Driving Abroad Post-Brexit: Everything You Need To Know!

Driving Abroad Post-Brexit: Everything You Need To Know!

UK driving licences will not be valid in the European Union if no Brexit deal is agreed, the government has said.

As a result, a total of 2,500 Post Office branches across the UK are now selling International Driving Permits (IDPs) for people who wish to drive in the EU. If you want to find out which branches can issue IDPs, please visit the Post Office Website.

Our guide to drive abroad after Brexit (if no deal is agreed) tells you everything you need to know about IDPs before leaving on your journey, including which type of IDPs you will need (depending on which country you’re visiting) and how you can apply.

What is an IDP and do I need one?

The IDP is a small passport-like document that you can get prior to your trip, which functions as your UK driving license internationally.

This International Driving Permit is in addition to, not a replacement of, UK motorists driving license – which you will also need to have with you if you’re driving and/or renting a car abroad.

Answering the question to which IDPs UK motorists will need depends on which country – or countries’ – you are visiting.

Read more: Rivervale’s Guide to Driving in Europe

Which IDP will i need?

  • 1949 IDP: If you are travelling to Ireland, Malta, Spain or Cyprus, you may require a 1949 IDP. The 1949 convention IDP is valid for 12 months.

  • 1968 IDP: If you are travelling to all other EU states, you may require a 1968 IDP. The 1968 convention IDP is valid for three years, or for however long your driving license is valid, if that date is earlier.

  • 1926 IDP: A 1926 IDP is not required in any EU state. However, it is required it if you plan to drive in Mexico or Somalia.

Note that while an IDP will cover you for tourism purposes, it will not cover you if you wish to migrate to another EU country or if you plan to drive for employment purposes.

The UK Government states: “If, after exit day, you become resident in an EU country you would not have the automatic right under EU law to exchange your UK licence for a driving licence from the EU country you’re living in. Depending on the laws of the EU country you move to, you may need to take a new driving test in that country.

"You can avoid this by exchanging your UK driving licence for one from the EU country you move to or live in before 29 March 2019.

"UK licence holders who do this, will be able to re-exchange for a UK licence if they return to live in the UK.”

How does it work for motorists that want drive in two independent countries’?


UK motorists that will be driving through multiple countries will need more than one IDP. For example, somebody driving through France and then on to Spain will need both a 1949 and a 1968 IDP.


Other IDP Key Facts & Eligibility Information:


  • An IDP is valid for a maximum one year

  • You must be 18 years old or over to apply for an IDP

  • You must have a valid full driving license to apply for an IDP

  • Be a permanent resident of the UK

  • You can’t apply for an IDP more than three months before you travel

  • You can’t get an IDP issued retrospectively

  • You can’t apply for an IDP with a provisional license

What do we need to know about green cards?

In the event of a ‘no deal scenario’, the Government has stated that drivers hiring or taking their vehicle abroad after Brexit would need to carry a ‘Green Card’ as proof of a third-party motor insurance when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

We advise that you contact your insurance company if you are driving in these territories after the 29th of March.


How long will it take to receive an IDP?

The process to getting an IDP at the Post Office will take no longer than 5 mins.

How much does an IDP cost?

An IDPs can be purchased from a Post Office for a cost of £5.50.

However, if you need more than one IDPs, such as for Ireland and Spain, two IDPs must be bought, which comes to a total of £11.

Did you know ...

  • From 29 March 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need a GB sticker on your vehicle registration even if your vehicle has a Euro-plate (a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign).

  • Transfers of data from the EEA to the UK will become restricted once the UK has left the EU.

  • In the event of an accident in an EU or EEA country caused by an uninsured or an untraced driver, UK residents may not receive compensation if there is no EU Exit deal. 

If there is a no Brexit agreement and the UK does leave the EU, these rules may change depending on what deal the Government agrees on with the EU. For more information on countries’ IDP requirements visit the Government website.

What about for those who wish to take their company car abroad post-Brexit? What documents will drivers’ need to carry?

Motorists with a company car will still need to get a letter giving them permission to take their vehicle across the border, as well as a Vehicle on Hire (VE103) certificate, which can be used in place of a vehicle registration document.

This VE103 certificate should always remain present in your car throughout your travels, otherwise you might have to pay a penalty for failing to provide the documents needed.

If you aren't already aware of the processes to obtain a VE103, now is the right time to familiarise yourself.

To order online, simply visit: www.bvrla.co.uk and choose either ‘VE103B Certificate’ (for single orders) or ‘VE103B Pad’ from the links at the bottom of the page.

Read more: Travelling Abroad with your Lease Vehicle

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