No-deal Brexit: The rules you need to know when driving in the EU

Published 02 September 2019

The UK is set to leave the EU on 31 October and the Government has updated its advice for motorists who plan to travel to Europe after this date in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

Driving permits

The UK driving licence will no longer be valid in the EU, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This means car and van drivers may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), prior to travelling to the European Union.

There are three IDPs available:

1949 IDP covering Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus

1968 IDP covering all other EU countries as well as Norway and Switzerland

1926 IDP covering Liechtenstein

These can be purchased from selected Post Office branches at a cost of £5.50 each. You'll need to take a passport photo and your current, valid photo card driving licence. Although IDPs used to be available via mail order, this service was stopped earlier in the year.

Some EU countries are allowing an exemption for the IDP, so long as the driver can show a photocard licence. Some other EU nations, however, are stating that UK drivers will not need one if their visit is shorter than one month.

For the full list of IDP requirements please see the Government’s information site, here.

Driving licence

While your UK licence will technically no longer be valid in the EU, it's important to note that you'll still need it when driving within the European Union. The police will still recognise it as proof of your eligibility to drive and it should be presented to the authorities, along with the relevant IDP.

Insurance for your car or van

Drivers will also need proof of insurance, in the form of The Green Card. Drivers can obtain this by contacting their insurance company for a Green Card at least one month before their planned trip. However, take note, some insurance providers will issue an admin charge for this service.

As the name implies, these insurance documents must be printed on green paper and be kept in the vehicle when travelling within the EU from another country. They cover the vehicle, rather than the driver - meaning you'll need just one Green Card per vehicle. Motorists in Ireland will also be affected - those in Northern Ireland planning to cross the border into the Republic will need a Green Card too.

All UK motor insurance providers will continue to provide the legal minimum third party insurance cover for travel in the European Economic Area - so you won't need to pay for extra insurance when driving in Europe.

Caravans and trailers

You will need multiple Green Cards if your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – as you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer caravan (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries).

Likewise, if your vehicle insurance renews during your time in the EU, you’ll need two Green Cards covering the new and old policies.

Vehicle registration documents

If you are taking your vehicle to the EU for less than 12 months, you should have the vehicle V5C (commonly known as the logbook) or VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad.

GB stickers and numberplates

The Government recommends that UK drivers should display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, even if you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.

Comments

Paul Bowker    on 2 September 2019

Hi

What about hiring a car when abroad ( Spain / Canaries)

Does this still apply?

PACBOWKER

Bernie Carey    on 2 September 2019

Will you need an IDP to drive in Eire if you live in Northern Ireland? Know that a Green Card "might" be needed for insurance purposes depending on what happens but an IDP as well?

intermal    on 2 September 2019

Will you need an IDP to drive in Eire if you live in Northern Ireland? Know that a Green Card "might" be needed for insurance purposes depending on what happens but an IDP as well?

I was in ROI in March 2019, FYI Ireland already had millons of "Green Cards" printed, UK none!

Classical    on 2 September 2019

I wonder how many voters realised all this at the 2016 referendum? I certainly didn't and I'm sure many others also. That plus a myriad of other issues we take as run-of-the-mill activities when travelling abroad. An EU passport carries a lot of weight and respect, not so a UK passport these days.

Andrew Hosking    on 2 September 2019

Far too many “short sighted” people. Who voted on paranoia and a generally miss sold campaign. I will always be proud of my vote to remain in Europe, something I know no different from, being born in 1971. There are many disadvantages, and I am still trying to think of the advantages of leaving.

SteveInTheMidlands    on 2 September 2019

Far too many “short sighted” people. Who voted on paranoia and a generally miss sold campaign. I will always be proud of my vote to remain in Europe, something I know no different from, being born in 1971. There are many disadvantages, and I am still trying to think of the advantages of leaving.

I agree, nothing is perfect but being in the EU was at the very least convenient for many reasons. Wont go into the nasty politics of it but pertaining to motoring I doubt that there was a single brexit voter who goes to Europe to get their annual quota of sun thought about any of these things. The other issue will be the non-official problems we will have like harassment by customs and police in the EU, many of which have a parking inspector mentality and will love to pull over every car with a GB sticker on it and give them the works. Mobile phones? once again we lose, will have to pay full international call prices from/to Spain or wherever as it was an EU law (that the UK voted for within the EU parliament) that keep the prices down to the same as calling within the UK. I could go on and on,, still waiting to hear the benefits post brexit..

Paul Chapman    on 2 September 2019

I wonder how many voters realised all this at the 2016 referendum? I certainly didn't and I'm sure many others also. That plus a myriad of other issues we take as run-of-the-mill activities when travelling abroad. An EU passport carries a lot of weight and respect, not so a UK passport these days.

£5.50?

Most countries dont ask for it?

Big deal.

cato7    on 2 September 2019

The government website says that even in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit an IPD is not required when travelling in Spain from 1 November as long as you are there for no more than 180 days. Please clarify!

Regards,

Andrew Catling

diddy11cg    on 2 September 2019

Wait until you have to raise an EU Carnet if you are taking demo equipment abroad temporarily such as at Exhibitions.. You ain't seen nothing yet. I am also surprised that you will not need a carnet for the car to prove that you are not going to sell it. I really can't believe that EU countries are going to be so b***** minded. Still, lets make it the same for them if they come over here. That should concentrate the mind.

Grumpy2    on 2 September 2019

One thing we should do is crack down on foreign motorists, patricianly lorry drivers - who flout our laws, cause accidents, and get away with it whilst if we digress abroad - particularly France - we suffer badly. It is time DVLA stopped giving out information to foreign countries, This could (should) stop once we leave. For those who are too young to know what it was like before we joined a TRADING ASSOCIATION, you will eventually be glad you did so before the Euro imploded.

RayJS    on 2 September 2019

Two questions so far not covered.

will the 'allowances' for alcohol - wines, beer, spirits for import back into UK be the same as now - which the gov.uk website seems to imply, or will they revert to the pre- EU levels of around 10 litres of wine et.

if your intended stay is of more than 90 days in any 180 day period 9 as many over-wintering Brits in Spain/Portugal are - can you get a visa to extend the period/ frequency of visit ? If so does a visa for any EU country e.g. France give cover for the entire Shengin area.

Alora Paul    on 2 September 2019

As a non resident of Spain but own property there along with a 100% Spanish vehicle, insured in Spain through Linear Direct. What will the legal position be for driving a Spanish vehicle owned by myself and registered to my property in Spain. It is not driven to the UK?

aethelwulf    on 2 September 2019

To all you snowflakes that believe there is no life outside of the EU.
Well I drove across the continent in 1969 without growing two heads or losing both legs. Life did happen before the EU and will again. I also drive in the US and Canada, neither of which is in the EU, and survived. Yes I would vote leave tomorrow and teh next day. I hate being controlled by a foreign power.
Life will go on and get used to it.

pintoflager    on 3 September 2019

To all you snowflakes that believe there is no life outside of the EU. Well I drove across the continent in 1969 without growing two heads or losing both legs. Life did happen before the EU and will again. I also drive in the US and Canada, neither of which is in the EU, and survived. Yes I would vote leave tomorrow and teh next day. I hate being controlled by a foreign power. Life will go on and get used to it.

Well said mate ??

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