How we did (not yet) get a Spanish driver’s license

Even before leaving the USA, Hubby was worried about getting his Spanish driver’s license. He new his Estonian license had expired and that he would need to return his US card to the US authorities before leaving; therefore, upon arrival in Spain he would have no driver’s license. It was not going to be so much of a problem in the first months, though, as we also didn’t have a car anyway; but it was a matter of concern.

As soon as we got close to be able to move to our newly purchased home, the matter of owning a car and therefore, his driver’s license, resurfaced. We would need to drive everyday to take Kiddo from the new home in Benalmádena to the school he was attending in Torremolinos. And even though I can drive and have a valid permit, overprotective Hubby was restless just thinking of me taking Kiddo round and round the crazy double roundabouts of the Costa…

At that moment, he already had his residence permit, so there was nothing stopping us from getting his driver’s license, right? Well, kinda. We found out pretty easily that DGT was the governmental institution in charge of driving in Spain, and their website even had information in English, which was a plus. But we couldn’t find where in the website we could do what we needed. The part about renewal seemed to refer only to renewal of a Spanish driver’s license (at least back in March 2022) but Hubby needed to exchange an expired Estonian license; renewal didn’t seem to fit perfectly.

There was no phone number to call except for the 060, which is the citizen attention phone number, where you can listen to a robot reading a website… not very useful. We called some driver’s centers (the places where people do physical exams for driving) but they each gave a different answer. We decided to book a renewal and see what would come from that – at the very least, we would find the right information about what service we should book. And, just in case, we booked a physical exam for Hubby as well, because it seemed to make sense that this would be required from someone whose driver’s license expired.

Hubby passed his physical exam with flying colors, making me think that I need to check my glasses again. Exam in hand, we waited a few more days for our appointment at the DGT. We chose to do it in person, there, because this way seemed the more straightforward – and because we weren’t sure we booked the right thing.

Upon arrival at the DGT in Málaga we realized that we needed to take a number and wait for our turn, despite having an appointment. Pro tip for you: arrive early, as the time you will be seen will actually depend on this number more than on your scheduled time. But do have an appointment, as numbers are only issued for those who are booked. After about an hour of wait, we were called. We had actually booked the right thing, through a simple process I show you here. It was a renewal, after all.

Documentation, exams, payment, form: everything was accepted. We thought this had been easy and, other than the long wait, we were happy. But the long wait was yet to start. They gave Hubby a provisory paper, that would be his driver’s license for 3 months. They were supposed to send the definitive one to our address within that time frame. As it was April 2022, his provisory card was supposed to be delivered up to July. It didn’t arrive.

So in August we went there again, checked the address where they sent the document to, corrected it (!) and thought it was all good to go. A new provisory was emitted, good till November. Guess what? It didn’t arrive once more, so back to Malaga’s DGT we went. This time the address was right. This third provisory is good up to February 2023, but we firmly believe the definitive license will not arrive, because upon checking online it says the document was posted to us more than a month ago. It would already have arrived. This means that DGT, here we go again next month.

Spanish driver's license
Photo by MamaMalaga

On the billboard above: Take a coffee – it is the time we need to deal with your traffic related procedures. Very smart advertisement of the gestores of Malaga right in front of the DGT in Málaga. Maybe it would not have been a bad idea to use a gestor after all, as long as the DGT can write the gestor’s address right in a letter.

February 8th, 2023 edit: It didn’t arrive indeed. So we went to DGT again on February and… Surprise!!! The definitive license card was there! So we got it, finally, 10 months after the initial request. Now Hubby has a definitive Spanish driver’s license, and we are grateful that we don’t have to go back again. That is, until I need to renew mine… Now that we are all legal, let’s take care of our health on the next post 🙂

Next: Spanish healthcare system, certificate and card

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