Technical Notice - Driving In Spain And In Europe (3)
On 31 December 2020, the Transition Period under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement came to an end. The end of the Transition Period brought an end to the what used to be the position prior to 1 January 2021 whereby Gibraltar, its citizens and its businesses, enjoyed EU rights. The end of the Transition Period brought about important changes.
The purpose of this Notice is to update the public on latest developments concerning the effect of those changes on the recognition of Gibraltar driving licences in Europe (including Spain) and other requirements motorists should be aware of when driving abroad.
The Government has previously explained that the UK Government has been engaged in discussions with individual European countries with a view to coming to arrangements on the continued recognition of driving licences on a reciprocal basis.
As a result of these ongoing discussions, it is today the case that Gibraltar driving licences need to be accompanied by relevant International Driving Permits (“IDPs”) only in the following countries in Europe:
- Croatia (1968 IDP required);
- Cyprus (1949 IDP required);
- France (1968 IDP required);
- Italy (1968 IDP required).
The UK Government remains in discussions with the above-listed countries and further updates to this Notice will be published as and when arrangements covering Gibraltar are made.
Spain – Visitors from Gibraltar.
In relation to Spain, it has now been established that motorists resident in Gibraltar who hold valid Gibraltar driving licenses will not be required to hold an IDP when driving in Spain as visitors. This is the case today and it will be the case after 30 June 2021.
Spain – Residents in Spain who hold Gibraltar driving licences.
If you are legally resident in Spain and you hold a Gibraltar driving licence you should take steps to exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one. You are advised to complete this step prior to 1 July 2021, this being the current date on which the window permitted to exchange your driving licence expires under the terms of the Spanish Real Decreto-ley of 29 December 2020.
Number plates and GBZ stickers.
There is no requirement for you to change your vehicle’s number plate from an EU format to a non-EU format in order to drive your vehicle in Spain and the rest of Europe. On the other hand, and whilst this does not appear to have been the case to date, it is possible that, in future, the Spanish authorities may enforce requirements with respect to Gibraltar registered vehicles having to display GBZ stickers when being driven in Spain. The Government would therefore advise the public to err on the side of caution and display GBZ stickers on the back of their vehicles when driving in Spain.
Required formats for these stickers are as follows:
The dimensions of the ellipse should be at least 240mm in width and 145mm in height. The letters “GBZ” should have a minimum height of 80mm and their strokes are required to have a width of 10mm. The letters should be painted in black on a white ground of elliptical form with the major axis horizontal.
For motorcycles, the dimensions of the ellipse may be reduced to 175mm in width and 115 mm in height.
Stickers can be sought from any of the Post Office counters at 104 Main Street or from any other retailer provided they comply with the above described format.
Rules with respect to the displaying of stickers differ in other European countries. In particular, stickers are not required in all European countries. However, since it is always the case that in order to drive a Gibraltar registered vehicle from Gibraltar to another European country by land you would need to transit Spain, drivers are advised to adhere to the rules applicable in Spain. These are the rules described above.