British expts are still struggling to get back on the roads in Spain. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

The UK driving licence exchange problems in Mallorca continue and in theory, British residents only have until the middle of September to be able to drive on their UK licences, although the exchange window in theory will continue to remain open.

However, the Bulletin is continuing to be contacted by residents who are continuing to be turned away by the DGT Spanish traffic department.

And according to this latest latter received from a British resident, the British Embassy in Madrid has admitted that there are still problems which remain to be resolved.

We arrived in Mallorca on 2nd December 2020 in a permanent move to the island. On 16th December we instructed a gestor to advise DGT of our intention to exchange our UK licences for Spanish when we had obtained residencia (the ‘two step’ procedure as per Gov.UK and DGT guidelines with a registration deadline of 1st January 2021). The gestor also undertook the processing of our residencia application.

Upon receiving our TIE cards (in summer 2021) we requested the gestor to proceed with the licence exchange only to be informed that they hadn’t undertaken the registration of intent to exchange licences (and omitted to advise us). They professed to be unaware of the ‘intent to exchange’ registration facility (even though we specifically requested it!) and claimed to have spoken with DGT at the time and simply been advised that licences could not be exchanged until after residency status had been obtained. If they are to be believed(?) then DGT surely provided false information.

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Subsequently, during the period of negotiation our UK licences expired and we are experiencing the refusal of DGT to exchange due to their insistence upon only using the on-line check code facility which, in the case of expired licences, does not provide entitlement and penalty details as supplied by DVLA.

Approaches to DVLA are met with such responses as ‘DVLA are unable to comment on DGT procedure ……… this would be a matter for the Spanish Government and is not something DVLA would be involved in remedying’.

DGT just remain obdurate in their refusal to consider alternative proof (as in the case of a DVLA issued Certificate of Entitlement) even though the Exchange Agreement states ‘Both Parties by mutual agreement may also establish specific channels of communication in cases where the systems …….. leave any doubt as to the validity of a driving licence presented for exchange’. It would appear that this simple, straightforward, sensible adoption of permitted procedure is either beyond the capabilities or exceeds the levels of acceptability of one or both of the involved authorities.

The British Embassy have eventually acknowledged that there is a problem but continue with the usual line about the ‘continued liaison between Dept for Transport and DGT’ and ‘continuing to work very hard to ensure the Agreement is fully implemented’. As with the entire exchange agreement negotiations, what is not on offer is any detail of the progress of said discussions.

As rurally located and thus car reliant legitimate residents who have endeavoured to abide by the rules throughout, this situation is unacceptable to the point of being intolerable.” Michael Wood