I recently had to renew my driver’s licence here in Lanzarote, so I thought it would make sense to share the process with you, particularly as I researched it before hand on the internet, and then found it was nothing like I had read!
If you’re under 40, your licence is valid for ten years in Spain. There is then a sliding scale until you reach 45 or more, when you must renew your licence every 5 years. Again there’s a sliding scale from 67 to 70, at which point you must renew every two years. The key part of the renewal is to ensure you are medically fit to drive.
I checked and found out I should take all of the following documents. In the event, I didn’t use any of them at all – they just took my old licence for the information, and took a new photo and signature sample. But don’t risk it – have these with you in case:
- Your old Spanish licence – they will take it off you.
- Your passport and two copies
- Your Certificado de Residencia and two copies
- Two passport size photos
- If your address has changed since you got your old licence, then get a Certificado Empadronamiento from your ayuntamiento (para trafico)
You need to go to a Centro Medico to have a basic fitness to drive medical, and to check your coordination. In Lanzarote, the centre is directly opposite Oficina Trafico in Arrecife, and they handle the whole renewal – you don’t have to go to Trafico at all.
Check in at reception and they will take your old licence from you. They will ask you for any change of address and they will get you to sign a document on an electronic pad – that signature will appear on your new licence.
Next, you’ll be called through for your medical. The doctor will ask you about any illnesses or medication, and then do a simple eye test. She will also take your blood pressure, weight and height.
Then you’ll be called through to another room where the technician will take your photograph and then give you two tests. In the first you hold two “paddles" and you are expected to keep a “car" on two “roads" that twist and turn. Each side works independently and you have to be able to work them at the same time. Each time you hit the edge of the road, the computer beeps.
The final test is about judging speed. A ball comes across the screen at various speeds and enters a box, then disappears. You have to press a button at the point where you think the ball would hit the back of the box.
Neither test is particularly hard, and judging by the amount of beeping I heard, there’s a fair amount of leeway!
Once all of that is completed, you pay the bill, which totals €68.22 - €40 for the medical, €22.22 for the licence renewal and €6 for the administration. The clerk will then issue you with an “Autorización Temporal Para Conducir" or a temporary driving permit, valid for three months.
Your new licence will be delivered to your house in the meantime, and if it fails to turn up within three months, you are told to visit Trafico.
1/ Applying for residencia in Spain
2/ Driving in Lanzarote
3/ Car hire in Lanzarote