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  • What do I need to drive abroad after Brexit?

    driving abroad after brexit

    The UK officially left the European Union in January 2020, with the transition period ending on 31st December 2020.

    The UK has been negotiating a deal with the EU since we voted to leave back in 2016. With much back and forth, the EU and the UK did finally commit to a trade deal. Since then, there have been changes in what is required when travelling and driving abroad. Because there is no longer free movement between the UK and EU countries, you may need additional documentation when driving abroad.

    Here is everything you need to know when driving abroad after Brexit.

    What documents do I need to bring with me when driving abroad?

    Other than a valid passport and drivers’ licence, if you are driving a commercial vehicle abroad that is carrying goods between countries, you must carry the following documentation:

    • An international driving permit (IDP) if you need one for the countries you are travelling in
    • A valid driver certificate of professional competence (CPC) card
    • Healthcare documents (if driving an HGV)
    • Green Card
    • A GB sticker

    There is additional documentation that you need if transporting goods such as food and drink, you can find out more about this on the government website.

    Since the UK left the EU, these are the changes you should expect when driving abroad:

    International driving permit (IDP)

    Although the UK is no longer part of the European Union, you don’t need an IDM to drive in the following countries if you have a valid UK photocard driving licence:

    • EU countries
    • Switzerland
    • Norway
    • Iceland
    • Liechtenstein

    However, if you have a paper licence or a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man, you might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway. You can find out more information about this by checking the embassy of the country you’ll be driving in.

    Vehicle registration documents

    You will need to provide vehicle registration documents when travelling abroad – this is still the same as when we were part of the EU.

    You must continue to provide your VC5 logbook, which shows the vehicle is legally registered and taxed in the UK.

    If you are driving a UK hire vehicle abroad, you will need to carry a VE103 document to show that you are permitted to use the hired or leased vehicle abroad.

    GB Stickers

    Currently, if you are temporarily taking your vehicle aboard, all registered UK vehicles must display the international registration letters GB on the rear of the vehicle.

    You do not need a sticker if your number plate includes the GB identifier on its own or with the union flag (known as the union jack). You also do not need a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.

    The only instances you must display a GB sticker are if:

    • Your number plate has a Euro symbol
    • Your number plate includes a national flag of England, Scotland, or Wales
    • If your number plate has numbers and letters only and no flag or identifier

    However, if you are driving your UK registered vehicle in Spain, Malta or Cyprus, you must display a GB sticker regardless of what flag or identifier is on your number plate.

    From 28th September 2021, the sticker will be changing from GB to the UK, which means you will need a UK sticker to drive abroad even if you have GB on your number plate.

    Green Card

    Since 1st January 2021, all vehicles travelling to the following countries need to carry a green card as proof of vehicle insurance:

    • The EU (including Ireland)
    • Andorra
    • Iceland
    • Liechtenstein
    • Norway
    • Serbia
    • And Switzerland

    You can get a green card from your insurance provider. Green cards are international certificates of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK. Drivers with a green card will have a minimum of third party insurance to cover them for accidents that happen abroad.

    You should obtain a green card for your vehicle and any items you are towing, such as a trailer or caravan. To guarantee to have a green card in time before travelling, you should request a green card at least six weeks before you travel.

    You need to provide a green card if you are involved in an accident, for police checks or at any EU border. You will also need to provide the green card if you have two insurance policies covering your trip, or you have multi-car or fleet insurance policy (one for each vehicle on the policy).

    However, from 2nd August 2021, you will not need a green card to drive in the above countries. Instead, you should provide documentation of your valid vehicle insurance.

    What to do in the event of an accident

    If you are involved in a road accident, you must report it to your insurance provider as soon as possible. UK residents may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer in the country where the accident happened. You might even have to make an insurance claim in the local language where the accident happened.

    If you are transporting goods abroad, some countries require you to produce a certificate of insurance for the goods carried in your vehicle to avoid paying a premium.


    At the time of this article, Covid-19 testing is still a requirement before travelling abroad. Please check what each country requires when travelling abroad during the covid pandemic.

    If you're after specific advice about abroad, speak to one of our advisors who will be able to offer fleet managers information on what to do and what documents are required abroad.

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