From today, tens of thousands of Brits will be unable to use their UK driving licence on roads in Spain as the two governments failed to come to an agreement by April 30
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Brits living in Spain are facing a transport crisis as they’ve been banned from driving after post-Brexit talks broke down.
From May 1, tens of thousands of British expats will be unable to use their UK driving licence on roads in Spain – although tourists are exempt from the harsh new policy.
The UK and Spanish governments have failed to reach an agreement about DVLA-issued licences by the April 30 deadline, with Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith pointing the finger at the European authorities.
“It’s a case of ‘mañana, mañana [tomorrow, tomorrow]’,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“It’s time they pull their finger out and do what they agreed.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “An agreement to swap UK driving licences for Spanish licences has not yet been reached.
“From May 1, UK licence holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and did not exchange their licence during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain.
“We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks and are urging the Spanish Government to bring forward interim measures.”
Until now Brits living in Spain have been permitted to use their DVLA-issued licences on the roads, while every other European nation has come to a post-Brexit agreement about UK drivers.
The change does not apply to holidaymakers, who can still use their Brit-issued driving licence while in the country.
Anyone affected by the ban is advised to take immediate steps to apply for a Spanish licence, which will involve both a theory and a practical test.
The official guidance on the UK government’s website says the following.
“If you have a valid UK driving licence:
- From 1st May 2022 if you were living in Spain before 1st January 2021, your valid UK driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Spain.
- If you moved to Spain after 1st January 2021, your valid UK licence will be recognised for 6 months from the date you obtained residence.”
One expat told the Mail she’s tried to get into a driving school to obtain a Spanish licence but “nothing is available”.
It’s the latest Spanish crackdown on foreigners after the introduction of a “six-drinks-a-day” limit on boozy tourists in an attempt to limit anti-social behaviour in hotspots.
The new law will apply to resorts on islands including Ibiza and Majorca, 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 back in January, the booze rule has caught out hundreds of British holiday-makers who are now arriving in the islands for a spring getaway.
Jason Walker, 42, only learned about the rule when he arrived in Majorca for his cousin’s birthday this week.
“We only found out when we checked in and only budgeted so much because thought all our food and drink would be covered,” he said.
“We were very upset and angry.
“We’ve come as a family of eight to celebrate my cousin’s 40th and while we have still had a good time, we have incurred extra costs as a result.”