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Driving in Europe in a post-Brexit world

  • Driving in Europe in a post-Brexit world

It’s sometimes hard to remember a time when Brexit and its associated rule changes weren’t rumbling away in the background, and you’d be forgiven for having let some of them pass you by in the midst of the pandemic. However, with travel becoming easier once again, and European destinations becoming a tangible possibility for 2022, you’ll want to be up to speed on how Brexit has affected driving in Europe…

Driving licences 

If you’re planning on driving abroad, one of your main concerns is likely to be whether your UK driving license will still be valid. The good news is that the answer to that is (mostly) yes! The exceptions are if you only hold a paper licence (not a photocard one), as well as licences issued in Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, or Gibraltar. In these cases, an International Driving Permit may be needed, and these are easily obtained - you can get one at Post Offices for £5.50. 

It makes sense to check with the embassy of the country in question prior to travelling, in order to double-check if you need an IDP, and, if so, what type.  


Gone are the days of producing a green card to prove that you’re insured! Whilst this isn’t required anymore, it’s a good idea to carry proof of vehicle registration when driving abroad, such as the vehicle log book. All UK motor insurance now comes with minimum third-party cover for driving in most European countries too, which is handy! 

Displaying stickers

Remember those GB stickers for the back of your car? Since 28th September 2021, those need to be changed to ‘UK’ when driving internationally in Europe and beyond - with the exception of Ireland. This needs to go on the back of your car, regardless of whether it’s already on the number plate. 

Driving for work? 

If you drive professionally, for example, as a bus driver, coach driver or heavy goods vehicle driver, green cards are a thing of the past for you in the Green Card-Free Circulation Zone too. However, you do need to carry a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence when you hit a European road. 

EU licence holders 

EU Licence holders visiting the UK are still able to drive using their EU licence without obtaining an International Driving Permit. However, if the vehicle is insured in the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, an insurance green card will still be required, or failing that, other proof of insurance. 

The general consensus if you’re considering getting behind the wheel abroad in any country is to do some research before you travel, and leave enough time to ensure you’ve got the relevant paperwork on board. Driving in Europe can be a fantastic experience - enjoy!