Post-Brexit: What drivers need to know

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Author: | Updated: 31 Jan 2020 15:12

Boris Johnson has promised to get Brexit done. The UK leaves the European Union today (31 January). But what else do we know? Will driving licences still be valid in Europe? How will insurance policies be affected?

Post-Brexit: What drivers need to know

We’ve been checking out exactly what could change and when. Turns out that it’s very little for now. The transitional arrangements, which run for almost a year, mean that nothing changes until 31 December 2020. UK business will continue to be bound by EU rules, free movement of goods remains in place and EEA nationals will enjoy the right to live and work in the UK.

So let’s drill down a little deeper for drivers.

Will my driving licence still be valid?

Currently, UK driving licences are valid in all EU countries and, as long as you hold a UK licence, you can drive for both work and leisure in any country without additional documentation.

UK driving licence

Once the transition period ends, you may need to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP), as well as your photocard licence.

What’s an international driving permit and where can I get one?

An IDP is essentially a translation of your own driving licence that allows foreign authorities to confirm your identity. Two types are available.

One type is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic and the other by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

The 1949 convention IDP lasts for 12 months. After 28 March 2019 in the EU, a UK issued 1949 IDP would be recognised in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus. The 1968 convention IDP is valid for three years, or for however long your driving licence is valid if it falls within the three years.

Model car European map

The 1968 convention will come into force for the UK on 28 March 2019. After this date, a UK issued 1968 convention IDP would be recognised in all other EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland.

It’s worth remembering you’ll need to carry your photocard licence as well as an IDP, and that both will be required if you’re planning on hiring a vehicle in an EU country. Both types of IDP cost £5.50 and are obtainable at 2,500 post offices across the country. You can find out more information on the Post Office website.

What about car insurance?

49933044 - sad woman driver in car

EU law made it possible to drive around Europe for up to 90 days provided you had your UK insurance documentation with you. Once the transition period is over, addition to the IDP, drivers of UK registered vehicles will need to carry a motor insurance Green Card when driving in the EU and EEA.The green card is essentially another insurance certificate that essentially translates your insurance into foreign languages. For it to be legally binding, it must be printed on green paper.

You’ll be able to obtain one by contacting your insurance company. A green card must also have at least 15 days’ cover on it before you enter EU countries.

Do I need a GB car sticker?

Before Brexit, you only needed the GB sticker if your car did not have blue EU registration plates that display the 'GB' initials. From February, you need to display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehciles, trailer or cravan in any of the 27 EU countries, no matter what.

What about my lease car?

Aside from the potential requirement to carry an IDP and green card, other rules haven’t changed. That means you’ll be required to carry your V5 document with you. For lease customers, that means you’ll need to request a VE103 ‘Vehicle on Hire’ form from the leasing company because they will be the legal owner of the vehicle.

It’s important that you remember to do this, because this form is the only legal alternative to a V5 document. However, this has always been the case and won’t be affected by potential no-deal scenarios.

Will passports still work?

Passport photo

Yes, your burgundy passport can still be used. It’s also understood that you won’t need a visa from 1 January 2021 if you're a tourist. however, there may be a £6 visa-waiver fee for holidays and short stays. After the transition period, you must have at least six months left on your passports if going to the EU.

Anything else to consider?

The European Health Insurance Card will continue working this year, plus you'll still be able to use your UK allowance when making calls or sending texts to anywhere in the EU from 2021. But mobile providers will be able to start charging again from next year.

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