Living in the UK and Driving in the EU

After Brexit, the UK is now single again and while it is on good terms with its ex- the European Union, there are some changes in order. However, to adjust to these changes, there is the regular “transition period” which will last all of 2020. All current rules will continue to exist during this transition period, but it is about time to start preparing for and adjusting to the changes- especially if you are going to be driving from the UK to the European Union. 

First of all, if you plan to drive in EU or EEA countries, it is a good idea to apply for an International Driver’s Permit now, as you may require it with your UK driving license when driving in these areas. However, each country does have different laws now and you will have to check to see which laws pertain to the country you are travelling to. 

Do you own a business or have a fleet of leased cars? Or perhaps even one? You will need a Vehicle on Hire certificate. 

More about IDPs

International Driving Permits allow drivers to continue driving when abroad and they can be used in EU and EEA countries. However, usually drivers also need a UK driving license in order to drive in these countries. Hence, IDP and a UK driving license together give you permission to drive in the EU and EEA. 

IDPs may also be required to hire vehicles. IDPs vary from country to country and you can check out which one is required in the country you are travelling to here. Why is it necessary to check? There are two different types of permits:

  • Under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic 
  • Under the 1968 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic

Where do I get an IDP?  

Believe it or not, getting an IDP is pretty easy. All you have to do is apply for one at your local post office. They cost approximately £5.50 and people who have a valid driving license and are over 18 are eligible to apply for one. The applicant must be a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland. 

Which documents do I need? 

When you are ready to travel, you need to keep your vehicle registration documents with you as well.  This is mandatory when you are travelling for less than 12 months. You can keep your vehicle log book or a VE103b for a hired or leased vehicle. 

Keeping these documents handy will prevent you from getting into any trouble with authorities should you experience any hurdles or get into an accident. 

What should the number plate say? 

If you live in the UK, your car’s number plate probably already says GB for Great Britain. However, if you are going to be travelling in the EU, you might want to add an additional GB sticker to your vehicle to improve identification. 

This is highly recommended and you may want to also explore other national identification ways if you are going to be taking your vehicle into an EU country.

What do I do if I move to the EU? 

If you are a resident of Great Britain or Ireland and move to an EU country, you will have to turn in your UK driving license and get one issued in the country you are moving to. However, this change will be applicable after December 31st 2020. 

Some countries may require you to retake the driving test according to the rules and regulations in that respective country. Do check before you move and/or immediately after making the move. 

What do EU citizens do when driving in the UK? 

If you have a European license that is valid, you do not need an IDP to drive in the UK. You will also not be required to reissue your license. All EU license holders can use the same license to legally drive in the UK. This also applies to EEA license holders. 

What else do we need to know? 

The UK government will not be keeping anyone in the dark, and has a thorough guide explaining how to legally take, hire, or use commercial vehicles abroad. Click here for more information. 

The transition period gives you enough time to prepare for the changes and make business and commercial adjustments accordingly. Use it well, happy and safe driving to all! 


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