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Driving Licence From Third Country - Exchanged in EU - Exchange to Spanish Possible?

There is a bit of a controversy.

From several cases presented to us and information given out by Trafico officers at those times, it would appear that it is not possible to exchange a driving licence originally obtained in a country that Spain does not have a Convenio with, later renewed for one from an EU country that did have one, when consequently offered in Spain for exchange to a Spanish driving permit. As Trafico would take the original country where the licence was obtained (exams sat) as reference and would refuse the exchange as no Convenio in place with that country.

Example: licence obtained in New Zealand, exchanged for a UK one when resident there, should be accepted as such and thus possible to exchange for a Spanish driving permit now that the owner is a registered resident here. Or a licence from Mauretania, exchanged for a French one, and now offered for canje in Spain.

From doing research on another licence related issue, we gained information that contradicts this, and claims that, as the other EU country supposedly has done its due diligence when verifying validity and authenticity of the original licence, Spain should just accept the licence as issued by that EU licence for what it is, and carry out a canje/exchange, treating it as a regular EU licence. The text doesn’t mention it specifically, but we assume that the same goes re the validity of these licences to drive here, and the rules to renew them under the ‘2 year resident protocol’.

On researching something else I´ve come across a legal instruction ‘paper’ for DGT offices with regards to the exchange of foreign licences, from those in situations similar to yours, where they obtained their licence in a country that doesn´t have a convenio with Spain, but replaced at one time by an EU country that did, and they are supposed to accept those as valid to renew in Spain.

It´s from the ‘Regimen Juridico’ from the DGT, published in 2011. Tema 30 PERMISOS DE CONDUCCIÓN EXPEDIDOS EN OTROS PAÍSES: PERMISOS EXPEDIDOS EN ESTADOS MIEMBROS DE LA UNIÓN EUROPEA O EN ESTADOS PARTE DEL ACUERDO SOBRE EL ESPACIO ECONÓMICO EUROPEO. VALIDEZ, INSCRIPCIÓN, SUSTITUCIÓN Y CANJE. EL CANJE DE OFICIO. PERMISOS EXPEDIDOS EN TERCEROS PAÍSES. VALIDEZ Y CANJE. ACUERDOS BILATERALES PARA EL RECONOCIMIENTO RECÍPROCO Y CANJE DE LOS PERMISOS DE CONDUCCIÓN.

Art. 2.4 about ‘canjes’/exchanges (referring to art. 18 of the RGCO – Reglamento General de Conductores)

Para poder efectuar el trámite del canje es necesario realizar previamente la verificación del permiso de conducción a la autoridad expedidora del mismo, además debe solicitarse información sobre los códigos nacionales que figuren en el permiso, y en el caso de tratarse de un código nacional que indica que el permiso sólo es válido con esas condiciones en el país que lo expidió, o que esa categoría de permiso no tiene equivalencia con ninguna de las clases de permisos de conducción españoles, no se procederá al canje. Los códigos nacionales sólo se aplican en el país donde se han anotado, no obstante se pide información al respecto por si fuese importante a efectos de la anotación de alguna condición restrictiva.

También son canjeables los permisos de la UE o EEE que procedan del canje de terceros países (por ejemplo un permiso francés que provenga de un permiso de conducción expedido en Mauritania), siendo necesaria una única verificación al país comunitario que lo haya expedido, porque entendemos que ese país ya ha verificado con el Tercer Estado la validez y otros aspectos del permiso de conducción original.

La Jefatura a la que se dirija la solicitud, después de comprobar la autenticidad, validez y vigencia del permiso presentado, concederá o denegará, según proceda, el canje solicitado. La resolución, con indicación del Estado que haya expedido el permiso y los datos del mismo, se hará constar en el Registro de Conductores e Infractores.

El permiso canjeado se remitirá a las autoridades competentes del Estado que lo haya expedido, concretamente, a las direcciones que los países hayan facilitado a la Subdirección General de Formación para la seguridad vial. En sentido inverso, los permisos españoles canjeados en otros Estados se remitirán a la citada Subdirección, y una vez comprobado que el canje del permiso de conducción español se ha realizado correctamente se anota una incidencia denegatoria en el Registro de Conductores e Infractores, indicando el símbolo del país en el que ha canjeado y la fecha del trámite del canje.

En el permiso de conducción español expedido se recogerá el código comunitario armonizado 70, seguido del número del permiso y a continuación el símbolo del país comunitario que expidió el permiso objeto del canje, de conformidad con el listado de códigos comunitarios recogido en el apartado B, del Anexo I del RGCO. Por ejemplo (70.12345678.F).

También se consignará el código nacional 106, subcódigo 3, indicando la antigüedad del permiso extranjero a efectos de la asignación correcta del saldo de puntos. Por ejemplo 106.3 (01.01.98)

Translated:
In order to carry out the exchange procedure, it is necessary to carry out the verification of the driving license to the issuing authority of the same, in addition to requesting information on the national codes that appear in the permit, and in the case of being a national code that indicates that the license is only valid with those conditions in the country that issued it, or that this category of license does not have equivalence with any of the Spanish driving license classes, the exchange will not proceed. National codes only apply in the country where they have been written down, however information is requested in this regard in case it is important for the purpose of noting any restrictive condition.

The EU or EEA permits that come from the exchange of third countries (for example a French license that comes from a driving license issued in Mauritania) are also redeemable, a single verification being required to the community country that issued it, because we understand that country has already verified the validity and other aspects of the original driving license with the Third State.

The DGT Trafico office to which the request is directed, after verifying the authenticity and validity of the permit presented, will grant or deny, as appropriate, the exchange requested. The resolution, with indication of the State that has issued the permit and its data, will be recorded in the Registry of Drivers and Offenders.

The exchanged permit will be sent to the competent authorities of the State that has issued it, specifically, to the addresses that the countries have provided to the General Directorate of Training for Road Safety. Conversely, the Spanish permits exchanged in other States will be sent to the aforementioned Sub-Directorate, and once it has been verified that the exchange of the Spanish driving license has been made correctly, a negative incidence is recorded in the Registry of Drivers and Offenders, indicating the symbol of the country in which you have exchanged and the date of the process of the exchange.

In the issued Spanish driving license, the harmonized community code 70 will be collected, followed by the license number and then the symbol of the community country that issued the permit subject to the exchange, in accordance with the list of community codes included in section B of the Annex I of the RGCO. For example (70.12345678.F).

The national code 106, subcode 3 will also be entered, indicating the age of the foreign permit for the purpose of the correct allocation of the points balance. For example 106.3 (01.01.98)

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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