The prospect of leaving the European Union, for quite some time, felt like it would never happen. Fast-forward four years since the initial vote, the “Brexit day” is upon us and it will bring with it some changes.

You will be free to drive within the EU for either work or pleasure, up until 1st January 2021, without any documentation – just your UK driving licence.

But what happens after this date? What happens if you are moving to another EU country, and need to exchange your driving licence?

Driving in Europe: What permits and documents do I need?

Whether you are choosing to drive your own car within Europe, or opt to rent a car, whilst you are in the EU – you might need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from next year onwards. But it’s important to plan ahead of your next trip, and take out the correct IDP, which is dependent on the country you plan to drive in.

One variation is valid for a 12-month period and covers Ireland, Spain, Malta, and Cyprus. Another will permit driving in the rest of the EU countries, Switzerland and Norway – which is valid for 3 years. And, a newly-introduced, third type of IDP, which means you may be required to purchase multiple IDP’s, if you wish to travel through multiple destinations.

These documents will be strictly controlled, meaning that if you fail to register for the correct IDP, you may be turned away at the border, or potentially fined. So it’s better to be prepared – not just for this, but for new border control efforts, which may see you have to produce evidence of sufficient funds and return tickets.

On top of this, checking your passport will become the norm; with some countries requiring a minimum of 6 months left on your passport’s expiry date before permitting you into the country.

Has travelling with pets guidance changed?

Planning to go on holiday with your fluffy companion?

Well, according to new restrictions, you will be unable to use the existing pet passport scheme that you may have used previously; instead, a new process will be put in place, which requires pet owners to plan up to 4-months ahead of time.

This new guidance, applicable to cat, dog, and ferret owners, has not been finalised, so we expect that some requirements could change. Please check the latest guidance.


Living in an EU country: Will I need to exchange my driving licence?

Chances are, that if you are reading this – you will be a UK driving licence holder. But what should you do if you are either planning to move to the EU after Brexit, or currently reside there? Do you have the same right to drive as before?

Depending on the laws of your newly-established home, there may be a need for you to re-take a driving test, as rights to drive with your UK licence may be revoked.

If you choose to come back and visit the UK, you will be able to drive with your EU licence with no problems, and if you are looking to return permanently, then you will be able to re-exchange it.

Road accidents in the EU: How can I make a claim?

At this moment in time, it is expected that the UK will withdraw from the Protection of Visitors, which essentially means, that you will be unable to make a claim for an accident that happened within the EU, through traditional UK-based Claims Representatives or the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB).

Any claim would instead, have to be made directly to the foreign insurer or the equivalent of the MIB in that region – meaning claims may have to be made in the native language

With all incidents, it is still important that you contact your UK insurer as soon as possible.


UK vehicle identification: Will I need to replace plates or stickers?

Perhaps you are currently the proud owner of a Euro-plate, displaying a combination of the EU flag and the Great Britain sign, but following the upcoming transition period, you may need to showcase a GB sticker, in addition, or have to replace your existing Euro-plate altogether, which features the GB sign without the EU flag.


Brexit and car insurance: Will I need a valid Green Card?

If you are travelling to the EU, you will either need to buy local insurance in the country you are travelling to, or you could simply request a Green Card (or International Motor Insurance Certificate, IMIC) from your insurer.

Without valid proof of 3rd party insurance there is a possibility you will be unable to drive in the country, or instead, receive a fine.

Please note, there may be a requirement for you to take out separate insurance for your trailer, essentially meaning that you will need a separate Green Card as well.

Have a look at our FAQs for more information.


The information on this blog was updated 23rd November 2020 and is based on government guidance. Everything on this blog is subject to change so we recommend you keep up to date with the latest government announcements. If you’re our customer and plan to drive in the EU, please contact us for a Green Card – more on our FAQs.