Brexit hell: UK expats in Spain blast ‘ridiculous’ driving rules as OAPs left without care

Since May 1 British nationals living in Spain have been unable to drive as the UK and Spanish Governments failed to come to a post-Brexit agreement on driving licences. The post-Brexit time limit of April 30 came and went without agreement and the UK Government blamed their Spanish counterparts for the chaos.

Up until April 30, Britons were able to use their normal DVLA-issued licences to drive in Spain.

Every other country in the European Union has been able to strike an agreement.

Expats in Spain will have to get Spanish driving licences in the meantime.

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

UK residents had until December 2020 to switch their licences to a Spanish one but many missed the deadline.

Speaking to the i newspaper, Mr and Mrs Minnett said: “We voted for Brexit but with hindsight, I wish we had not because of the problems it has caused.

“I have tried to pass the Spanish driving test twice but failed the theory part because it is written in such bad English.

“I don’t need to drive at the moment as my wife passed the test but I may do soon.”

Malaga-based Sam Britton-Beese told the Mail: “It’s ridiculous. Our application for residency was still in process before the deadline so we couldn’t register to exchange.”

Linda Rogers, originally from Coventry, said: “Our house is in the mountains and nothing is close by – I’ve tried to get into a driving school but nothing is available.”

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To make things worse, post-Brexit rules mean 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 problems for British people is that if you are not a resident in Spain you can only stay 90 days within every 180 days. This means friends and our two children cannot stay too long.”

Beryl Webster worries this means falling ill in Spain may result in family members being unable to come to visit and take care of elderly people.

She said: “Brexit has been the worst thing in the world. This rule about limits about how long you can stay is ridiculous. It affects lots of elderly people here in Spain.”

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An estimated 300,000 Britons live in Spain.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “An agreement to swap UK driving licences for Spanish licences has not yet been reached.

“From May 1, UK licence holders who have been resident in Spain for more than six months and did not exchange their licence during the transition period will no longer be able to drive legally in Spain. We have agreed to rapidly accelerate talks and are urging the Spanish Government to bring forward interim measures.”