Apart from driving on the other side of the road, there are a number of significant differences with the driving experience in Spain, starting with the whole process of getting your licence. So in this article Sonneil will explain how to go about getting your driving licence from the point of view of a new driver who is starting from scratch.

In order to obtain a driving licence in Spain you must be at least 17 years and 9 months, but you can’t actually get behind the wheel of a car until you are 18 years and one day old. Once you have your licence it is valid in any EU member state.

So what are the formalities for getting your Spanish driving licence?

Well it all starts with getting your NIE, or national identity number. This involves downloading an EX-15 form, from the website of the Spanish Department of Foreign Affairs, filling it out and bringing it along with your identity card or passport and proof of your economic activity in Spain to the Spanish Foreign Office (Oficina de Extranjeria).

After paying a fee of around €10 you’ll receive your NIE.

You can also go to the Spanish embassy in your country to obtain a NIE that’s valid for three months. Next, you need to get an Empadronamiento, which registers your name on the census of the local town hall. This will require proof of your identity as well as proof of address.

Once in possession of these documents, bring them to your local Directorate General for Traffic or DGT office. You will also need to bring 2 colour passport-sized photos for your licence and a medical certificate (Certificado Medico) to prove that you are both mentally and physically able to drive.

Now you are ready to start your lessons.

There are no compulsory school hours to attend before you can do your test; however, unlike in the UK, there are no provisional licences in Spain, so before you pass your test, the only person you can drive with is a licenced instructor. The average price for a one hour lesson is around €25. On top of this you will have to pay for your theory classes. These can cost between €30-35 a month or a one-off fee of about €300.

The Test

The first test covers driver theory, which consists of 30 questions to be carried out within 30 minutes, allowing a maximum of three errors. The test is done by computer and allows you a choice of language. Be warned, preparation for the theory test in Spain is quite demanding and comes in the form of a thick manual containing 629 rules, including lengthy chapters on first aid and vehicle maintenance. All of which must be learned.

The second test is a practical one of 25 minutes and is performed in Spanish. It consists of questions about the vehicle, 5 minutes of driving towards a destination and a 20 minute driving tour following the instructor’s directions. If the practical test is not passed it must be repeated and you will have to wait at least 12 days.


There are numerous fees to be paid along the way towards obtaining your licence and different formulas available to get you through the process, but in the end, depending on the number of driving hours or the driving school chosen, the cost of obtaining your license will be approximately €650 to €1200.

It’s easier said than done, but that all there is to it! Time to start planning that road trip…