For members


Electric scooters in Spain: What are the rules and latest changes?

E-scooters and other personal mobility vehicles are becoming increasingly common in Spain, particularly in large cities, but they have also been causing lots of problems. Find out what the latest rules and changes regarding VMPs are.

e-scooters in Spain
E-scooter rules in Spain. Photo: Mircea - See my collections / Pixabay

An electric scooter or Personal Mobility Vehicle (VMP) is defined by Spain’s General Vehicle Regulations as a vehicle with one or more wheels, equipped with a single seat and propelled solely and exclusively by electric motors, which can give it a speed of up to 25km/h. 

This means that VMPs also include things such as hoverboards, electric unicycles and segways. 

According to the latest study by Spain’s Ministry of Development, around 6.7 percent of homes in Spain have a VMP. This means that there are more than half a million VMPs in the country. 

Problems and complaints

Electronic scooters and other personal mobility vehicles VMPs have become somewhat of a problem recently with people taking over pavements, riding really fast through pedestrianised areas, people wearing headphones so they’re not able to hear the traffic and not wearing helmets.

According to the latest data, in 2020 eight users of VMPs died, 97 were hospitalised and 1,097 suffered various injuries.

These numbers suggest that there is a growing problem and lead the Director General de Tráfico (DGT) recently to announce new changes. 

Latest changes

The biggest change is that while you still don’t need a driving licence to ride an VMP, you will need to make sure that the vehicle has a circulation certificate. 

This document is the responsibility of the manufacturers and brands, so you don’t have to worry about how to get one, but you will have to check that any VMP you decide to buy does have one. 

As of January 2024, all the VMPs that are sold will have to have this certificate and comply with all the requirements. If you have a VMP without a certificate, you will only be able to use it until January 2027. 

The DGT has also outlined the minimum technical standards, which each vehicle must comply with. This includes maximum weight, length and height requirements as well as a braking system.

They must also have white reflectors on the front, white or yellow reflectors on the side and red ones to the rear. Wheels must have a rough surface and the VMP must have a safe folding system.


The current MVP rules as outlined by the DGT are:

  • You must drive carefully, avoiding endangering other road users
  • You must not drive on the pavements: it is prohibited
  • You must respect the signs and pedestrian crossings
  • You must not ride with headphones in: in addition to being very dangerous, it is prohibited.
  • Only one person is permitted ride on a scooter at a time
  • You must wear a helmet
  • You are only allowed to park in the authorised places, as directed by your municipality
  • The person responsible for any incident is the driver, or their parents, if they are a minor
  • The minimum age requirement to ride a VMP is 16
  • VMPs are not allowed on interurban roads, highways, highway crossings and urban tunnels

Fines and consequences

If you are found to be breaking any of the rules above, you could be fined. 

Driving a VMP with headphones will incur a fine of €200, as will using a mobile phone while driving. If two people are riding the same scooter at the same time they will be fined €100 euros.

The DGT has also introduced a 0.0 alcohol rate for driving VMPs, meaning that you can’t drink at all before or while riding them. Failure to abide by this will also incur a hefty fine. 

Is it mandatory to get insurance for my VMP?

While the DGT has made it clear that it wants to make insurance obligatory for VMPs, it is not mandatory yet as a general rule for the whole of Spain. 

However, some regions and cities have their own rules regarding insurance. For example, in Benidorm, Alicante and Barcelona, ​​it is mandatory to take out electric scooter insurance, while in Murcia it’s currently not. 

If you’re unsure about the rules for your region, check with your local DGT office.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Which tourists need an international driving permit to drive in Spain?

If you’re travelling in Spain as a tourist and want to be able to drive here, then you'll want to know if you require an international driving permit to do so. Read on to find out if you need one, depending on where your licence is from.

Which tourists need an international driving permit to drive in Spain?

An International Driving Permit or IDP is a translation of your original licence from your home country, proving to the relevant authorities that you can drive and which vehicles you are able to drive.

