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Find out if your driving licence will be valid and whether you need an International Driving Permit.
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What are the latest rules on driving in the EU?

What are the latest rules on driving in the EU?

  • Most UK drivers can use their normal driving licence to drive in EU countries
  • If you drive in a European country, you may require an International Driving Permit
  • Check your insurance six weeks prior to starting your journey in EU
  • Each driver must have a GB sticker or GB on their number plate


Now that the UK is not part of the European Union (EU) anymore, British people driving in Europe face a few changes. The Government has published detailed guidance for drivers that covers permits, insurance, and GB stickers.


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Will my driving licence be valid?

Yes, most UK drivers will still be able to use their normal driving licence to drive in EU countries.

The exceptions are people who only have a paper licence, not a photocard one, as well as those with licences issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. It’s estimated that more than three million people in the UK only have a paper licence.

The Government's advice to drivers in one of these groups is to contact the embassy of the destination country in advance. You may need an International Driving Permit (IDP).

If your UK photocard driving licence has an EU flag on it, it will be valid in the UK until the expiry date printed on it.


Driver licence requirements for driving in Europe


Do I need an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

To drive in many European countries, you may require an IDP. It depends on the country you are visiting and the duration of your stay.

You need to have a valid Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland driving licence to get an IDP. They can be purchased at Post Offices for £5.50. If you’re travelling through more than one country, you may need more than one type of IDP.

The full list of countries and the IDP required is published on the UK government website.

Several EU countries permit you to drive without an IDP for up to 6 months. These countries include Portugal, Poland and Spain (including Balearic and Canary Islands).


What about insurance?

You will need a green card, which is a document you get from your insurer to prove your car is covered. Motorists should contact their insurers six weeks before travelling.

Separate green cards are needed for trailers and caravans.

The green card is only proof of a minimum level of third-party cover - it will not necessarily match the level of cover that you pay for in the UK. Check with your insurer to find out what level of cover you would receive.


GB Sticker Requirements for EU travelling


GB stickers

The simple rules for GB stickers are that you need one unless your number plate has GB on it. This can be alone or alongside a union flag. If the GB is alongside an EU flag or the flag of England, Scotland or Wales, you still need a GB sticker.

For driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta you need a GB sticker even if you have a flag on your number plate.

You also need to carry your V5C logbook with you if you own the car. If it is a car, you have hired or leased, then you will need to get a VE103 form to show you have permission to take it out of the UK.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident in an EEA country (EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) you may need to make a claim against the driver or their insurer in the country where the accident happened. This could involve bringing the claim in the local language.


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