Many drivers are worried about how Brexit will affect driving in Europe. Leaving the EU will affect every aspect of UK life and even now, nothing is certain.
It might feel like Brexit is never going to end, but it will eventually. According to UK law, at 11pm on 29th March 2019, the UK will officially leave the EU.
A Quick Brexit Rundown
Why is Britain leaving the European Union?
On 23rd June 2016, Britain held a referendum to decide whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU. After 30 million people voiced their view in the referendum, Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%. The Government has chosen to stick to the “mandate of the British people” and follow through on the decision.
When is the UK due to leave the EU?
Following the referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the Leave process on 29th March 2017. According to EU rules, the UK is scheduled to leave at 11pm UK time on Friday, 29th March 2019.
A European court has ruled that the UK can decide to halt the process and stay in the EU at any time up to the deadline. Alternatively, the process can be extended if all 28 EU members agree. However, Theresa May has put the Leave date of the 29th March 2019 into British law to cement the UK’s commitment. Before any halt or extension can be considered, that law needs to be overturned first.
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 will happen to drive licences after Brexit?
Before leaving the EU a UK driving licence is valid in all 28 countries. As such, you are able to use it to drive anywhere in the EU, for work or pleasure. But this could change if there is a no-deal Brexit.
From 28th March 2019, drivers from the UK will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK drivers may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU and EEA.
What will happen if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal?
1. If the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, insurers will be required to issue their customers with a Green Card to travel in Europe. This is an international certificate that provides evidence to the border services that you have valid car insurance in the UK which covers you to drive in Europe.
2. You will also need an International Driving Permit. You can find out more about getting an International Driving Permit by going to the UK Government website on driving abroad here: https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad.
3. We also advise that you carry your Certificate of Motor Insurance with you when travelling.
When should I request a Green Card?
You should aim to request your Green Card around 14 days before your travel date, and if you want to be super safe, a month.
How do I get a Green Card from Keith Michaels?
To request your Green Card you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. 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.
What is an international driving permit?
An International Driving Permit 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 potentially, the EU. Applying for an IDP includes an application fee and you can get one through the Post Office.
I’m planning on moving abroad. Can I still swap my licence?
Under existing rules, you can swap your UK license for a local one if you’re planning to permanently move abroad. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, this privilege will end and expats may need to take a driving test in their new country before being legally recognised as being able to drive.
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 before 29th March 2019. This will save you from having to take a driving test in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
If you’re in this situation, swap your driving licence as soon as possible. Increased demand may lead to longer processing times and delays to exchanging driving licences the closer we get to the leave date.
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 number plates change after Brexit?
If we end up with a no-deal Brexit, you may need a GB sticker even if your vehicle has a Euro-plate (a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign). You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.
Will my 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. If you want a blue passport, they will be issued in late 2019, however, at the moment this isn’t mandatory.
Driving Commercial Vehicles After Brexit
I drive a bus or coach abroad. How will I be affected?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU countries may not recognise UK issued community licences. The UK’s participation in the Interbus Agreement through EU membership would also cease. The UK intends to re-join Interbus as an independent member as soon as possible thereafter. This would enable UK operators to run occasional routes into the EU.
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
Under the current rules, you don’t need a motor insurance Green Card in order to drive in the EU. A motor insurance Green Card is evidence of motor insurance cover when driving abroad.
Will my car insurance still apply abroad after Brexit?
If we end up with a no-deal Brexit and the European Commission doesn’t come to a decision on handling drivers of UK registered vehicles, 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?
In a no-deal Brexit scenario, 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.
If an accident is caused by an uninsured or an untraced EU driver, you may not receive compensation if there is no Brexit deal.
The Post-Brexit Motor Industry
How will Brexit affect the motor industry?
After Brexit, 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 type approval, UK car manufacturers won’t be able to sell their cars and parts in the EU. According to the current Brexit plan, for two years following the leave date, the UK will automatically convert EU approvals into UK approvals. This means there would be no problem for EU manufacturers wanting to sell their cars in the UK.
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.
Will importing cars change after Brexit?
Leaving the EU will only affect 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.