Spain are facing a transport crisis as they were banned from driving after post-Brexit talks broke down.
From May 1, tens of thousands of British expats will no longer be able to use their UK driving licenses on Spanish roads – although tourists will be exempt from the tough new policy.
The British and Spanish governments failed to reach an agreement over licenses issued by the DVLA by the April 30 deadline, with Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith pointing the finger at European authorities.
“It’s a case of ‘mañana, mañana [tomorrow, tomorrow]”” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“It’s time they took their finger off and did what they agreed.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “A deal to swap UK driving licenses for Spanish licenses has not yet been agreed.
“From May 1, UK license holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and who have not exchanged their license during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain.
“We have agreed to rapidly accelerate the talks and urge the Spanish government to offer interim measures.”
Until now, Britons living in Spain have been allowed to use their DVLA-issued licenses on the roads, while all other European countries have reached a post-Brexit deal for UK drivers.
The change does not apply to holidaymakers, who can still use their UK driving license while in the country.
Anyone affected by the ban is urged to take immediate action to apply for a Spanish license, which will involve both theory and a practical test.
Official guidelines on the UK government website state the following.
“If you have a valid UK driving licence:
- From 1 May 2022, if you lived in Spain before 1 January 2021 your valid UK driving license will no longer be valid to drive in Spain.
- If you moved to Spain after January 1, 2021, your valid UK permit will be recognized for 6 months from the date you were granted residency.”
An expat told the Mail she had tried to get into a driving school to get a Spanish license but “nothing is available”.
It is the latest Spanish crackdown on foreigners after a ‘six drinks a day’ limit was introduced for alcoholic tourists in a bid to curb anti-social behavior in hotspots.
The new law will apply to resorts on islands like Ibiza and Mallorca, as well as some hotels in the Balearic Islands, and means holidaymakers will be forced to pay extra if they want more than three free alcoholic drinks per meal.
First announced in January, the alcohol rule has caught the attention of hundreds of British holidaymakers who are now arriving in the islands for a spring getaway.
Jason Walker, 42, only learned of the rule when he arrived in Mallorca for his cousin’s birthday this week.
“We only found out when we arrived and only budgeted so much because we thought all of our food and drink would be covered,” he said.
“We were very upset and angry.
“We came as a family of eight to celebrate my cousin’s 40th birthday and although we still had a great time, we incurred additional costs as a result.”