Driving in Europe After Brexit. Your Questions Answered.

Under the current Brexit agreement, the UK will take back control of its borders, ending the free movement of EU citizens to the UK. But this means that free movement for UK citizens travelling to the EU will also stop. The EU and the UK want to preserve visa-free travel for short-term visits, like holidays, but the future state of longer-term visas is very much in contention.
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**This blog has been updated to reflect recent changes in the Brexit process**

Driving in Europe After Brexit

Under the current Brexit agreement, the UK will take back control of its borders, ending the free movement of EU citizens to the UK. But this means that free movement for UK citizens travelling to the EU will also stop. The EU and the UK want to preserve visa-free travel for short-term visits, like holidays, but the future state of longer-term visas is very much in contention.

What has happened to driving licences post Brexit?

Before leaving the EU a UK driving licence was valid in all 28 countries. Now, countries are honouring them for shorter breaks. For those who are residents, licences need to be transferred to their main country of residence. From 31st October 2019, drivers from the UK will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA. As well as having insurance specific for driving in Europe, you will need breakdown cover, a Green Card and depending on country, an IDP (International Driving Permit.)

What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a permit that allows you to drive in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. These countries include the USA, Brazil, Japan and some countries in the EU. Applying for an IDP includes an application fee and you can get one through the Post Office.

I’m a UK expat Living Abroad. Is my driving licence still valid?

If you’re a UK expat living abroad, the Government recommends that you exchange your UK driving licence for a local EU driving licence according to local law. Details on each country’s acceptance, or lack thereof, of the UK licence in the case of expats is available on the gov website. If you’re in this situation, swap your driving licence as soon as possible.

Have number plates changed after Brexit?

Now the UK has left the EU with a deal, you will need a GB sticker if your car has a Euro-plate, as well as if the number plate has no national identifier on it or displays the national flag of England, Scotland or Wales.

How do I get a Green Card from Keith Michaels?

To request your Green Card you can email us at amy@keithmichaels.co.uk or admin@keithmichaels.co.uk. Alternatively, you can call us on 0208 329 1150 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You will need to provide us with your full name, vehicle you are taking, dates of travel, and whether your vehicle will be towing a caravan or trailer.

I have fully comprehensive cover on my Standard Car Insurance policy, do I still have this whilst driving in the EU?

Yes. We will extend this cover for up to 90 days whilst travelling in any of the countries in your policy booklet.

Can I print the Green Card myself?

Under any circumstances, you cannot print your Green Card yourself. Keith Michaels can organise the issuing of your paperwork, either by printing ourselves or arranging for your insurance company to do so.

What countries are covered by the Green Card legislation?

Please check your policy details for the full list applicable, but typically the countries covered are:

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eire, Estonia, Finland, France (including Monaco), Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy (including San Marino & the Vatican City), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

I’m planning on moving abroad. Can I still swap my licence?

Under existing rules, you can swap your UK licence for a local one if you’re planning to permanently move abroad. Expats may need to take a driving test in their new country before being legally recognised as being able to drive, but it is worth checking in your new country before you travel.

Can I use my EU licence in the UK?

You can drive on your EU licence when visiting the UK. If you return to live in the UK and have passed your driving test, you can exchange your EU licence for a UK licence without retaking your test.

Will I need to change my passport after Brexit?

If you want to travel to the EU after Brexit, make sure you have at least six months left on your passport. If it’s about to expire, you won’t be allowed to travel.

Driving Commercial Vehicles After Brexit

I drive a bus or coach abroad. How will I be affected?

Information from GOV states:

You must carry certain documents about yourself with you if you drive a bus or coach between countries. These include:

  • a valid UK driving licence
  • an international driving permit (IDP) if you need one for the countries you’re travelling in
  • a valid Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card
  • a valid passport
  • healthcare documents

How will Brexit affect HGVs and haulage?

The Government is confident in its ability to negotiate favourable deals post-Brexit to preserve the ability of UK lorry drivers to travel across the EU. There is also a range of permit and licence options available. We will have to wait until more negotiations have taken place to see how lorry drivers will be affected.

Car Insurance for UK Vehicles in the EU After Brexit

Whilst it is not mandatory to carry a motor insurance Green Card under the current rules in order to drive in the EU it may be worthwhile to do so as the Green Card is evidence of motor insurance cover when driving abroad

Will my car insurance still apply abroad after Brexit?

You will need to carry a motor insurance Green Card when driving in the EU and EEA.

Some countries also require separate insurance for trailers. This means that you may also need a separate Green Card for your trailer.

How will car insurance claims in the EU change after Brexit?

If you’re involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country, you will not be able to make an insurance claim via a UK-based Claims Representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Instead, you may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. This may involve bringing the claim in the local language. If you need more information about this, you should seek legal advice.

The Post-Brexit Motor Industry

How has Brexit affected the motor industry?

Car manufacturers are going to face regulation issues with the EU. If a car or parts of a car are made in the UK, a no-deal Brexit means firms will have to apply for “type approval”. Type approval is a regulatory process that shows that parts and products comply with EU safety and environmental standards. Without a deal in place, there is no guarantee the EU would give Britain the same in return. This could impact the UK motor industry’s ability to conduct business effectively. As deals are still ongoing for some aspects, changes will continue to come into place over the next six months or so.

Will importing cars change after Brexit?

Leaving the EU HAS affected imports with the EU. After the Brexit decision, the import relationship with non-EU countries will not change.

The only difference will be if the EU makes trade agreements with non-EU countries, the UK will be left out. However, in regard to your transportation, you will still need to go through the normal importing processes.

This is the current advice available from the Government with regard to Brexit. As we get closer to the leave date and the negotiations get finalised, we will get more certainty and more assurances.