Vehicles on Autobahn 5 Darmstadt

How Will Driving In Europe Change After Brexit?

The Government has issued guidelines on how driving in European Union countries will change after Britain leaves.

Vehicles on Autobahn 5 Darmstadt

The Government has issued its guidance on driving in the EU post-Brexit (Picture: DPA via PA).

The European Union (EU) have granted a delay to Brexit following talks between Prime Minister Theresa May and other leaders in Brussels.

It comes after the MPs in the House of Commons twice overwhelmingly rejected her Brexit plan.

The UK was set to leave the EU on 29 March but the new extension means Brexit could happen on one of two days.

Should MPs agree to Ms May's new deal next week, Britain will leave the EU on 22 May.

But should they reject it, the delay will be shortened to 12 April and the UK will face the option of asking for another extension or leaving the EU without a deal. 

What will happen to UK driving licences after Brexit?

From the day the UK leaves the EU, drivers who hold a British driver's licence may need a different international driving permit (IDP) to drive in Europe.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, an International Driving Permit (IDP) and extra documentation may be required to drive on EU and European Economic Area (EEA) roads.

US personnel cross border into Lithuania into Poland
(Picture: US Department of Defense).

Even in case of a no-deal Brexit, people holding UK licences should not need an IDP to drive in Ireland, as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.

IDPs can be purchasing from some UK post offices at a cost of £5.50.

What if you live in Europe and have a British driver's licence?

UK licence holders living in the EU or EEA are advised to exchange their licence for a local EU licence before Brexit.

Should there be a no-deal Brexit and UK licence holders have not exchanged their licence for an EU or EEA one, they may be required to pass a driving test in the EU country where they live before being allowed on the roads again.

An IDP will not guarantee that a UK licence will be recognised after 29 March.

US personnel during road march in Hohenfels, Germany
(Picture: US Department of Defense).

The Government says increased demand may lead to longer processing times and delays to exchanging driving licences as 29 March 2019 approaches, and the advice is to exchange licences as soon as possible.

Should the person holding a EU licence visit the UK, they will be allowed to drive on British roads provided that their licence is valid.

Furthermore, should the person holding a EU licence return to the UK, they will be allowed to exchange their EU licence for a British licence without retaking the driving test.

Gurkhas drive on German roads for the first time 180219 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Soldiers from 10 The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment drive through Germany.

What if you have a European licence and are visiting the UK?

Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, arrangements for EU and EEA licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK will not change.

This means that EU and EEA licence holders will not need an IDP to drive in the United Kingdom.

The same rules will apply to EU licence holders who are UK residents.

They will be allowed to drive in the UK using EU and EEA licences until they are 70 or for up until three years after they become resident, whichever date is the later. At this point, an application would need to be made for a UK licence.

For EU and EEA licence holders who passed their test in the EU or EEA, the UK will continue to exchange their licence.

US personnel during road march in Grafenwoehr, Germany
Military vehicles on a road near Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Vehicle number plates and registration documents

Post-Brexit, the Government recommends UK-registered vehicles display a 'GB' sticker on the rear, even if the number plate contains a GB identifier.

If there is no deal by 29 March, it is advised that drivers carry their vehicle registration documents with them when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either the vehicle's V5C log book, or a VE103.

What insurance should you carry?

Drivers of UK-registered vehicles will be expected to carry a motor insurance Green Card when driving in the EU and EEA if:

  • If there is no Brexit deal;
  • and no decision has been made by the European Commission on whether UK-registered vehicles will be checked for proof of insurance

Drivers should contact their insruance provider to obtain a motor insurance Green Card.

A motor insurance Green Card is evidence of motor insurance cover when driving abroad.

Some EU and EEA countries may also require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for a trailer. Drivers should contact their insruance provider to obtain two motor insurance Green Cards (one for the towing vehicle, and one for the trailer).