Brexit – Driving in and travelling to the EU

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020
with a transitional period that was in place
(during which nothing changed)
which ended on 31 December 2020.

Just prior to this, the Government announced
that it has agreed a deal with Europe.

Now, it’s changed.
Whilst some of the finer details are yet to be made clear, not knowing that the UK
is not part of the European Green Card free circulation zone.
This means that you will be required to carry additional
documentation when driving and travelling in the EU.

If you are planning on travelling to the EU this year,
there’s some important information you need to be aware of,
now that the transition period for the UK leaving the EU has ended.

Whilst some of the finer details of the deal between the UK
and Europe are yet to be made clear,
your insurer know that the UK is not part of the
European Green Card free circulation zone.
This means you will need additional documentation
when driving or travelling in the EU.

One of those documents is a Green Card:
a physical document provided by your insurer
that confirms you have the appropriate
vehicle insurance cover in place when driving abroad.
It is important that you contact your motor insurer
as early as possible prior to travel
so that we can ensure you receive your Green Card on time.
(The Green card may take insurers 4 weeks to process and issue these.)

Brexit –  Driving in and travelling to the EU;


Driving your own vehicle abroad
–  if you are intending to drive in the EU, you’ll now need to have a valid Green Card, a GB sticker and carry your V5 document with you.
–  you may also need an International Driving Permit depending on what country you are driving in.

Green Card
When driving in Europe from January 2021 you will need to carry a Green Card as proof of relevant insurance for your car, motorhome and anything you may be towing.
Contact your vehicle insurer who will provide this.

(Green card)

–  a Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that proves that you are suitably insured to drive in EU countries.
–  you’ll need to have a physical copy of the Green Card when travelling.
–  if you arrive at the border without a physical Green Card (digital copies are not acceptable), you will not be allowed to drive in that country.
–  however, as of July 2020, a Green Card no longer has to be printed on green paper.
–  a black and white copy is now acceptable.


Caravan or Trailer
Requests two green cards


Caravan / trailer
–  if you’re towing a caravan or trailer, you’ll need two green cards, one for your vehicle and one for the caravan or trailer.if you don’t have a Green Card you may be breaking the law by driving.
–  your vehicle in Europe, and you might face a fine or your vehicle could be seized.
–  when driving in the European Union (EU including Ireland), Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland, you need to carry a separate green card for both:

  • the vehicle you’re driving.
  • the trailer or caravan you’re towing.
  • in other countries, you may need additional insurance and a green card for each trailer or caravan you tow, please check what you need to bring with your insurer before you travel.

For full details visit

Getting your Green Card and other documents
–  a Green Card is a document which is provided by your motor insurer.
–  it’s important to contact your car insurance as early as possible prior to departure to mitigate the potential impact of any delays with postage that may prevent you from receiving and subsequently travelling in the European Union.
–  most insurers ask that the requests are with them at least 4 weeks prior to travel, but the earlier the better.
–  some are now able to email the Green Card as a pdf document, so if you receive yours by email, please ensure it’s printed off prior to travel.

International Drivers Permit (IDP)
–  International Drivers Permit (IDP) can be purchased from the Post Office for £5.50 and you’ll need to present your current driver’s licence when applying.
–  the type of IDP needed will depend on which country you’re visiting and driving in.
–  you do not need an IDP to drive in the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK.
–  you might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either a paper driving licence / a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

For full details visit


V5C document


– if the original vehicle log book (V5C document) has been lost, damaged or destroyed, then you will need to get a replacement from the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).


GB sticker

GB Sticker


–  you can pick up a GB sticker from many outlets including Amazon, eBay or Halfords.


Arriving into European countries and returning the UK

–  at border control you will no longer be able to use EU-fast track passport control and custom lanes.
–  you will need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing.
–  you may need to show a return ticket and show you have enough money for your stay.

Other documentation and things to be aware of

UK Passports

  • Passports – Visit Europe from 1st January 2021
    –   you’ll still need to make sure you have a valid passport with a minimum of six months left before it expires.
    –  so it’s worth checking the expiry date now to ensure that you have sufficient time to renew it before you travel.
    –  check if you need to renew your passport;  have at least 6 months left / be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left).
    (These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.)
  • Entering other countries
    (Border control: you may have to show your return ticket and money.)At border control, you may need to:
    –  show a return or onward ticket.
    –  show you have enough money for your stay.
    –  use separate lanes from EU (European Union)EEA (European Economic Area), and Swiss citizens when queueing.
  • Visas for short trips
    –  you do not need one if you’re a tourist.
    –  if you’re a tourist, you do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
    –  you’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
    –  different rules apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. if you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries do not count towards the 90-day total.
  • Foreign travel advice
    – get advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings;
    ..For full details visit



EHIC cards

  • EHIC Cards
    –  if you have an existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will be valid if you’re travelling to an EU country.
    –  EHIC’s will soon be replaced with a new UK Global Health Insurance Card, so once your EHIC expires, you’ll need to replace it with the GHIC.
    –  please note the GHIC will only cover you in the EU, not in countries such as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
    –  for more information about EHIC’s/GHIC’s visit

New Animal Health Certificate
(It replaces per passports.)

  • Travelling with pets
    –  if you’re taking a pet with you, you’ll need to carry an Animal Health Certificate (ACH) as the existing pet passport scheme will no longer be used.
    –  organise pet travel to be contacted your vet at least 1 month before you go aboard.
    –  you can find out more on the Government website here.


Work aboard

  • Travelling for business
    –  if you’re travelling for business, you may need a visa, work permit or other documentation is you’re planning to stay longer than 90 days in a 180-day period, carrying out contracts to ,,,provide a service to a client in the EU or providing services as a self-employed person in another country.
    –  check out the Government’s website for more information.


As travel regulations are subject to change, we recommend members always check the Government websites for the most up to date information prior to travelling (links can be found below).

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