Technical Notice Reminder: Driving Licence Recognition, Exchange And Data Exchange

The Government has issued the following Technical Notice reminder on license recognition, exchange and data exchange:

On exiting the European Union, the arrangements in place for the mutual exchange and recognition of driving licenses and data between countries in the EU, on the one hand, and the United Kingdom and Gibraltar, on the other, came to an end.

The United Kingdom negotiated a series of separate bilateral agreements on driving licence recognition for UK and Gibraltar driving licence holders with the different Member States of the European Union.

The Agreement with Spain took longer to conclude because Madrid wanted to include provisions for data exchange, as had been the position when we were in the EU, given the large number of UK motorists and tourists who drive in Spain.

In March 2023 that Agreement, which provides for driving license recognition, driving license exchange and data exchange between the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Spain, was concluded, pending its coming into effect. The Agreement has been relied upon successfully to date by Gibraltar driving licence holders visiting Spain and holders of Gibraltar driving licences, resident in Spain, who have exchanged their Gibraltar driving licences for Spanish ones.

The Government issued a Technical Notice on 14 Match 2023 which warned Gibraltar motorists of the new situation related to vehicles involved in suspected road safety related offences committed in Spain, the UK and Gibraltar.

This reverted to a position with Spain which was similar to what it had been when we were all part of the European Union and it remains unchanged from what it was at the time.

The Agreement provides for the Spanish authorities to be able to request data on the ownership of motor vehicles from the United Kingdom and Gibraltar in the context of road traffic offences.

It also provides for the United Kingdom and Gibraltar to have the reciprocal right to request the same information as to the ownership of Spanish motor vehicles suspected of road traffic offences in Gibraltar and in the United Kingdom.

However, as was set out in the Technical Notice of 14 March 2023 the respective authorities will be able to submit requests for data once a system providing for the automatic transfer of such information is in place. The gateway from the United Kingdom and Gibraltar to Spain is not yet in place. The authority responsible for establishing this in the UK and this is expected to happen in line with their policy priorities.

In the meantime, however, it is important to bear in mind that the recognition of UK and Gibraltar licenses in Spain would not have happened without this Agreement and that the Agreement provides Gibraltar with the certainty that Gibraltar licences will be recognised in Spain, without the need for the additional use of International Driving Permits and translations, regardless of the outcome of our treaty negotiations with the EU.

The Government wishes to emphasise the point that for their own safety, the safety of others, and for accident prevention purposes, motorists should exercise caution and respect the rules of the road in Spain. In this way the provisions of the data exchange part of the Agreement will have no effect on them.