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The Permiso de Conducción

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 The British driving license was revoked at the time, and the new Spanish one was valid for a period of five years.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.

3 replies »

  1. found the item about the driving test, licence &medical etc very usefull. Just one question, while you wait for your spanish licence to arrive, you not able to drive?

    • Sorry Steve,
      I forgot to mention that the medical centre will issue you with a paper that testifies to whom it may concern that you have passed the test, have been considered to be apt and able and that you have applied for your current license to be prolonged. With this paper you will have no problem until your new Permiso will have arrived. You just have to carry it around just like you would the old driving license.

  2. Yes, I had the test at the medical centre and the hearing test is designed for the avoidance of oncoming bats. The strange and stressful computer screen steering and mobility test was, I think, developed from the tests designed to select fighter pilots. One eye and hand controls the plane and the other is tracking the guns onto the moving target. What they did not tell me on this computer screen test is how long the test would last and also the fact that one is allowed a little ‘free go’ before the real test starts. Some people tell me that they had been asked to pick up their new Spanish licence from Palma following a phone call but as I was not in Spain for a few weeks after my test, my new licence was just posted out to me. All a bit, as you said before, easy peasy. I did ‘do’ my best Spanish at the medical center but it did not help my test marks, the doctor told me that if I live in Spain then I should speak spanish. I agreed! I also had the temporary ‘Permiso’ with me at all times and used it when I hired a car in England, the girl behind the desk at the hire company was not happy with the bit of paper but after the manager was called and I explained what we do in Mallorca the hire car was granted and my temporary ‘Permiso’ accepted.

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