Brexit – Driving in and travelling to the EU

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 with a transitional period which ended on 31 December 2020. Just prior to this, the Government announced that it has agreed a deal with Europe.

Whilst some of the finer details are yet to be made clear, we do know that the UK is not part of the European Green Card free circulation zone. This means that you will be required to carry additional documentation when driving and travelling in the EU.

Driving your own vehicle abroad

If you are intending to drive in the EU, you’ll now need to have a valid Green Card, a GB sticker and carry your V5 document with you. You may also need an International Driving Permit depending on what country you are driving in.

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that proves that you are suitably insured to drive in EU countries. You’ll need to have a physical copy of the Green Card when travelling. If you arrive at the border without a physical Green Card (digital copies are not acceptable), you will not be allowed to drive in that country. However, as of July 2020, a Green Card no longer has to be printed on green paper. A black and white copy is now acceptable.

If you’re towing a caravan or trailer, you’ll need two green cards, one for your vehicle and one for the caravan or trailer.

If you don’t have a Green Card you may be breaking the law by driving your vehicle in Europe, and you might face a fine or your vehicle could be seized.

For full details visit  https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad.

Getting your Green Card and other documents

A Green Card is a document which is provided by your insurer. It’s important to contact A-Plan as early as possible prior to departure to mitigate the potential impact of any delays with postage that may prevent you from receiving and subsequently travelling in the European Union. Most insurers ask that the requests are with them at least 4 weeks prior to travel, but the earlier the better. Some are now able to email the Green Card as a pdf document, so if you receive yours by email, please ensure it’s printed off prior to travel.

International Drivers Permit (IDP) can be purchased from the Post Office for £5.50 and you’ll need to present your current driver’s licence when applying. The type of IDP needed will depend on which country you’re visiting and driving in.

If the original vehicle log book (V5C document) has been lost, damaged or destroyed, then you will need to get a replacement from the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

You can pick up a GB sticker from many outlets including Amazon, eBay or Halfords.

Other documentation and things to be aware of

Passports: You’ll still need to make sure you have a valid passport with a minimum of six months left before it expires. So it’s worth checking the expiry date now to ensure that you have sufficient time to renew it before you travel.

EHIC Cards: If you have an existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will be valid if you’re travelling to an EU country. EHIC’s will soon be replaced with a new UK Global Health Insurance Card, so once your EHIC expires, you’ll need to replace it with the GHIC. Please note the GHIC will only cover you in the EU, not in countries such as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. For more information about EHIC’s/GHIC’s visit gov.uk.

Wherever you’re travelling to, it’s advisable to purchase travel insurance. Please speak to us as we can help with this.

Pet passports: If you’re taking a pet with you, you’ll need to carry an Animal Health Certificate (ACH) as the existing pet passport scheme will no longer be used. You can find out more on the Government website here.

Travelling for business: If you’re travelling for business, you may need a visa, work permit or other documentation is you’re planning to  stay longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in the EU or providing services as a self-employed person in another country. Check out the Government’s website for more information.