The Council of Ministers has agreed to extend three Brexit adaptation measures until 31 October 2021

This is to avoid disruptions that affect Spanish and British citizens until such time as agreements are reached with the United Kingdom on these matters.


The extensions approved will solely affect the healthcare of cross-border workers, the recognition of driving licences and the recognition of qualifications, which were due to expire on 30 June.

With a view to the preparation for the potential consequences that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) could have, Spain approved Royal Decree-Law 38/2020 on 29 December, adopting adaptation measures to the situation of the United Kingdom as a third country following the finalisation of the transition period.

These actions were geared to overseeing the interests of citizens and economic operators that could be affected by Brexit. In line with the communications of the European Commission, the Royal Decree-Law established a time limit on the duration of the measures, although Article 2 thereof set out that the government, through an agreement, could extend them should this become necessary.

Article 11, on access to healthcare, will be extended for four months in order to continue to count on the legal basis necessary for Spain to continue to invoice the costs of healthcare provided, charged to Gibraltar, for cross-border workers that live in Spain but work in Gibraltar.

This is the case until such time as the future European Union Agreement with the United Kingdom on Gibraltar comes into force, which is currently being drafted and which is due to include coordination on social security matters and access to healthcare.

Article 15, which establishes a transition period during which time holders of a driving licence issued by the British authorities can continue to drive in our country, will be extended for four months. Negotiations are currently under way on an agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom to regulate the mutual recognition of driver’s licences and procedures to recognise them, and hence, until such time as these requirements and procedures can be agreed upon for this mutual recognition, it is considered necessary to extend the term of validity of British driving licences in Spain.

DRIVING LICENCES…This does not affect the current arrangements for driving licence exchange. If you did not register to exchange your licence with the DGT before 30 December 2020 and wish to exchange your UK driving licence now, you would need to follow the DGT process for non-EU nationals, which includes taking a driving test. However, negotiations are underway between the UK and Spanish Governments on arrangements for the future exchange of UK driving licences without the need for a practical test. As soon as we have further information on this we will share it here.…/20210622_NOTA140.aspx…

Lastly, to avoid administrative burdens on citizens and facilitate their adaptation to the new regime following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the Third Additional Provision of the Royal Decree-Law is extended until 31 October, which establishes that the apostille of The Hague Convention is not required for the standardisation, declarations of equivalence and the recognition of qualifications and university and other higher education centre studies, along with non-university qualifications and studies.