Driving in the European Union post Brexit? This guide explains the new rules so you stay legal, feel confident on the road, and enjoy your trip. So, let us summarise what is required from January 2021.
Your UK driving licence is still valid in the European Union post Brexit. However, unlike here, you must always have it with you whilst driving. It cannot be left in your hotel room, for instance.
International driving permit
Post Brexit, you might need an international driving permit in addition to your licence. It depends on the destination, the duration of your trip, and whether you have a paper or photocard licence, etc. GOV.UK lists the rules for each country. If a permit is required, you can apply via the Post Office. The price is £5.50.
A green card proves your car is insured and is issued by your insurance company. You must carry a printed copy – not a digital copy – in the European Union (including Ireland), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, and Andorra. You might have to show the green card if there is a collision, police check, or you cross a national border. You need a separate green card for:
each vehicle if you have a fleet or multi-car policy
any trailer or caravan
every insurance policy valid throughout the trip.
Naturally, it is sensible to request a green card(s) long before your journey to ensure it arrives on time. There might be a charge.
A GB sticker is not typically required if your car’s rear number plate has a GB identifier (on its own or with a Union flag). In contrast, display a sticker if your plate has any of the following:
national flag of England, Scotland, or Wales
numbers and letters only (no flag or identifier).
In addition, you need a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle under all circumstances in Spain, Cyprus, and Malta.
Carry a document that proves you are entitled to use the vehicle aboard. Choose either the:
V5C log book (if you are the registered keeper)
VE103 (if the vehicle is leased or hired).
There are further considerations when driving abroad. For example, pack any extra equipment required by law, e.g. breathalyser in France. Also, note any varying traffic rules such as who has priority at junctions. Further ensure your car is in good condition to minimise the risk of breakdown. And, of course, get foreign breakdown cover so the car can be fixed or repatriated if required.