New Rules for Driving Abroad in Europe

Posted on 10th March 2021

Since the deal was reached between the UK and the EU at the very end of 2020, very few of us have needed to consider the new rules for when driving in Europe - thanks largely to a national lockdown. But with an end now in sight and a date from the Prime Minister as to when foreign travel may be permitted again, it is something we may need to start considering to avoid being caught out. 

So here is a round-up of the key points you’ll need to know for next time you’re driving abroad in Europe. 

Is my UK drivers license still accepted?

For the vast majority of us, the answer is yes. Your UK drivers license will still permit you to drive in EU countries. 

However, anyone who doesn’t have a photocard and has a paper copy of their license only may need to buy an International Driving Permit. The same goes for licenses issued in the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey and Gibraltar. 

There are different types of IDP so it’s advised to check the government’s resource on which is needed for individual countries (both in and outside of europe) which can be found here

An IDP can be bought from the Post Office for £5.50.

Do I need to take any other documents with me?

Yes. In addition to your license and IDP (if needed), you’ll also need to take your log book if driving your own vehicle, or a VE103 Certificate if you’ll be in a car that you have hired or leased in the UK. 

You’ll also need a GB sticker unless your number plate already has GB on it. However, it’s important to note that the GB must be alone or with a union flag - if the GB is alongside any other flag then you will still need a sticker. And if you’re driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta you will need a sticker regardless.  

Wing mirror of a car looking out on to the sea with two cyclists riding past

And as for insurance? 

You’ll need a green card from your insurer. And don’t forget that any caravan’s or other vehicles you may tow will need their own additional ones as well. 

You may be asked to show your green card when crossing borders and if you were involved in a road traffic accident. 

What about for UK nationals living abroad?

The new government guidance for any UK nationals living in the EU is that UK drivers licenses will need to be traded in for the relevant local ones. Make sure to check the specific deadlines for this as they vary from country to country. 

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