Brexit – what you need to know about driving in Europe


Brexit – there is no doubt about it, it’s been a hugely complicated and divisive issue within the UK (and abroad). Despite this, no matter how you voted and what happens, the effect of Brexit will be wide. And if you travel in Europe there will be some new rules governing how you drive within the EU. One in particular will be the requirement for a Green Card for all cars travelling into Europe.

But there is a lot of uncertainty and it will depend on whether the UK leaves with a deal or no deal in place.

Possible new requirements

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal UK drivers may find they need an international Driving Permit (IDP), as well as other documentation to drive within the EU.

Currently British licences are valid within the EU, so motorists can use them. But when the UK leaves it may be the case that British licences will no longer be recognised as valid. British driving licences could therefore fall within the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, meaning an IDP would need to be purchased, as is required when driving in certain countries outside of the EU.

When and what will happen?

There is no doubt about it, Brexit has been a hugely complicated and divisive issue. But no matter how you voted, the effect of Brexit will be wide. Whether there is a deal or no deal, if traveling into Europe, your car may require a Green Card.

Is there anything else I need to do if driving in Europe Post Brexit?

Unfortunately the position is not clear yet but the following are likely to be required, and can be found in more detail at the UK Gov website.

  • Number plates – it is recommended that you display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle if you drive within the UK, even if you have the identifier on your number plate.
  • If there no deal, you should carry your vehicle registration documents with you when driving.
  • Again, if there is no deal a motor insurance Green Card will provide evidence of correctly held motor insurance for the vehicle – you will need to contact your insurance provider for a Green Card

But I live in the EU!

Of course many people live outside of the UK within the EU. If you do, how could Brexit affect your driving? Well, if you’re a British National living within the EU who holds a UK licence then you should consider exchanging your UK licence for the local EU one in the country you reside. It was recommended to do this before the Brexit deadline because afterwards drivers may be required to pass a driving test in the EU country they live in!

What if I drive in the EU for work?

If you drive a goods vehicle then you will also need extra documentation when driving within the EU. Driving for work is a little more complicated – drivers will need documentation such as an IDP, CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) already required, UK drivers licence and a tachograph chart or vehicle smart card. But there will also be further documentation required for good vehicles and trailers, which would include a motor insurance green card and GB Sticker on the rear of the vehicle, as with all drivers.

And of course, the goods being transported with be subject to further documentation, not to be covered in this article.

You can read in more detail at the Gov website here. It is worth checking out if you drive commercially within the EU.

To conclude, it is clear that changes will be made affecting drivers driving within the EU. But it is not yet clear how far these changes will go and will certainly depend on the way in which the UK leaves the EU.
Watch this space…