A Need to Know Guide for Drivers Post-Brexit
At the this point in time, British driving licences are legally permitted to drive anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA). In simple terms, this includes all European Union (EU) member states, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Driving from EU country to country at present is pretty straightforward. But with Brexit looming, this could soon change and we may find more restrictions being imposed upon us.
If you regularly drive overseas in Europe, or you are planning on making your first trip in the near future, you’ll no doubt be concerned as to whether you need to do anything different to drive legally on the continent.
In essence, there are two possible scenarios for UK drivers to be mindful of – a Brexit involving a deal between the UK and EU, and a no-deal Brexit. Presently, both options remain on the table, with a second Brexit deal having been agreed between both sides but is yet to be ratified by both the respective UK and EU parliaments.
Guide to driving in Europe if a Brexit deal is passed
A Brexit deal and a ratified Withdrawal Agreement would be the best outcome in terms of limiting the amount of changes to your driving experience in Europe. All UK driving licences will remain valid for driving in EEA countries for the length of any transition period. It’s also possible that an agreement may be found to enable UK driving licences to be recognised for beyond the transition period.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the transition period, this is essentially a set timeframe during which most UK-EU rules will remain the same while both parties negotiate their future trading relationship.
Guide to driving in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit
The situation becomes somewhat more complex for British drivers overseas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It’s likely that most EEA countries will still accept your UK photocard driving licence if you are only driving in their country for a maximum of a few months. Click here to check which EU nations will accept your UK photocard or require you to apply for an International Driving Permit (IPD).
Nevertheless, there are plenty of other aspects of driving in Europe to consider in a no-deal Brexit scenario:
A no-deal Brexit will require you to have a vehicle insurance green card when driving in the EU and EEA. It’s best to liaise with your vehicle insurer at least one month in advance of your travel into the EU and EEA. It’s worth noting that if you are a business owner operating a fleet of commercial vehicles into and out of the EU and EEA, separate green cards will be required for every vehicle. Those planning on towing a caravan or trailer will need separate green cards for the vehicle towing and the trailer or caravan itself.
Carrying your vehicle registration documents
Those intending on driving their vehicle in the EU or EEA for less than 12 months are required to carry at least one piece of documentation that proves you are the legal owner of your vehicle. This can either be your vehicle log book (V5C) or a VE103 form, which demonstrates that you can use your leased vehicle oversees.
When you lease your vehicle from a company like Rivervale Leasing, the vehicle is still legally owned by the finance company with whom your lease is arranged. The VE103 document is the only legal alternative to the V5C document. It’s important that you process your request for a VE103 form with your finance company no less than 14 days prior to travel.
GB stickers and number plates
Even if your vehicle’s number plate displays a ‘GB’ identifier, the UK government also recommends that your vehicle displays a GB sticker on its rear. If you are towing a trailer or caravan, this should also have a GB sticker displayed. However, the government states that you won’t be required to display a GB sticker on your vehicle if you plan to drive in Ireland.
How to report a road accident
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road accident on your travels in Europe, you’ll need to know what to do to report it. If you need to make a claim against either the driver or insurer of an EU or EEA-registered vehicle, liaise with your own insurer first and foremost. It’s possible you may have to submit a claim in the local language where the accident occurred. It’s also important to point out that compensation claims may be futile after Brexit if you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or untraceable driver.
Don’t forget, if you want to keep abreast of the latest advice on driving in the EU and EEA after Brexit, you can sign up for email alerts directly from the government.
This information was correct at the time of writing 25th October 2019
Do you have concerns about how Brexit will affect your driving eligibility?
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