If you are a resident in Tenerife and you are still using your UK driving licence then maybe it’s time to think about exchanging your licence for a Spanish one.
In January of 2015 new European regulations are coming into force and once this happens, if you are stopped by the Traffic Police while driving with a UK licence and you are a resident, you will be liable for a 200€ fine.
Over the years there have been several variations concerning driving licence regulations, many residents will have their UK licences already inscribed in the Santa Cruz Traffic Department and been issued with an A5 paper document to accompany the licence.
The Spanish work with a system where the licence is renewed periodically, depending on age and personal circumstances. The drivers undergo a medical examination to assess physical and mental fitness. This is done at one of the authorised centres called ‘Centros de Reconocimiento’; there is one next to the ‘Trafico’ Office in Santa Cruz and several in the south of the Island. The examination is a combination of an eye test, co-ordination and reflects tests and questions about your general health.
At the moment UK licence holders can exchange their licences without the requirement of a medical examination, however, this can change in January of 2015 with the enforcement of the new EU directive. If you are amongst the drivers who previously inscribed their UK licences, you can exchange your licence immediately, but make sure the expiry date of the inscription is still valid.
Should You Change Your Licence?
Although it’s not an obligation to Exchange a UK plastic licence until January of 2015, there have been many stories of Traffic Police Officers issuing fines and drivers have had to appeal to the Traffic Office to cancel them. All in all, it seems to make sense to get the ball rolling and convert your licence to a Spanish one in the not too distant future. It’s quite a straight forward procedure and it’s done in two stages.
The Two Stage Process
*Please note that you'll need to present a photo (passport style), in the second part of this process.
Firstly, you must present your original valid licence along with proof of ID at the Traffic Office in Santa Cruz and complete an authorisation form allowing them to access your details with the DVLA. This can take from two to six weeks before ‘Trafico’ receive confirmation. Then you will be notified by telephone that your licence is ready to be exchanged.
On your second trip to the ‘Trafico’ Office you will be asked to complete various declaration forms, pay a current fee of 27,10€ and hand over your original driving licence. You will be given a paper/card temporary licence, which is valid for 60 days and you will receive your new plastic Spanish licence through the post.
Let Lindsay Schewalie help you change your driving licence quickly.