Driving in Europe Post-Brexit – Advice for UK Holidaymakers

Driving in Europe Post-Brexit – Advice for UK Holidaymakers

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Without a withdrawal agreement, no one is really sure what driving in Europe might mean for UK holidaymakers later in the year. However, it is almost certain that there’ll be no more hopping in your car in the UK and driving off the ferry or Eurostar the other side without additional paperwork in place. As such, UK holidaymakers planning to enjoy the scenic routes of Europe by car or camper after 31st October are being advised to look into getting a Green Card, and an IDP (International Driving Permit). Here’s what you need to know.

Green Cards For Driving In Europe

A Green Card is a certificate issued by your motor insurer that provides proof to authorities that you have adequate motor insurance cover. It is required in a number of countries worldwide, including all the countries in the European Union. Drivers should apply for a Green Card from their current insurer a month before the planned travel. Be aware that there may be a small admin fee.

Travelling Without A Green Card

At present, it is not a requirement for UK drivers to have a Green Card to travel in Europe, but in the event of a no-deal Brexit (or should a last-minute deal go ahead that states Green Cards are required), it would be wise to have one just in case.

In the event you don’t have a Green Card when you do need one, authorities could seize your vehicle and/or issue a heavy fine.

Green Cards and Car Hire

It is thought that if you hire a car in Europe, then the rental from the hire company should cover you. However, if you hire a car in the UK to take over to Europe, you will need to get a Green Card.

Car Hire Excess Insurance

While we are on the topic of car hire, we should remind you that it would be prudent to take out Car Hire Excess Insurance. This insurance means you don’t have to take out the excess insurance from the car hire company, which usually provides extremely limited cover, and comes with an array of exclusions that almost guarantee you have to pay something when you return the vehicle. For more insights on why you need Car Hire Excess Insurance and other top tips when renting a hire car for your holiday, see our Car Hire Travel Tips post.

International Driving Permits

It is likely that UK driving licences will not be recognised in the European Union Post-Brexit, which means that you will have to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Europe.

IDPs are available from the Post Office, and if you are traveling through more than one country you may need more than one IDP. For example, a 1968 IDP is valid for France and Germany, but if you plan to head to Spain, you’ll also need a 1949 IDP.

Having said all that, there are quirks and anomalies across the board – for example no IDPs are needed for Switzerland, and won’t be even in the event of a no-deal withdrawal; also in Spain, you wouldn’t actually need one until 1stAugust 2020, and only if you are staying for more than 6 months.

Do be aware that IDPs are only valid for a limited period, and this varies between countries – the Post Office online IDP checker gives full details, as does the .gov website.


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