With the 31st of October approaching fast, BREXIT is on most people’s minds. The latest change to affect UK residents in Spain is that the DGT (UK equivalent of DVLA) has posted information on their website advising of new regulations for holders of UK licences to continue driving on Spanish roads in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Up until now, the rules have been that the driver must have two years on their residencia card in order to exchange another EU member state’s driving licence for a Spanish document, and many in the final run to the Brexit deadline have been exchanging their licences to avoid posible problems.

However, the DGT has apparently modified this stipulation for holders of UK licences, because if Britain crashes out of the EU on the 31st October without a deal, any traffic agreements once in place for British citizens will no longer apply. What changes have been made? How long can British driving licence holders continue to drive in Spain? And more importantly, what do they have to do right now?

There are three ways to obtain a Spanish driving licence in the same conditions as an EU member state licence:

  1. Exchange
  2. Renewal
  3. Substitution

Exchange: If anyone residing in Spain still has their UK driving licence, they must exchange the document otherwise nine months after BREXIT, they will no longer be able to drive on Spanish roads. In this scenario, the DGT is taking what they call “extraordinary measures” to ensure continuity in the event of no-deal by putting protocols into place allowing British citizens to obtain a Spanish licence in the same conditions as their existing UK licence without have to be reexamined and without having to wait until new treaties between both countries are agreed and signed. 

For this exchange to take place, the holder must be have an in-date driving licence, be permanent residents in Spain (have a green residencia card and registered on the municipal census -empadronamiento-) and apply for a Spanish licence by the 31st October 2019.

As many of you already know, the DGT system has been overloaded with appointment requests as there has been a mad rush to get ahead of the unknown Brexit outcome and up until now, if an appointment is requested today for example, the applicant may not be given a date until February. To get around this issue, the DGT is going to allow requests for a Spanish licence that have been put through by the 31st October 2019 to be processed, so no matter what the outcome, the applicant is guaranteed a Spanish licence within the nine month grace period as long as they meet the criteria.

Renewal: If the UK licence is about to expire, the holder can apply for a renewal, upon which they will be given a Spanish equivalent. Remember, the terms to exchange a UK licence stipulate the licence must be in-date so if there is very little time until the expiry date, this may be the correct procedure to follow to avoid incidents during the process. The above deadline to apply is the same.

Substitution: If the UK licence has been stolen, lost or is deteriorated, again, the applicant may apply for a Spanish equivalent. The above deadline to apply is the same.

What steps must be taken to obtain a Spanish licence?

Step 1: Apply for the option that best suits your circumstances (exchange, renewal or substitution of an existing UK licence) by the 31st October 2019.

  • Online as long as the applicant has a digital certificate or Cl@ve access
  • By phone, calling 060 where the applicant’s details will be verified either by an automated system or by an agent
  • At your local DGT office by filling in the form and handing it in (no prior appointment is required)

Step 2: As long as the above verification process is favourable, the applicant may request an appointment at the DGT from the 11th November 2019 and during the following nine months. A medical examination must be taken prior to the appointment at a registered centre. On the appointment date, the applicant or an authorized representative must hand in their original UK driving licence to include the old paper versión if they still have that document, the application forms, proof of ID and address, and they will be given a provisional document that will allow the applicant to continue to drive legally for three months until the defintive licence is processed. The definitive licence should be made available approximately one and a half months from the appointment date and will be sent directly to the applicant’s home address so it isn’t necessary to return to the DGT unless the document does not arrive within the expected timeframe. Be aware, a provisional licence only allows the holder to drive within Spanish territory. Also note, the DGT only accepts payments by card, no cash can be taken.

What happens if the UK does not go through with Brexit? Three years down the line and Brexit is still as uncertain as ever, with changes on an almost daily basis, however, in this scenario, the UK would remain part of the EU and it will no longer be necesary to exchange a UK issued licence, therefore, the applicant would not have to follow Step 2 of the application process.

Up until now the DGT had not made any pronouncements on what will happen to holders of UK driving licences. The last time I looked into this matter was after I had seen information on the UK Government website instructing Spanish residents to obtain Spanish licences, but when I tried to verify this information with the DGT, they were completely unaware of the information posted in the UK. It would appear the UK Government was trying to cover its back because at the time Theresa May’s leadership was being called into question. This new information is a clear indication of what is to come… more uncertainty, because Brexit could still be pushed back but in the final stretch, other EU members have to put contingency plans in place to anticipate whatever outcome there is at the end of this month.

 


We have discussed in past issues the serious battle Social Security has on its hands. Although we may complain about the amount of money we pay each month towards our Social Security contributions, they are essential if we want to receive our well-earned pensions come retirement age.

When a business owner hires an employee, they do not only have to take their salary into account when calculating costs, but a portion of Social Security and a quarterly tax amount must be factored into the overall expense. These two concepts are based on a percentage of said salary so it stands to reason, the fewer hours the employee works, the lower their salary and the lower the taxes to be paid out by the business owner.


If as a business owner you have employees, you may have received communications from your Advisors to implement a method to register your employees regular work hours as well as overtime as per Royal Decree 8/2019, 8th March, to be enforced from 12th May 2019. Why has this come about and what is the point of registering employee work hours?


The life of a business owner is full of responsibilities and obligations and sometimes it is difficult to be sure every aspect of our business is accounted for or under control. One of the queries I hear a lot has to do with third-party liability insurance. The saying goes, nothing in life is certain besides taxes and death but I think we can also include insurance here; whether it is for our cars, houses, health, life and a wide variety of other possibilities, we can say for sure that insurance policies are an integral part of our existence whether we want them or not and the same should go for our businesses.

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