Because the permit is simply a translation of details, you will not be required to take any type of practical or written tests to obtain it. In Spain, the IDP is valid for 12 months.

The Director General de Tráfico or DGT stresses the IDP is a complementary permit and that if you use one, you always have to have your foreign driving license and your passport with you in order for it to be valid.

But who needs to apply for an IDP and who can just use their foreign license on its own?

Tourists from EU countries

According to the DGT, drivers with licences from EU or EEA countries do not need an IDP. If travelling around and driving in Spain, those from the EU or EEA can just continue to use their normal license here.

If you are in Spain for more than six months however, you should technically exchange your licence for a Spanish one.

Non-EU countries

The DGT recommends that all tourists from third countries who want to drive in Spain apply for an IDP before they arrive, but do stress there are exceptions.

If you have a licence from a country where your licence is written in Spanish, such as most South and Central American countries, you will not need an IDP.

You will also not need an IDP if your licence is from a country that was issued in accordance with Annex 9 of the Geneva Convention or with Annex 6 of the Vienna Convention.

This includes the vast majority of countries in Europe, many African and Asian nations but unfortunately not English-speaking nations such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. You can check the full list of countries that don’t need an IDP here. If your driving licence was issued in a country that’s not on the list, then you technically need to get an IDP.

It’s also worth noting that while the permit is valid for one year, you can only use it for a maximum period of six months at a time, since you should not be using it if you reside in Spain.

If six months has elapsed and you are still in Spain, you should exchange your driving licence for an equivalent Spanish one, or if this is not possible, then get a new Spanish licence.

There are a few exceptions, however.

Tourists from the UK

According to the British government website, tourists who hold a valid British licence do not need an international driving permit to drive in Spain. 

But, if you only have a paper driving licence or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, then you may need to apply for one.

Tourists from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

As mentioned earlier, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealander tourists in Spain do technically require an IDP if they wish to drive in Spain during their stay.

The US government website confirms that “citizens visiting Spain who want to drive in here must obtain an international driving permit prior to their arrival in Spain”.

The Canadian government states that “Canadian travellers may drive during their visit in Spain if they hold a valid Canadian provincial driver’s licence and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). To obtain an IDP, contact your local Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) office or visit the CAA website”.

And according to the Australian Embassy in Spain, “Under Spanish law, Australians on a 90 day Schengen Visa may drive a vehicle in Spain if they hold a: valid Australian State or Territory Driving Licence and valid International Driver’s Licence. To obtain an International Driver’s license contact your relevant State or Territory Automobile Club, such as the NRMA, RACV, RACQ etc”.

Reality and consequences

As often happens in Spain, what is the law in theory doesn’t always apply in practice or is up to the individual’s intepretation of the rules. 

Some car rental companies will not rent you a vehicle if your licence is from a country where you need to have an IDP to drive in Spain. However, many other rental companies will have no issue at all with renting a car out to you, so it could be just a case of asking around. 

Likewise, Spanish Civil Guard or National police will not necessarily ask you for an IDP either if they stop you, which is pretty unlikely in the first unless you’ve committed a driving offence or they’re carrying out random road checks.

Could you be required to have an International Driving Permit by a Spanish police officer? Yes, it is possible, and depending on their interpretation of the infraction it could result in a fine or your vehicle being confiscated. But in the majority of cases, Spanish police will be willing to turn a blind eye to minor infractions committed by tourists.

Some foreigners on online forums have commented that it felt like an unnecessary money-making scheme to need an IDP for Spain, whilst other tourists who were pulled over by traffic cops in Spain commented that they should have had one.

Our advice is that it’s still worth going to the trouble of getting an IDP if you’re required to have on, just in case. 

If your licence isn’t in English or in a Roman alphabet language, the chances of you being asked for an IDP are likely to be higher. 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about getting an IDP in Spain for travel overseas