When you drive abroad you will need to be able to prove, if challenged, that the vehicle is yours, to do this you will need your V5. However, if you are leasing a vehicle, the vehicle is legally owned by the finance company with whom your lease is arranged, so they will hold the V5 document.
You will need to request a VE103 ‘Vehicle on Hire’ form from your finance company.
The VE103 form is the ONLY legal alternative to the original V5 Vehicle Registration Document. The consequences of failing to obtain this document before you travel varies from country to country. The BVRLA reported that one driver was stuck at the border for 4 days until the VE103 form had been sent through.
Your finance company will also provide you with a letter of authorisation. This will state that the finance company, as the legal owner of the vehicle, gives permission to you to take the vehicle outside of the UK.
To request your VE103 document your finance company may ask for the following information:
Your finance company will need time to process your request so it is advisable to request your VE103 and letter of authorisation at least 14 days before you wish to travel.
Once you have received your VE103 form it will be valid for 12 months, covering you for all travel abroad within this period. However, finance companies all have different rules on how long the vehicle can be out of the country. So even though your VE103 certificate is valid for 12 months, you may only be allowed to take your car out of the country for 60 days within this 12 month period. If you are planning to be out of the UK for an extended amount of time, you will need to check your contract to see if there are any restrictions in place.
Check you will have insurance cover whilst you are abroad. Some finance companies may wish to provide you their own choice of insurance cover. If not, you will need to call your own insurance company and ensure your policy includes driving abroad.
The majority of leasing agreements will include some form of breakdown cover. You will need to check whether this cover extends outside of the UK. If breakdown cover abroad is not included you will need to arrange your own for the duration of the trip.
Finance companies will charge a fee for providing a VE103 certificate and any associated insurance or breakdown cover. This varies from company to company but is likely to be between £12-£15.
Travelling Abroad with a Leased Vehicle Checklist