Three years after the referendum, we have now left the EU and entered an 11-month transition period.

Luckily, not much changes during this transition period but it’s good to understand what changes we might face once a deal has been finalised.

We’ve broken it down for you – scroll down for what might happen after the transition period. Please note that it’s possible for the transition period to be delayed and whilst we can use pre-Brexit advice to guess what might change, nothing is guaranteed.

What do I need to do before driving to an EU country?

International Driving Permits

Transition period:

The rules on the International Driving Permit (IDP) are not changing during the transition period.

After the transition period:

You might need to buy an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU. These can be bought at post offices and only cost £5.50 – just turn up and request one. An IDP would be needed to both drive your own car or to hire a car in the EU country.

This would require some planning ahead as there are different IDPs available, based on what country you’re driving in. One is for Ireland, Spain, Cyprus and Malta and valid for 12 months, and another is valid for 3 years and recognised in the rest of the EU countries, and Norway and Switzerland. From 28th March the UK will also introduce a third IDP. You’d have to buy different permits, if travelling through multiple countries.

Not having an IDP, or buying the wrong one, could get you banned from driving in the country or result in fines. It’s also possible you’ll need to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months.

You’re likely to not need a visa, but you’ll need to pay 7€ (£6.30) every three years for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) document, expected to come in place from 2021.

Green Cards

Transition period:

You don’t need a Green Card to drive in the EU during the transition period.

After the transition period:

Once the transition period ends, we won’t be part of the ‘free circulation zone’ anymore. This means you’ll need a Green Card to prove you have the required third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia or Switzerland.

You can request for one from your insurer, or purchase local insurance in the country you’re travelling to. Without a proof of third party insurance, you might not be allowed to drive or you could get a fine. If you’ll be travelling with a trailer, you might be required to get a separate Green Card for it.

Have a look at our Green Card FAQs for more information.

Identification for UK vehicles

Transition period:

You can keep your registration plate and the GB sticker (if you have one also) as it is.

After the transition period (note that this might be delayed and whilst we can guess what might change, nothing is yet formally agreed):

When driving abroad, you need to show that your car is registered in the UK through a GB distinguished number plate or a sticker. You can also have a ‘Euro-plate’ with both the EU flag and a GB sign. After the transition period, it’s possible you’ll need to get a GB sticker with a Euro-plate or replace it with one featuring a GB sign only.

What do I need to do if I’m involved in an accident in an EU country?

Transition period:

The UK is currently part of a Protection of Visitors arrangement, allowing UK residents to make a claim through UK-based representatives or the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB), if they’re involved in a road accident in an EU country. This doesn’t change during the transition period.

After the transition period:

Once Brexit is final, the UK is likely to be withdrawn from this arrangement, which means claims would have to be made to the foreign insurer or the foreign equivalent of MIB.