Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021
If you plan to travel abroad in the future, you need to be aware of some important rule changes. This brief guide is focused on non-commercial traffic, even more complex rules apply for freight traffic.
Whilst you have always been required to carry your UK driving licence with you, if you have a paper driving licence, or a licence issued by a Crown Dependency or oversees territory (such as Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man), you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway from 1 January 2021. As Ireland (Eire) is part of the Common Travel Area you will not need one to travel to Eire. An IDP can be obtained at a Post Office and costs £5.50. If you are 17 years old with a licence please note that you cannot obtain an IDP as you have to be over 18 years old.
You will need to obtain and retain on you a “green card” which is proof of motor insurance when driving abroad. This applies to the EU, EEA, Switzerland, Serbia, Andorra AND ALSO INCLUDES IRELAND.
You will need to carry multiple green cards if you are towing a trailer or a caravan, as you are required to have one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan. You will also need to have multiple policies if your policy renews on a date whilst you are abroad. Electronic versions are not acceptable and it must be a physical copy. Please allow 6 weeks before travel to obtain your green card from your insurer. It is permissible to print your own and despite being called green cards, you are permitted to print them on paper that is not green.
You will need to carry your vehicle log book (V5C) or the VE103 if you are in a hired or leased vehicle.
And when you thought things could not become more bizarre, we have one more new rule change for you:
You must display a separate GB sticker when driving in the EU, even if your number plate has the Euro symbol with the GB national identifier on it. However, if you have a number plate with GB and a Union flag, or GB with no flag, you do not need a separate GB sticker.
Ignorance of the law is no defence. If you wish to travel abroad, ensure you are familiar with local laws, customs and practices.