February 28, 2019

Driving Abroad After Brexit?

Preparing to Take Your Car Abroad After Brexit

With around a month to go, the Brexit debacle is still rolling along with no clean-cut conclusive end in sight. Not only does that bring economy uncertainty, it could also impact motorists driving abroad. Currently, there’s legislation in place that permits UK drivers free roam across Europe; that may all change thanks to us leaving the EU.

Here are some of the ways in which you might be affected once 28th March 2019 comes around.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

Currently, you only need an International Driving Permit for some countries that are outside the EU and EEA. If there’s a no deal situation, the default position would be that IDPs are needed for any UK driver in Europe.

There are three different types of IDP, 1926, 1949 and 1968. The 1926 permit allows you to drive in the principality of Liechtenstein, a 1949 in Spain, Iceland, Malta and Cyprus, while the 1968 will let you get behind the wheel in all other EU countries as well as Norway and Switzerland.

IDPs cost £5.50 and you can obtain one over the counter at your local Post Office branch. To apply for you one you must be a resident of GB or Northern Ireland, have a full UK driving licence and be over the age of 18.

A 1949 permit lasts for 12 months, while a 1968 lasts for 3 years or whenever your licence expires.

IDPs can be a bit of a minefield in terms of what’s needed in which country, typically you’ll only need one if you’re hiring a car or if you’ll be staying there longer than 30 days. A full list of IDPs and which countries you need them can be found on the government’s website.

GB Sticker

Many new cars come with the ‘GB’ and the EU logo on their number plates, for a time this was a standard that looked as though it was going to be introduced across the board. You could always opt out of having them, but it made travelling to Europe easier as you could forgo the ‘GB’ roundel sticker on the back of your car.

If we leave without a deal, you may have to go back to the sticker even if your car has a Euro-plate. You could also swap your plates to contain just a GB sign and not the EU flag, this way you wouldn’t have to use a ‘GB’ sticker.

driving abroad after brexit

Registration Documents

You should always carry your registration documents or copies of them with you when travelling abroad. This means the V5C or the VE103 if you’ve hired or leased a car, this applies if you’ve been driving abroad for less than 12 months.

Continue doing this in the event of a no deal.

Motor Insurance Green Card

Currently, you don’t need a Green Card to prove you have insurance in Europe, EEA, Andorra, Serbia or Switzerland. However, if there isn’t an exit deal, the European Commission probably won’t make a swift decision on whether UK cars should be exempt from insurance checks, so drivers will need to carry a Green Card for driving in Europe.

Some countries also require separate insurance for trailers, so you would also need a Green Card for any trailer you take abroad.

To obtain one you need to talk to your insurance provider and request a Green Card.

Road Traffic Collisions While Driving In The EU

If you’re unlucky enough to have an accident in Europe after March 29th 2019 and a deal hasn’t been struck with the EU, you shouldn’t expect to be able to claim from your UK-based Claims Representative nor the UK Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).

Instead, you’ll have to claim from the driver or the insurer of the other vehicle in that country. This may need to be made in the local language.

In the event that you’re hit by an uninsured or untraceable driver while in the EU, UK residents may not receive compensation if there isn’t an EU exit deal, but this could vary from country to country.


Another stipulation is that you’ll need at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires if travelling to the EU and there isn’t a deal. Your also have to make sure your passport isn’t older than 10 years in age, even if it has 6 months or more left on it.

You can renew your passport online for £75.50 or use a paper application form costing £85.

As you can see much of this is currently up in the air, as is Brexit in general. This is the current Government advice, but it will change depending on what happens over the next 30 days or so.

Keep an eye on the Government EU Transport guidance website for more updates.

You might also like to visit our full Guide to Driving Abroad where you can also download a free PDF checklist – this hasn’t been updated to reflect the additional information above yet but we will do so once things become definite.