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After Brexit - Driving in the EU

After a tumultuous four and a half years, the UK has finally left the European Union's rules and regulations.

Is my licence still valid?
But what does this mean for UK drivers looking to navigate a car through the EU? Well, as with all things related to Brexit, things are not quite so clear.

If you have an old paper licence, or one issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, you will need to get an International Driving Permit, or IDP. You can get these from your local Post Office for £5.50. An IDP does not replace your UK driving licence, but supplements it (and you'll need to have both on you whilst on the Continent). Each member state has different rules, and the UK government has released some guidance for specific countries.

What about your card licence, with the EU flag on it, when driving around the UK? Well, there's no change to that. Your UK licence is still valid in the UK up until it's renewal date.

Will I need extra insurance to drive in the EU?
If you are renting a car in Europe, you will not need any additional insurance as to what is usually included in your prepaid rate. However, if you plan on taking your own car across the channel then you will need to apply for a Green Card. This is a document, provided by your insurance company, that proves you have cover to drive in the EU. You must contact your insurer 6 weeks before you travel to request a green card.
Other things to remember when taking your own vehicle abroad is to have a GB sticker on your vehicle. It is not clear whether some countries require the GB sticker if your number plate has the GB logo on it, but it is best to be safe than sorry (Spain requires the sticker regardless, for instance). You will also need to have your V5C log book with you, to prove you own the vehicle you are driving. And if you're hiring or leasing the car from the UK, you will need a VE103 form to prove you have permission to take the car out of the UK.

I'm a UK National living in Europe, are there any changes for me?
Government Guidance is that you need to exchange your UK driving licence for a local one, if you live and drive in the EU or an EAA country.
Check the Government website for when the deadline for this is for each country.

What if I want to bring my pet with me?
Since January 1st 2021 the rules have changed with regards to bringing pets abroad. Northern Ireland is also included in these changes. Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland), plus the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, will become a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme.
As the Pet Passport will no longer be valid you will need to get an AHC (Animal Health Certificate) in its place. Although if you have a Pet Passport from Northern Ireland or an EU country then these are still valid. So before you take your dog or cat (or ferret!) into NI or Europe you need to check the Government guidelines, some of which are:

  • Get your pet microchipped

  • Your dog, car or ferret must be vaccinated against rabies - at least 21 days prior to travel

  • Ensure you have visited your vet no less than 10 days before you travel, but preferably a month, to receive the Animal Health Certificate

  • More information can be found on the Government website, here.