Depending on where you live in Spain, having private transport may be a necessity. Even if it isn’t essential, having your own car can allow you to travel more easily around the country and enjoy a greater level of freedom overall.
So if you have decided you’re going to get your driving licence in Spain, or because you have no other choice but to, you may be wondering how much it’s going to cost you and whether there are price references to look out.
According to a 2020 study by Compare the Market, Spain is the 9th most expensive country in the world to get a driving licence, only behind wealthy European nations such as Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden or the UK.
Spain has around 9,000 driving schools, all of which are at freedom to set their own prices for many of their services. There also tends to be considerable cost differences between different regions and cities.
According to data published in 2021 by Spain’s leading consumer watchdogs OCU and FACUA, the overall expenses of getting your driving licence in Spain are as follows:
This registration fee that learner drivers pay when they join a driving school costs an average of €200 in Spain, although again this is subject to big differences between driving schools. Some autoescuelas are willing to waive the fee as part of promotions to get more people to join them, whereas other charge considerably more than €200.
Theory classes (Clases teóricas)
The average cost of theory classes for learner drivers is €203. For this you can attend in-person classes at the driving school and receive the theory book and similar learning materials, which only cost around €13.
The Spanish DGT traffic authority in 2022 authorised driving schools to offer these theory classes exclusively online if they prefer, and there is no minimum number of classes learners must take before sitting their theory.
Physical examination (Examen psicotécnico)
Before you can get behind the wheel of a car, you’ll need to do this hands-on test which measures your physical, psychological, reflex, sensory and motor skills. In practice, it’s not as complicated as it sounds, you’ll just have to do some hand-eye coordination tests, vision and hearing tests, see a doctor and get your blood pressure measured.
These physical examinations are usually carried out at health centres called “centros de reconocimiento de conductores” and cost €30 to €35, although again prices may vary.
Practical lessons (Clases prácticas)
Having lessons in the car with a driving instructor is what learner drivers in Spain usually end up spending the most on. On average it costs €25 per practical lesson, which usually lasts 45 minutes.
There is no minimum number of lessons learners have to do before they can sit their practical driving test, but if you’re starting from zero it could be as many as 35, which adds up to €750.
For foreign drivers who already know how to drive but have to sit their driving exam in Spain because their licence isn’t recognised by the DGT, the minimum number of recommended lessons is usually five.
Even though this represents €125, it’s important to keep in mind that you may have picked up bad driving habits that examiners will fail you for, as well as the fact that driving in Spain has isn’t own idiosyncrasies, so it is advisable that you have a few practical lessons.
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Examination fees (Tasas de tráfico)
This is the money that you have to pay the DGT to sit your exam. It’s a fee that’s gone up slightly in 2022 and now costs €94.05.
You get two extra chances to pass between the theory and the practical exams, so if you pass your theory test the first time round you have two goes at passing your practical, but if you fail your first theory exam you only get one go at the practical.
If these two extra chances are used up and you haven’t passed both theory and practical, you have to pay the tasas de tráfico again.
Driving licence issuance (Expedición de los permisos de circulación)
Believe it or not, you’ll have to pay an extra €99.77 to get your actual credit card-sized Spanish driving licence from the DGT once you pass your driving test.
Admin expenses (Gastos de tramitación)
Some Spanish driving schools charge you for processing your file (whatever that really means), around €45 on average.
It’s an extra expense that not all autoescuelas charge, some include in the price of the registration and others only require it if the learner has to pay their examination fees again after failing.
So much does it cost overall to get your driving licence in Spain?
There are lots of different factors that can affect how much a person pays in Spain to get their driving licence, hence why it’s so important to shop around for the driving school which offers you the best deal.
It can depend on the city, the region, the driving school, their promotions, whether they charge for admin fees but not for theory lessons, or vice versa, and especially how many practical lessons you have and how quickly you pass your driving test.
Therefore, an experienced foreign driver who has only five practical lessons and passes the first time with flying colours could pay as little as €400 total.
But on the other side of the spectrum, someone who’s learning to drive from scratch, has to sit their exam more than once and is hit with all the possible charges at their driving school or city in Spain could end up coughing up around €1,500.
It’s certainly a big expense most new drivers in Spain should keep in mind.
Owning a car in Spain is also getting more expensive. On January 1st 2022, Spain’s Registration Tax increased, making 40 percent of new vehicles 5 percent more expensive, on average €800 more than in 2021.