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  • 11 November 2018
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    What Does Brexit Mean for Motorists Driving Internationally - A break-down

Driving Abroad Post-Brexit


It’s hard to know what's really going to happen if and when we do leave the European Union, however, on the 13th September this year the consequences for driving internationally were made clearer.

The UK Government published the latest technical notices, stating a few interesting requirements should we leave the EU without a deal in place. As you may know, the UK is set to leave the EU March 29th of next year, at 11pm to be precise.

However, what we as a nation are less clear on, is the deal, if any, that we will depart with. If a deal isn't made before we leave, UK drivers that wish to drive internationally will have to follow a few simple rules and regulations to ensure ticket avoidance and legal repercussions.

Brexit driving abroad

So what are they?

  • UK drivers taking their car to, or driving in, any EU states could require more than just your driving licence
  • An evidentiary Green Card for third-party motor insurance cover will be required
  • It’s also likely that the purchase of an International Driving Permit (IDP) will be needed

What do we need to know about Green Cards?

  • On 23rd September, the UK Government announced that UK citizens driving in EU states will require a Green Card if we leave the EU without a deal in place
  • A Green Card will act as proof of a driver’s third-party automotive insurance cover (for EU, EEA, Andorra, Switzerland and Serbia)
  • If you are unsure or plan to drive in EU states from 29th March 2019, contact your insurance provider and enquire about a Green Card for your travels.

What do we need to know about IDPs?

There are 3 types of IDP, depending upon where you will be driving, so make sure you chose carefully

  • 1949 IDP: Valid for 12 months for Ireland, Malta, Spain or Cyprus
  • 1968 IDP: Valid up to 3 years for all other EU States
  • 1926 IDP: Only required if onward travel to Iraq, Somalia, & potentially Brazil

How can you get an IDP and is it expensive?

The good news is that IDP’s aren't expensive, at only £5.50 per IDP.

However, if you require multiple IDP’s, such as for Ireland and Italy, two IDP’s must be purchased, totalling at £11.

IDP’s also seem relatively easy to buy, however from 1st February 2019 they will only be sold via the Post Office. The process is a quick 5-minute transaction, you can simply walk in without appointment or pre-order and ask at the counter.

Brexit Driving Permit

Is this applicable for hire vehicles? 

It’s not yet known for sure if a UK citizen hiring a vehicle abroad would require a IDP, however you may want to check with the rental company before you travel if you are unsure. 

What happens to my UK drivers licence if I move country?

The UK government has said that: 

“If, after exit day, you become resident in an EU country you would not have the automatic right under EU law to exchange your UK licence for a driving licence from the EU country you’re living in.  Depending on the laws of the EU country you move to, you may need to take a new driving test in that country.  You can avoid this by exchanging your UK driving licence for one from the EU country you move to or live in before 29 March 2019. UK licence holders who do this will be able to re-exchange for a UK licence if they return to live in the UK.”

Navigating Brexit



So, to summarise what the UK Government have been quoted: 

  • If you want the ease of automatically exchanging your UK drivers licence to a new one for the EU country you are now/will be living in, you must do so before exit day (29th Mach 2019)
  • If you haven’t changed license type prior to the leave date, you are not legally entitled to automatic exchange and may have to actually re-take your driving test in the country you have migrated to
  • If you have an exchanged license before the exit date, but then wish to return to the UK and exchange your license back once more, you will be able to do so.

Therefore although there may not be a deal in place prior to our imminent EU exit, the effects on motorists abroad are seemingly manageable with a little pre-travel research and planning. Just be sure to check with your insurance and vehicle hire companies before you go! Safe travels! 

Howard Garages (Weston) Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Automotive Compliance Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No 497010). Automotive Compliance Ltd’s permissions as a Principal Firm allows Howard Garages (Weston) Ltd to act as a credit broker, not as a lender, for the introduction to a limited number of finance providers and to act as an agent on behalf of the insurer for insurance distribution activities only.

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