Driving school

Brexit news: British expats in Spain slam ‘ridiculous’ rules of conduct as OAPs left without care | Politics | News

Since May 1, British nationals living in Spain can no longer drive because the British and Spanish governments failed to reach a post-Brexit deal on driving licenses. The April 30 post-Brexit deadline has come and gone without a deal and the British government has blamed its Spanish counterparts for the chaos.

Until April 30, Britons could use their normal DVLA-issued licenses to drive in Spain.

All the other countries of the European Union were able to conclude an agreement.

Expats in Spain will have to obtain a Spanish driving license in the meantime.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and his Spanish counterpart Raquel Sanchez held a video meeting last week but failed to find a solution to the problem.

UK residents had until December 2020 to upgrade their license to a Spanish license, but many missed the deadline.

Speaking to i newspaper, Mr and Mrs Minnett said: “We voted for Brexit but looking back I wish it hadn’t been because of the problems it caused.

“I tried to take the driving test in Spanish twice, but failed the theory part because it’s written in such bad English.

“I don’t need to drive at the moment because my wife passed the test, but I might soon.”

Malaga-based Sam Britton-Beese told the Mail: “It’s ridiculous. Our residency application was still in progress before the deadline, so we were unable to register to exchange.

Linda Rogers, from Coventry, said: “Our home is in the mountains and nothing is nearby – I tried to get into a driving school but nothing is available.”

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To make matters worse, post-Brexit rules mean that family members of Britons residing in Spain are now only allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days.

Mr Minett added: “One of the issues for Britons is that if you are not resident in Spain you can only stay 90 days out of every 180 days. That means friends and our two kids can’t stay too long.”

Beryl Webster fears this means falling ill in Spain could prevent family members from coming to visit and care for the elderly.

She said: “Brexit was the worst thing in the world. This rule about limits on the length of your stay is ridiculous. It affects a lot of older people here in Spain.”

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It is estimated that 300,000 Britons live in Spain.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “A deal to swap UK driving licenses for Spanish licenses has not yet been agreed.

“From May 1, UK license holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and who have not exchanged their license during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain. We have agreed to rapidly accelerate the talks and urge the Spanish government to come up with interim measures.