29th March 2019 the UK will leave the EU. Yet, it seems nobody knows what’s going to happen.
If you’re planning a road trip around Europe for next summer – depending on whether there’s a Brexit deal or not – your preparation checklist might need to change.
At the moment, your driving licence is valid in the EU. You can drive, for work or pleasure, with your UK licence without any additional documents. If you move to another EU country, you can exchange your licence for one from your new home country – and not have to retake a driving test.
It’s likely that a no-deal Brexit will change this, so here’s what you can expect:
Proof of insurance
You need to prove you have third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia or Switzerland, and you might need a Green Card in the future.
You can ask 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 get a fine.
There’s no need to ask for a Green Card yet though, and you’ll be informed properly if this is needed.
If you’re an EU driving licence holder, you can continue driving in the UK under the same requirements as so far.
Driving in the EU
You might also need to buy an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU. These can be bought at post offices on a quick turn-up-and-go basis and only cost £5.50. An IDP would be needed to both drive your own car or 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 of six months.
The good news is that you won’t need to buy 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.
Moving to an EU country
If you know now that you’re going to move to an EU country, you can exchange your UK licence for a new EU version in advance. You can always re-exchange this, if you return to the UK.
Without an EU licence, you might not have the right to drive after the Brexit date. Depending on the laws of your new resident country, you might have to take a new driving test.
We’re expecting more information on driving permits and licence agreements soon. A lot of us are waiting – the National Audit Office report suggests that between 100,000 and seven million international driving permits might need to be issued in the first year, if we have a no-deal Brexit.