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29 Dec 2020

Driving in the EU after Brexit: what you need to know

From Green Cards, to car hire and GB stickers, here's what could change when driving in Europe

Coronavirus isn't the only consideration when planning a holiday in 2021. If you intend to drive in Europe next year, Brexit could also affect your travel plans.

Although UK drivers won't need an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU, extra documentation will still be required.

That includes a Green Card from your insurer and a GB sticker on your car - even if your car's number plate already includes a GB marking.

So, if you're planning on travelling in the New Year (COVID-19 restrictions permitting), it pays to be prepared. Find out how Brexit will affect driving in the EU:

    For independent travel advice and exclusive investigations, subscribe to Which? Travel.

    Can I still use my UK driving license in Europe?

    Yes, your UK driving license will continue to be sufficient to drive in EU countries.

    Bear in mind that you'll also need a passport with at least six months' validity to enter Europe.

    Entry is visa-free for up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

    Do I need a Green Card for driving my own car in Europe?

    One of the biggest changes to driving in the EU after 31 December 2020 relates to using your own car.

    As well as taking your vehicle's log book (VC5) with you to prove you own the vehicle, you'll also need to take a Green Card, which is an International certificate of insurance that proves you're insured to drive abroad.

    This must be requested from your vehicle insurer and you'll need an additional Green Card if you're planning on towing a trailer or caravan.

    You'll need a physical copy - if your insurer emails you a Green Card, it will have to be printed off.

    A Green Card is valid for 90 days, so we recommend applying for one well in advance of when you're due to travel, as it could take six weeks to be issued. You may have to pay a small administrative charge.

    Hiring a car in Europe

    While you won't need a Green Card if you're driving in the EU with a car hired in the UK, you'll need a VE103 certificate to prove you're allowed to drive it abroad. Get one through either RAC Motoring Services or the BVRLA.

    Or, if you're hiring a car when you get to Europe, the rental firm may ask to see a digital record of your driving license. Get a free license check code for this purpose from the DVLA's website up to 21 days before your trip.

    Bear in mind it's your responsibility to check you have the equipment you need, which could include things like a reflective jacket and a warning triangle.

    See which are the best and worst car hire companies.