Driving in the EU after Brexit

There’s nothing better than the freedom that comes with taking your car to mainland Europe, and this won’t change after Brexit. Cars, motorbikes, and other vehicles are still welcome on board our ferries, and driving when you reach your destination is just as easy as it ever was.


There are a few changes to driving in the EU with regards to documentation, below are the latest updates. You can find out more by visiting the gov.uk site.


International Driving Permits

You need to carry your UK driving licence with you when driving in the EU.

You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

However, you might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:


- a paper driving licence


- a licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man


You will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland if you have a UK driving licence.


Check with the embassy of the country you will be driving in.


Green Cards


The requirement for green cards, which is an international certificate of motor insurance, when a UK registered vehicle is travelling in the European Economic Area has been removed by the European Commission from 2 August 2021.


However, to ensure this is communicated widely the UK insurance industry will continue to issue green cards until 2 September 2021, when a vehicle is going abroad. You can get Green Cards from the insurance company insuring the vehicle or trailer.


What else might I need when driving in mainland Europe?


It's important no matter where or when you're driving in mainland Europe, that you arrange adequate European breakdown cover.


From 28 September 2021, the distinguishing mark, (or national identifier), displayed on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom that are driven abroad will change from GB to UK.   This means that from 28 September vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters “UK” when driven abroad (excluding the Republic of Ireland). The identifier can be incorporated in vehicle number plates (along with the Union flag) or as a separate sticker.


Something else you should check before travelling to mainland Europe with your car is whether the country you’re visiting, or any that you’ll be driving through, have any specific rules that you need to follow. For example, to drive in France you’ll need to have a reflective jacket and a warning triangle, plus headlight converters to stop you from dazzling oncoming traffic. Take a look at our tips for driving in France for more information.


Now that you know what to expect from driving in the EU after Brexit, book your ferry crossing and start planning your next trip today.


For more details on travelling with a vehicle visit our dedicated page.