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Driving in the EU after Brexit

Will my motor insurance policy continue to be valid in the EU/EEA?

You’ll continue to be able to use your UK driving licence to drive in countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). This is all EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

But you’ll now need extra paperwork to drive in the EU.

Some motor insurance policies might offer a continuation of your comprehensive motor insurance policy in the EU or EEA.

It’s worth checking the terms of your cover with your insurance provider before travelling.

Your insurance provider should issue you with a green card to prove you’re insured to drive abroad.

If you’re taking your own vehicle, you also need to take your V5C (log book) and have a GB sticker on your car.

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Do I need an insurance green card and how can I get one?

You’ll need to carry an insurance green card when driving in the EU, EEA and all other countries that recognise green cards.

These can take between a week and a month to process, and your insurer will usually provide it free. Check with your provider how long it will take and if there’s a cost.

Green cards typically last for up to 90 days. If you’re driving on a separate trip in a country that recognises green cards, you’ll need to get another one from your insurer.

If you’re driving a vehicle that’s registered and insured in your host country, such as a local rental car, you won’t need a green card.

You might also need to put a GB sticker on your vehicle, even if it already has a Euro plate. An EU plate is a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign).

You won’t need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you swap a Euro plate with a number plate that only has a GB sign and not the EU flag.

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Will my driving licence still be valid for driving in the EU and EEA, and need any other permits?

You’ll continue to be able to use your UK driving licence to drive in countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). This is all EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You’ll still need to carry your UK driving licence with you.

You don’t need an international driving permit (IDP) to visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

However, you might still need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:

  • a paper driving licence
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

Along with the above, you might also need to put a GB sticker on your vehicle, even if it already has a Euro plate. An EU plate is a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign.

You won’t need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you swap a Euro plate with a number plate that only has a GB sign and not the EU flag.

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How do I get an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

You can buy an International driving permit (IDP) at a Post Office. 

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The permit you need depends on:

  • which country you’re visiting
  • how long you’re staying.

You might also still need an international driving permit (IDP) if you’re going to drive outside the EU.

An IDP costs £5.50. You’ll need to find out if you need an IDP for the country you want to visit.

If you’re travelling through more than one country, you might need more than one type of IDP.

You might also need an IDP if you’re planning to hire a car. It’s best to check this with your car hire company.

There are two different types of IDP you might need in Europe, known as the 1949 and 1968 IDPs.

1949 permit

This covers any visits to Cyprus and Andorra and longer trips to Ireland, Spain, Iceland, and Malta.

1968 permit

This covers driving in all other EU countries that require IDPs, plus Norway and Switzerland.

Check which type of IDP you need to make sure you have the correct documents for your travels.

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If you’re driving through many countries that need different types of IDP – for example, if you’re visiting both France and Spain – you’ll need to get both types of permit. This means you would pay £11 in total.

Don’t apply for an IDP if you’re moving abroad.

You’ll need to either exchange your UK licence for a local one or apply for a new one in the country you’re moving to.

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Can I still hire or lease a vehicle to drive in the EU?

Yes, but you’ll need a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad

Find out more about taking a vehicle out of the UK on the GOV.UK website

I’m a UK national living in an EU country, what happens to my UK driving licence?

If you’re resident in an EU country, you’ll need to exchange your driving licence for a local one.

The deadline for doing this depends on which country you live in.

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This might mean you need to retake your driving test in the EU country you live in to be able to carry on driving there.

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If I’m towing a trailer or caravan, will I need a separate green card for the trailer?

Yes, some EEA and EU countries require a separate green card as proof of insurance for your trailer, including caravans.

If you’re travelling with a trailer, contact your insurance provider to get two green cards – one for the towing vehicle, and one for the trailer.

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I’m an EU national living in the UK, what happens to my EU driving licence?

EU-issued driving licences will continue to be valid in the UK.

The UK expects drivers coming from the EU into the UK to carry an insurance green card, or evidence of their insurance cover.

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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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