Driving abroad after Brexit

Last updated: 10/12/2020

If you drive abroad regularly - either for business or leisure – now’s a good time to get to grips with what documents you’ll need to take with you once the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31st December 2020.

Please note that these rules may change post-Brexit. You can stay up to date with the latest Brexit news by visiting the government website.

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

  • an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some EU and EEA countries – this can be purchased from the Post Office for just £5.50

  • 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.

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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 should apply for one if you’ll be driving in the EU and EEA - including in Ireland - from 1st January 2021.

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. This is so you leave enough time for your green card request to be processed, printed, posted and also to allow for any potential issues.

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:

  • A GB sticker for your car
  • 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 and more

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

At Endsleigh, we have a whole range of different types of car insurance depending on your needs including optional worldwide breakdown cover.

Learn more about car insurance or get a quote.


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