Drivers could face "major delays" for EU permits after no-deal Brexit

Published 14 September 2018

Drivers are being warned of “major delays” for EU permits, after the Government admitted that the UK licence may no longer be valid on the continent after a no-deal Brexit.

According to the National Audit Office, there will be between 100,000 and seven million International Driving Permit (IDP) requests during the first year of Brexit, with applications being processed over the counter at the Post Office or by mail order from two private companies.

However, with the mail order service set to end on 31 January 2019, doubts have been cast on the ability of the Post Office to cope with the surge in demand.

AA president, Edmund King has warned that the UK could face “major delays” as Post Office branches struggle to cope with the sheer numbers in need of the EU driver's permit.

A Post Office spokesperson told that it was "well-equipped” to deal with the additional work, but couldn't provide any details as to how its branches would cope with the millions of IDP applications. 

“While there is a potential solution to the driving licence issue, the trouble is no one seems to know quite how big the problem is."

Permit requirements vary between EU member states because there are two types of permit. Drivers can get the most-common type of EU permit at any one of 90 designated Post Office branches, where it takes around five minutes to process. The Government will start providing both types of permits from February 2019, and applications will be available at 2500 post offices across the UK.

“While there is a potential solution to the driving licence issue, the trouble is no one seems to know quite how big the problem is," said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation

"Government believes around 2.5 million trips are made to the continent each year, yet the National Audit Office estimates anywhere between 100,000 and seven million people might apply for driving permits in the first year after Brexit. Throw in big variations in demand between seasons...and it is clear the challenges to both motorists and the Post Office could be significant."

"Delays would be inevitable"

Concerns over the impact of these permits are also weighing heavily on the minds of those who watch over the UK's haulage operations. With just over six months to secure logistical plans for the transport of goods to and from the UK, many worry that delays offer a credible threat to the UK's supply chain.

"We expect only 1224 permits to be made available to UK hauliers every year if they wish to travel to the EU - that number pales into insignificance when you consider that the Port of Dover can handle up to 10,000 vehicle movements each day," Freight Transport Association's (FTA) Head of European Policy, Pauline Bastidon, said.

"Unavoidable queues would quickly build up as hauliers wait for permits to be returned to the UK, and delays would be inevitable."

Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, said that the Government was aiming to get a Brexit deal with Brussels by mid-November 2018 at the latest, but was stepping up contingency plans in the event of no deal when the UK leave the EU in March 2019.

EU driving licence holders will still be able to drive in the UK without the need for any extra paperwork.


Palcouk    on 14 September 2018

I seem to recal that when I drove in what is now the EU prior to us joining I did'nt require any International Driving license, my UK paper license was accepted, including for car hire.

CMclean    on 14 September 2018

Is this government stupid !! The EU imposes restrictions on us, but the government doesn’t have the heehaaws to reciprocate on any restriction.

straggler    on 6 October 2018

Do have any examples of this....?

Bilboman    on 26 September 2018

This issue has the most amazingly simple solution if only someone in the DVLA would get their act together with their counterpart in whatever international organisation needs to give the go-ahead.
A dual-format IDP (for both the 1949 and 1968 conventions) to download and print online, with a simple link to the driver's existing licence. Upon entering the driver's licence number (with passport and NI number if necessary), up pops a facsimile document bearing the driver's photograph and details and automatic expiry date 12 months hence.
Given that a passport photograph can be transposed onto a standard driving licence application online, I really can't see why things have to be any more complicated than this.

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