There has been a bit of confusion about whether or not UK residents can drive in Tenerife if they only hold a paper licence. Spanish law does not require that anyone wishing to drive on the island has to have a new plastic licence. However, drivers who do hold paper licences must have these 'inscripted' (certified under seal).
Anyone who relocates to Tenerife permanently must inform the DVLA that they have done so because they are not allowed to register a British licence with a foreign address. Anyone who lives in Tenerife for longer than 6 months has two choices in order to remain legal both under Spanish and British law:
- You can have your UK licence certified by advising the Spanish driving authority of your permanent address on the island if you intend on living in Tenerife on a permanent basis or for longer than 6 months of the year. They will check with the DVLA, which takes around 6 weeks to do. This is to make sure you have no points or have been banned from driving in the UK.If you have, then your licence may not be inscripted. The Spanish driving authority will then issue you with a printout on A5 paper that you have to keep with your UK licence.
- The other option is to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one. However, confirmation from the DVLA is still required, confirming that you have no endorsements. You will then be issued with a temporary Spanish Licence and, after a short time you will receive a new plastic one through the post from the Spanish driving authority. Are there any conditions attached to holding a Spanish licence? Yes, under Spanish law you will have to have a medical exam which involves driving fitness tests. These have to be taken at various intervals but this does depend on age.
If you find yourself in a position where you are unclear as to what you should do, feel free to get in touch with us - we will contact the Spanish Driving Authority for clarification, and arrange, if necessary, for you to apply for a new Spanish Licence. Contact us on 922 703 725, or email [email protected].