Driving in the EU Post-Brexit: What you Need to Know

May 4, 2020 By Usher

There is currently a lot of uncertainty around the future of the UK in relation to Europe, with the situation at the time of writing this article being largely dependent on the outcome of the 12th December General Election. There’s no doubt that much will change, but one thing that might catch out holidaymakers, day trippers and business workers is that the legal situation relating to driving to the European Union may change. We’ve prepared the below article to explain what car owners need to know if they’re going to be visiting an EU member state after Brexit has occurred.

The below assumes that the UK exits the EU with a deal. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, it is possible that circumstances may change further!

Essential documents

Vehicle registration documents

You’ll need to take proof of the vehicle’s registration with you, this will generally include the V5C (log book). If it’s a lease car, you’ll also need a VE103 (vehicle on hire certificate) to demonstrate that the driver is able to use the vehicle when driving abroad.

Trailers weighing more than 750kg used for commercial purposes (or non-commercial ones weighing more than 3,500kg) also need to be registered to be used.

Driving license (Or IDP if there’s a no deal)

It goes without saying that your driving license should be with you when taking your car into Europe. For some EU states, it may be required to acquire an International Driving Permit in addition to providing a UK license. Make sure you check the details on the official state website before you travel, as there are different variations of the IDP regulations depending on the country visited. These can be bought from The Post Office and will typically cost £5.50.

Insurance and breakdown cover

Green cards

Green cards are in effect an international travel certificate, certifying that the policyholder has sufficient 3rd party cover to be able to travel to the country in question. In theory, EU insurance providers have said that these will not be needed even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, although this hasn’t yet been fully ratified by the European Commission.  Green cards (usually pieces of paper in fact) can usually be acquired from the insurance provider, and may be required for trailers and caravans as well – it’s also worth knowing that there may be a cost involved.

Additional information for fleet owners and company drivers

According to the gov.uk website, any fleets travelling to the EU after the Brexit date will need a green card for every vehicle in the fleet.

Breakdown cover

Not all types of breakdown cover that cater for the UK will be valid for travel in Europe, so it’s definitely worth checking that the cover can be used if a breakdown occurs on the continent.

Other considerations

GB stickers

When driving in the EU, number plate stickers are needed to identify the vehicle as originating from the United Kingdom, either in the form of EU plates or separate stickers. Leaving without a deal will mean that these are needed in addition to the regulation blue EU plates; if the vehicle already has the blue ‘GB’ sticker and a deal is done, additional stickers shouldn’t be necessary.