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How to prepare for driving in the EU after Brexit

The UK may be leaving the European Union on or before 31 January 2020.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

As part of the European Union, drivers from the United Kingdom hold European Driving Licences, and therefore had the right to drive in all member states. Following Brexit, Britain will have a different relationship with the EU, which means that things might change for motorists driving in EU and EEA countries.

Will I need additional documentation for driving in the EU?

At present, UK driving licences are recognised throughout the EU and EEA, however all this could change in the event of a no-deal Brexit. If you are planning to drive in the EU following Brexit, you will need to apply for an international driving permit (IDP). The only way to register for an IDP is from your local post office. In order to get one, you have be over 18 years of age, a permanent resident of the UK and have a full UK driving licence. To apply for an IDP, you’ll need to take along your photo-card driving licence and a passport-sized photo to the post office and they will provide the relevant permit. There are three different kinds of IPD, and which one you need depends on the country you will be driving in, so make sure you know the details of your trip. If you are driving through more than one country, you may need multiple IPDs. There is a standard £5.50 application fee for all drivers.

What about insurance?

You will need to check with your insurance provider that you are legally insured to drive your vehicle in the EU and EEA. Following an exit from the EU, you will also have to ask them for a motor insurance green card. You should ask for this one month in advance of travelling to the EU or EEA. If you are towing a caravan or trailer, have fleet insurance, or your policy renews during your trip, you will need to carry multiple green cards.

If you have an accident while you are abroad and you need to make a claim, you might need to make this claim in the language of your country but your insurance company will be able to provide you with further information.

Do I have to make any additional modifications to my car?

Your car must have a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, or on the back of your trailer or caravan if you are taking it abroad. Even if you already have a GB identifier on your number plate, you still must clearly display a GB sticker.

Will I still be able to drive if I live in the EU?

If you are UK licence holder and are currently living in the EU or EEA, you should exchange your driving licence for one in your country of residence as soon as possible. Due to increased demand, processing times may be longer than usual. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may have to sit the local driving test in your country of residence.

Will I be able to travel to the EU with pets?

Following Brexit, you will not be able to use the existing EU pet passport scheme. Instead you will need to follow a different process that will take four months.

Please note, this information is based on UK government guidance and is subject to change following either a deal with the EU, a no-deal Brexit or extension of the Article 50 deadline.

About the Author

Andrew Moir