I have held full uk driving license for 30 years and am in the process of exchanging it for a Spanish one. Given that almost all car rental companies require you to have held your license for at least a year, when I receive my new Spanish license can I use it to hire a car in the uk immediately or will I have to wait a year?

3 Answers 3


I exchanged my British driving licence for a Spanish one in 2012. Unlike the British licence, the Spanish one doesn't have a counterpart: all the information on validity is on the plastic card. This includes a table on the back showing your entitlements. Mine shows class B valid from the date I passed my test in the UK (in 2003). It also has an "Observations" field with a code which says that my original licence was from the UK.

Note that you may lose special entitlements. My UK licence had a ton of special classes, but my Spanish one only has class B. Still, that's what matters for hiring a car.

  • 1
    the UK License hasn't had a paper counterpart for 5 years now either.
    – CMaster
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 13:18

As per this article from an automobile magazine, you will probably get a license with an special code with key 106.3 with the first issuance date, so you should be able to provide proof of experience.

I'm not sure if this code is a national code or a EU-wide code, though.

  • That might be for non-EU licences which have been exchanged. My Spanish licence has observation code 70, with the number of my original UK licence, but not code 106. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 13:11

As of right now (pre-Brexit) you can use your EU driving license in the United Kingdom. There is no need for you to wait for anything.

If and when Brexit happens it is unclear what the policy will be.

  • After Brexit, the worst case would be that you can use an EU licence to drive in the UK for up to a year of residency.
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 14:05
  • 2
    The question relates to the fact that many rental agencies require you to have held a license for at least a year before permitting you to hire a car from them. This answer does not address that fact.
    – CMaster
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 11:28

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