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Driving in the EEA after Brexit

Now the UK and EU have come to an agreement on a post-Brexit trade deal, we have provided an overview of what will be needed if driving in the EU/EEA countries from the 1st, January 2021.

Brexit for UK Motorists

All the information in this article was up to date when written, this content should only be used as a guide, we recommend carrying out your own research before travelling.

Driving Abroad

You need to take your driving licence to drive abroad. Check it is valid, if a new one is required, you will need to renew at least one week before traveling.

If driving your own vehicle, do not forget to take both your logbook (V5C) and insurance policy certificate. If the vehicle is hired or leased in the UK, you will also need a VE103 certificate.

In some countries you may also need an international driving permit (IDP), check before travelling. If required, you can purchase an IDP over most Post Office counters. To stay within the law, check driving rules for the country of travel in advance, depending on the country, you may be required to have:

Motor Insurance Policy

In other countries, you may need additional insurance and a green card which you can obtain from your motor insurance provider, there may be an administrative cost involved.

Green Cards are international certificates of insurance guaranteeing third-party motor insurance cover in the country of travel. As of December 2020, the UK Government advises that you obtain a physical copy of a green card from your vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before travel.

You may need to show green cards if involved in a road traffic collision, police checks, and at the border when entering or moving between EU/EEA countries.

UK vehicle insurance provides a minimum of third-party cover to drive in EU countries. You will need to check your policy for breakdown, theft, or damage cover. You will also need the actual green card for travel, not a photocopy if you are driving in:

  • EU (including Ireland)
  • Andorra
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland

International Driving Permits (IDP)

You may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries, and Norway if you have a paper driving licence; or one issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.

There are 3 types of IDP, 1926 and 1949 permits last for 12 months, the 1968 permit lasts for 3 years, or until your UK driving licence expires. The permit required depends on the country and length of visit, check which IDP you need.

You do not need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein if you have a card driving licence issued in the UK.

To obtain an IDP, which you can do over most Post Office counters, you will need a valid GB driving licence.

GB Stickers Post-Brexit

Vehicles registered in the UK will need to display a GB sticker when driving in any of the 27 EU countries, however, you will not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland. All motorists will need a GB sticker even if they have GB printed on their vehicle number plate.

Towing your trailer or caravan abroad

You may be required to register your trailer or caravan before taking it abroad. When driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland, you need to carry a separate green card for the vehicle you are driving, and the trailer or caravan you are towing.

You may also need additional insurance and a green card for each trailer, or caravan in tow.

Hiring a Car Abroad

Your hire car company may ask to see your driving licence information when you pick up the car. You can share this by getting a licence ‘check code’ which can be obtained up to 21 days before you travel.

Insurance is included when hiring a car, so you will need to clarify what type of cover you have with the hire company before setting off.

Taking your pets abroad

The old pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel in the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021. Before a pet can travel with you, it will need an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport. The animal must be at least 12 weeks old, microchipped, and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel.

Vets can supply an AHC for your pet around a month before you travel, and no more than 10 days before travelling to the EU.

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Road Traffic Accident

In the event of a road traffic accident in an EU country you should contact your insurer.

The UK Government has indicated that after Brexit, UK residents involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country ‘should not expect to be able to make a claim in respect of that accident via a UK-based Claims Representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)’.

Instead, UK residents may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle country where the accident happened.

In the event of an accident in an EU or EEA country caused by an uninsured or an untraced driver, UK residents may not receive compensation. Contact your insurer for more information as this scenario could differ depending on the country.

Once again, this content should only be used as a guide and we recommend carrying out your own research before travelling.

Bon voyage!