Brexit & Green Cards I Driving in Europe

23 Jul

Updated: 23rd July 2021

After leaving the European Union (EU), the UK entered a transition period which ended on 31st December 2020. Days before the end of the transition period, an agreement (‘Brexit deal’) was made between the UK and EU.

The Department of Transport initially stated that it would still be a legal requirement to carry a document known as a Green Card if you were to drive in an EU or specified EEA country outside the UK. However, the European Union has now confirmed that it is waiving this obligation for drivers from the UK entering the EU. This change will take effect from 2nd August 2021.

Important: If you are planning on driving from the UK into the EU before the 2nd of August 2021, you will not be freed of the obligation and will still need to apply for a Green Card. Please read on if this applies to you.

What Is a Green Card?

A Green Card is a physical document that acts as evidence that you are insured to the minimum legal cover required while driving outside of the UK.

UK motorists must carry a physical copy of their Green Card when driving abroad before 2nd August 2021 – electronic versions will not be accepted. However, Green Cards no longer need to be printed on green paper, they can be printed on white paper at home.

What if I Have a Trailer or Caravan?

If you are travelling with a trailer or caravan, you will need two Green Cards – one for the towing vehicle, and one for the trailer/caravan.

Any trailer weighing over 3,500kg and any commercial trailer weighing over 750kg needs to be registered before you can tow it through some European countries.

Is My Driving Licence Still Valid?

You do not need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein if you have a valid, UK-issued photocard driving license. However, you may need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either:

  • A paper driving license
  • A licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

You can get a driving permit over the counter at the Post Office. The cost is £5.50, drivers must be over 18 and have a full UK driving license.

You must display a Great Britain (GB) sticker on the rear of your vehicle or trailer, even if the vehicle has a number plate with the Euro symbol or a GB national identifier.

How Do I Apply for a Green Card?

If you need a Green Card, please contact your Thomas Carroll Account Executive/Manager or call 02920 887733. We recommend allowing at least 14 days for Green Card applications. We would be happy to assist or apply on your behalf.