Driving abroad in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit – what you should know.

07 December 2020 - Elizabeth Nichols

Whilst most of a trade deal with the EU has been agreed, the UK and EU negotiating teams have not released any information regarding certain matters until the deal is concluded in its entirety.
This means that, with less than a month to go before the 31st December deadline, anyone who travels with a vehicle onto the European mainland – whether for business or leisure – is still none the wiser about what driving documents they will need to carry.
Currently, your existing driving licences and insurance documents are valid for all vehicle journeys throughout the EU and EEA*. But depending on what is agreed between the UK and EU over the next few days, this may change from 1st January 2021.
In the event of a ‘No Deal’ scenario, drivers will most likely have to take the following steps to ensure they have the correct driving documentation with them. It may be requested at border crossings, upon demand by a police officer, and certainly in the event of a driving incident or accident.
Green Card. Now no longer physically green, this document, provided free on request by your insurer, provides assurance to the authorities in other countries that you have at least third-party insurance for driving in their country. You will need to advise your insurer of all countries which you intend to pass through on your journey. Insurers are currently asking for at least two weeks advance notice of this.
Trailers. If you are towing a commercial trailer or a caravan, the trailer will require its own Green Card. The Green Card for a caravan will be provided by your motor insurer, even if you have an additional caravan policy with an organisation like the Caravan Club.
Ownership documents. Drivers will need to carry their V5C (log book) with them in order to demonstrate vehicle ownership. In the case of a rental car based in the UK, you will need to carry a form VE103, provided by the rental company, to indicate that you have permission to take and drive it abroad.
International Driving Permit. An IDP is a permit that allows you to drive in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. There is currently no requirement for an IDP when driving in the EU or EEA (or indeed many other countries around the world), but this may change in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. In this scenario, the list of countries requiring UK drivers to present an IDP will be updated.
In the event that you require an IDP, they are an over-the-counter service at larger Post Offices costing £5.50.
GB sticker. The little flags on number plates will no longer be sufficient and vehicles will need to display a full-size GB sticker when travelling in Europe and beyond.
This article has focused on some of the actions which could be required in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. We will update this information as soon as negotiations have concluded – irrespective of the political outcome.
* Whilst these notes refer to the current situation within the EU, the UK’s EU agreement concerning compulsory motor vehicle insurance also extends to EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) as well as Switzerland, Andorra and Serbia. If we reach 31st December 2020 without a deal then these obligations will also apply if you are planning to drive to or through any of those non-EU countries.

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