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Driving in Europe after Brexit: what you need to know

Driving in Europe after Brexit: what you need to know
Image source: Getty Images


The UK has officially left the EU. Luckily, the two sides were able to strike a trade deal just days before the end of the post-Brexit transition period. Among the many things that will be affected by the new changes are the rules around driving in the EU. Here’s everything you need to know about driving in Europe after Brexit.

Can I use my UK licence to drive in Europe after Brexit?

Yes. You can still use your normal UK driving licence to drive abroad, as long as it’s valid.

However, you might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either:

  • A paper driving licence
  • A licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

If you’re in any of these groups, check with the embassy of the country you’ll be driving in to see if you need an IDP. There are different types of IDP, so you’ll have to check which specific one you’ll need. Also, if you will be travelling through more than one country, you might need more than one type.

An IDP can be bought from the Post Office and costs £5.50.

If you’re a UK citizen moving abroad to live in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland after Brexit, you’ll need to exchange your driving licence or apply for a new one in the country you’re moving to.

What about insurance?

You’ll need to carry an insurance green card when driving in the EU and the EEA. This is a card you can get from your car insurance company to prove that you’re insured to drive overseas. The green card is valid for 90 days.

The green card can take up to a month to process. So, if you’ll be driving in Europe after Brexit, contact your insurer at least six weeks before you travel.

Typically, the green card shouldn’t cost you anything, but check with your insurer as some might charge you a small admin fee. 

If you’ll be driving through more than one country, you might need more than one green card. You might also need a separate green card for a trailer or a caravan.

Something else worth noting is that your UK car insurance will give you a minimum of third-party protection in the EU. You’ll have to check with your provider to see if you will have comprehensive cover when driving in Europe after Brexit.

What else should I consider?

You’ll need to have a GB sticker on your car unless your number plate includes the GB identifier either alone or alongside a Union flag. However, if the GB identifier on your plate is alongside an EU flag or the flag of England, Scotland, or Wales, you’ll still need a GB sticker.

If you’ll be driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, then you’ll need a GB sticker regardless of the details on your number plate.

If you’re taking your own vehicle you’ll need to carry its log book (V5C) with you to prove that you own it. For rented or leased cars, you’ll need a VE103 form as proof of your right to operate the vehicle.

What about EU citizens driving in the UK?

Visitors with an EU driving licence can still drive in the UK and do not need an IDP. They’re expected to carry an insurance green card or other valid proof of insurance with them.

Final word

If you’ll be driving in Europe after Brexit, it’s a good idea to keep all required documentation to hand. You never know when you might need to produce them.

Needless to say, we’re still in a pandemic, so observe the rules wherever you go.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that some places are not accepting cash right now. You might have to use other means to pay for your expenses.

A travel credit card, especially one with no foreign transaction and cash withdrawal fees, could be an excellent option. It’s a great and safe alternative to cash, and it could save you some money. 

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