CAB to Question DGT Again – This Time About Extension/Validity of EU Driving Licences

Update 2.7.2020. We have received an answer from the DGT and some aspects have been clarified.

DGT/Tráfico has issued a Directive on the 4th of June to clarify the rules with regards to the extended validity of driving licences that expired during the State of Alarm. CAB cross checked the references to the national and EU regulations that are quoted in the Directive, we found the information to be lacking or not in accordance with the mentioned regulations.

As arranged by the Royal Decree that implements special COVID measures with regards to administrative deadlines, Spanish Driving Permits that expired during the State of Alarm were automatically extended up to 60 days after the end of it. As the medical centres and the Tráfico offices have started to re-open to the public, the suspension of administrative deadlines has now been lifted as per the 1st of June.

There is also a special COVID EU Reglament in place, that automatically extends the validity of driving licences that expired or are to expire in the period 1.2.2020 to 31.8.2020 with 7 months. Member States that feel that the COVID crisis has not impaired the workings of their relevant authorities to an extent that this automatic extension is necessary, may replace this by a nationally valid alternative. But when they do they need to inform the EU and  recognise the extended validity of licences of individuals from other member states who have chosen to adhere to the EU Directive. Spain has informed the EU Commission that they have chosen to opt out of the automatic extension, the UK has not.

From the DGT Directive mentioned in the first paragraph:

Spanish Driving Permits

Driving permits and licenses whose validity period expired between March 14 and May 31 (both included), will be automatically extended for that period of time (79 calendar days) and up to 60 business days later. Therefore, they will be extended until August 21, 2020 (not counting local or regional holidays). Corresponding with 60 working days as of the 1st of June when the suspension of administrative windows was lifted.

Driving in Spain with non-EU Driving Licence, art. 21 of the Spanish Drivers Reglament

From March 14 to May 31, the period of 6 months during which the holder of a valid foreign driving license can drive in the national territory has been suspended. The computation of the term is resumed from June 1. The term of 6 months will be increased by 79 natural days. This is correct as art. 21 in the Drivers Reglament refers to non-EU driving licences.

EU Driving Licences

Residents. Holders of permits issued by a country of the European Union who are residents in Spain, according to European regulations are obliged to renew their permit in our country so, in relation to the terms of
validity of their permits, the provisions of the Order INT / 262/2020, of March 20, by which the Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14 is developed, will apply to them. According to the DGT, as according to the Spanish Reglament for Drivers EU residents need to comply with the Spanish rules with regards to the validity of driving licences, they will apply the same rule as mentioned above for Spanish driving permits, to EU driving licences that expired in the period of 14.3.2020 to 31.5.2020, extending their validity till the 21st of August 2020.

Non-residents with EU licences.

These licence holders will be covered by the special COVID EU Directive that states that licences that expire between 1.2.2020 and 31.8.2020 will automatically be extended for 7 months as of their expiration date. This is in accordance with the EU Reglament, but not taking into account that member states can opt-out and in that case, their national alternative would apply to driving licences issued to those licences. And many EU countries HAVE opted out. The letter we received from the DGT confirms that they will not differentiate, one rule for all.

Economic Operator

The cross-border activities of any economic operator or person whose licence has been issued by a country that has accepted the exceptions provided in the aforementioned EU Regulation should not be impeded so that any permission, license, certificate or authorization whose validity has been extended under the same must be recognized. This is from the EU Directive and should be applied by Spain to UK (and others whose issuing countries have not opted out) licences, so also for residents that need to renew for a Spanish licence.

Link to The Ministry/DGT Directive

The two year protocol

The DGT Directive doesn’t mention the ‘2-year resident protocol’ that should have been extended with at least the 79-day duration of the State of Alarm as well. Combined with the automatic extension of UK licences under the EU Regs, would have provided those residents with a UK licence, continued validity of their licences to enable them to continue to drive while starting the renewal process now that the Tráfico offices are open to the public again. In their letter, the DGT has confirmed that the 2 years should be extended with 79 days in the case where the period of 14.3.2020 till 31.5.2020 was part of those 2 years.

We have drafted a letter with questions asking the Ministry/DGT to clarify the points we have made above.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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