Last updated: 22/01/2021
This information is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge at point of publishing – you can stay up-to-date with the latest Brexit news by visiting the government website.
If you drive abroad regularly - either for business or leisure – now’s a good time to get to grips with what you’ll need to take with you now that the Brexit transition period has ended as of 01 January 2021.
Read on to find out more about what documents you’ll need to drive abroad in a post-Brexit world, as well as some tips on what might be handy to have in the car for your trip.
What are the rules for driving abroad after Brexit?
To drive in the EU and EEA (from 1 January 2021), you will need:
Your driving licence and vehicle registration documents, such as your V5C logbook or a VE103 for a hired or leased vehicle. There are a few exceptions for those who only have a paper licence (issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man). You can find further guidance for people in these groups here.
A GB sticker for the rear of your car (unless your number plate has the GB identifier on it (alone, or alongside a union flag). If the GB is next to an EU/England/Scotland/Wales flag, you’ll still need a GB sticker.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) - but only to drive in some EU countries and Norway. This can be purchased from the Post Office for just £5.50. You will need to be over the age of 18 to apply. Whether you need an IPD will depend on the country you’re visiting and whether or not you have a driving licence issued in the UK.
Proof of insurance – i.e. a ‘green card’ (you can find out more about this below) Remember, without the right documentation drivers can be denied entry at the country borders, fined for not having the correct insurance or even have their car seized.
Quick tip: Review your existing breakdown cover (or take out standalone European breakdown cover) to avoid unexpected expenses should you encounter car trouble abroad.
What is a green card?
A ‘green card’ is an international insurance certificate which proves that your UK car insurance policy provides you with the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country you’re visiting. You’ll now need to apply for one to drive in the EU and EEA, including Ireland.
If you’ll be towing a trailer or caravan, you’ll need a green card for both the towing vehicle and the trailer / caravan (you may also need separate trailer insurance in some countries).
If you have fleet insurance, you’ll need a separate green card for each vehicle.
How do I get a green card?
Your car insurance provider will provide you with a green card to drive in the EU and EEA, as long as your policy covers you to drive in that country. They will usually charge a small fee for this service.
Remember to apply for your green card plenty of time in advance, as demand is likely to be high once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
If you have car insurance with Endsleigh and need a green card, you'll need to get in touch to request one 4 weeks before you're due to travel (the government recommend at least six weeks’ notice). This is so you leave enough time for your green card request to be processed, printed and posted, and to allow for any potential issues issuing the card.
What about NI residents wishing to travel after Brexit?
Customers living in Northern Ireland will need an annual green card if they wish to regularly travel across the border into the Republic of Ireland (or to the rest of the EU).
NI residents won’t need a green card to travel across to England, Scotland and Wales.
These green cards aren’t issued automatically and customers should contact us to request one at least four weeks before they’re due to travel (although the government suggest giving six weeks’ notice).
What else might I need to drive abroad after Brexit?
Depending on the country you’re visiting, you may also need to take the following items:
- Additional safety equipment, such as a reflective jacket or warning triangle.
- Emission stickers
- Headlight converter stickers (for driving in Belgium or France)
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Breathalyser/alcohol test
- Spare headlight bulbs
- A tailored driving playlist including all your favorite tracks (this is essential)
Driving abroad but still not sure what to take? Check out RAC’s driving advice for every country in Europe.
Quick tip: A translation book could not only come in handy in shops and cafes, but may also be useful if you happen to break down or get involved in an accident.
Car insurance for driving abroad
When was the last time you checked your car insurance? It worth spending ten minutes to make sure you are happy with the level of cover you have. At Endsleigh, we have a whole range of different types of car insurance depending on your needs, including optional worldwide breakdown cover.