I received my renewed Permiso de Conducción (driving license) in the mail yesterday.
About ten years ago, I had handed in my fold-out British driving license to exchange it for a Spanish Permiso, and was issued with a local one. The whole process was really easy peasy. I had to pass a medical test, then, including a rather silly computer screen steering and mobility test, as well as an eye examination. The British driving license was revoked at the time, and the new Spanish one was valid for a period of five years.
Five years ago, same procedure again. This time, the new Spanish driving license was the size of a credit card.
The second period of validity was up again mid-June this year. So, off I went for another examination of my sensuous abilities. This time, my blood pressure was taken as well at the clinic in Felanitx (see photo). The hearing test was now conducted inside of a sound-proof cubicle and involved some high-pitch noises, one of which was so high that I could only guess but not hear it. Luckily, I was given the all-clear again. And, as I mentioned above, the new Carnet arrived in the post just then.
The thing is, as a tourist you don’t need to do any of this when driving in Spain. But as a resident, your foreign driving license is only valid in Spain for up to six months after your arrival. After that, you have to pass a Spanish driving test, unless that is, unless your driving license was issued by one of the European Union countries, in which case the driving license held will simply be swapped. All you have to do is what I had to do, have some passport photos taken, plus pay some 70 odd euros (50 something for the examination and 20 plus for the Dirección General de Tráfico), hand over and revoke your old license and sit and wait for some six weeks for the new card to arrive at your door step.
If the Tráfico police will catch you without the proper Spanish Permiso, you will incur some trouble and may be fined.
The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 15th, 2010. The time was 17:28:16.