Are you prepared for driving abroad post-Brexit?


There is potentially a lot changing around the rules you’ll need to follow and the documentation you’ll need to carry once the UK leaves the EU, whether driving for work or pleasure.

This is entirely dependent whether a deal is struck and what sort of deal that is. However, in the event of no-deal being agreed, UK drivers taking their car to, or driving in EU states may require additional documentation to their UK driving licence.

We’ve pulled together the following information to help guide you through as it currently stands.

International Driving Permits (IDPs)

The biggest change will be that you may be required to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP).

There are three types of IDPs available depending on where you are travelling to. Only two are used in EU states and European Economic Area countries.

  • 1949 IDP: If you are travelling to Ireland, Malta, Spain or Cyprus, you may require a 1949 IDP. The 1949 convention IDP is valid for 12 months.
  • 1968 IDP: If you are travelling to all other EU states (including France), you may require a 1968 IDP. The 1968 convention IDP is valid for three years, or for however long your driving licence is valid, if that date is earlier.
  • 1926 IDP: A 1926 IDP is not required in any EU state. However, it is required it if you plan to drive in Mexico or Somalia. You may need a 1926 IDP to drive in Liechtenstein if there is no EU Exit deal.

For further details on countries' IDP requirements visit the Government website.

Where can I get an IDP?

From 1st February 2019 the only place you can get hold of an IDP is the Post Office. Getting an IDP over a Post Office counter is a pretty straightforward process and should only take around 5 minutes to complete.

If you currently have a 1949 IDP, this will remain valid until the date it expires.

How much does an International Driving Permit cost?

The cost for a single IDP will set you back £5.50. If you are driving to Spain via France, you may need two different types of IDP (1949 and 1968 versions). This will cost you £11.

What if you are hiring a vehicle abroad?

You may also need an IDP to hire a vehicle when you are abroad, alongside your UK driving licence. You will need to check with the rental company but it may be a wise precaution to get an IDP anyway.

Should I get my IDP now, just in case?

If the UK leaves the European Union with ‘no deal’, a 1949 version of the IDP which can be purchased now is valid for 12 months. This would be required when driving in Spain, Malta, Ireland and Cyprus. All other EU countries would require a 1968 IDP which will only be available over the counter in Post Office branches from 1st February 2019.

I don’t need an IDP to drive in some countries, so why would I need it in the EU?

The UK Government has existing arrangements with some countries surrounding mutual recognition of driving licences. Currently within the EU, UK driving licences are governed by the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on driving licences. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, pre-existing agreements on licence recognition may then apply.

Green Cards

Regardless of whether there is a deal or no deal, it is expected that any travel into Europe by car or bike will require a Green Card as proof of third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.

This will replace the European Certificates of Insurance that have traditionally been issued from UK insurance companies who have an agreement with the EU to allow UK citizens to travel under one simple certificate of insurance. The certificate will now be replaced by a European Green Card. Green cards will be available from your insurers, they are usually free of charge, however there may be an administration fee to issue them.

Final point… Passports & Visas

If there's a no-deal Brexit, anyone planning to travel to the EU (apart from Ireland) will need to a 6-month buffer before their passport expires. Don’t forget!

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