Post BREXIT Changes To Driving Your Car In Europe

Published Date: 14th Feb 2021

Closeup of car with GB Sticker

If you are looking forward to travelling again once we get back to ‘normality’ and want to drive in Europe, you may be wondering if and how BREXIT affects driving abroad.

Will My UK Driving License Still Be Valid in Europe?

Yes, as long as you have a UK Photocard License it should still be valid in most cases, but there are some notable exceptions.

If you fall into one of these categories, then you will need an International Driving Permit (or IDP) which can be purchased from the Post Office for small fee of £5.50). It's also important to note that there is more than one type of IDP so you should check which one you need for the country or countries you will be driving in.

Exceptions that will need an IDP are:

  • People who only have a paper driving license i.e. no photocard license
  • If your license was issued in Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man or Gibraltar

The UK Government has issued further guidance on IDPs here.

Does My Car Insurance Cover Me In Europe?

You will need to check with your insurer and ask for something called a Green Card to take with you which proves you are insured abroad.

A Green Card may not give you the same level of cover as when driving in the UK and it is strongly advised to consult with your insurance company and make sure you know exactly what level of cover it will provide in Europe.

Other consideration are timescales, it can take up to 6 weeks for a Green card to be issued so make sure you give yourself plenty of time in advance of your trip.

Another important note is for those towing trailers or caravans, the Green Card application to cover your car will not cover these, you will need a separate one your trailer or caravan. Again, speak to your insurance company who should be able to offer further advise and clarification on this.

Bear in mind, a Green Card last for 90 days, your insurer may email you the document but make sure you print a copy and carry it with you.

Do I need A GB Sticker On My Car?

This is something of a minefield and can be confusing, the easiest way to approach this is to make sure you have a GB sticker.

car and safety triangle

Here’s why it can get confusing, if you have a number plate with GB on it with no flag or with a Union Jack then for driving in most of Europe does not require an additional GB sticker. However, if you have GB on your number plate along with a non-Union Jack flag, for example an EU, Welsh, Scottish or St George’s flag then you still need an additional GB Sticker.

This is further confused by some countries requiring a GB Sticker regardless, these countries are Spain, Malta and Cyprus.

To save yourself a headache you may just be the wiser to make sure your vehicle has a GB sticker regardless.

Other Vehicle Documents You May Need In Europe

If you are the owner of the vehicle you will need carry your V5C logbook with you. If the vehicle is leased or hired, then you will need a document called a VE103. In the unfortunate event you are involved in an accident you will need to produce these in an EU country.

Bear in mind also that your Passport must have at least 6 months remaining before its expiration date.

Do I Need Anything Else?

Some countries will require by law you carry certain equipment in the boot in case of a breakdown or accident. A reflective jacket and a warning triangle are common requirements. You should always check before your trip as to the requirement in the country or countries you are visiting.