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Driving after Brexit - what will happen?

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

March 14, 2019

News 3 min read

It goes without saying that Brexit is a pretty hot topic for the UK at the moment, and it’s hard to know what’s going to happen when we leave the European Union in many aspects of life. We’re here to discuss the possible outcomes of driving in the EU, depending on how and if we leave. Before we jump into this blog, don’t worry – you don’t have to know the ins and outs of Brexit to understand this because, well does anyone know the ins and outs?

What’s it like now?

At the moment, your UK driving licence allows you to drive anywhere in the EEA (this is the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Pretty simple, right?

Currently, Theresa May has a withdrawal agreement that, if passed, means your UK driving licence will still be valid and allow you to visit EEA countries without the need of any additional documents.

If the UK leaves without a deal

This is where things can get a little more complicated. If the government are unable to get a deal with the EU to allow UK licences to be recognised when driving in Europe, UK drivers will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) if they want to drive in all EEA countries (expect the Republic of Ireland). This is basically an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence!

Getting an IDP

You can pick up an IDP from Post Offices, for the cost of £5.50. Depending on where you’re travelling to will depend on the type of IDP you need.

  • 1926 IDP is for drivers visiting Liechtenstein
  • 1949 IDP is for drivers visiting Spain, Iceland, Malta or Cyprus
  • 1968 IDP is for drivers visiting all other EU countries, including Norway and Switzerland

There may be changes to the type of IDP you will need depending on where you travel. For a full list, check here.

To apply for an IDP you will need to take the following to your nearest Post Office

  • A full valid UK driving licence, either your photo card or old paper licence. Provisional licence holders are not permitted to drive outside the UK
  • A passport sized photograph
  • The £5.50 application fee
  • Original valid passport as proof of ID, if you are presenting the older paper version of your driving licence

Once you have your IDP, this will be valid for 1 year. If you are driving to a different country where a different IDP is needed, you will need to apply for this. One IDP does not cover all countries in the EEA.

What else will I need?

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you’ll also need to pick up a Green Card from your insurer before driving abroad, to prove your car is covered. The Green Card only proves a minimum cover of Third Party Insurance – it isn’t necessarily the cover you get in the UK. You should check with your insurer to find out the type of cover you have when driving abroad.

Keep up to date

As Brexit has not yet happened, things may change in the coming weeks/months. Be sure you keep up to date with all the latest news before planning to drive in the EU. What you need at that time may change from now.

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Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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