Car driving on a long bridge over water

Driving in the EU from 2021 

16 December 2020

When the UK left the EU on 31st January 2020, we enjoyed most of the same benefits of our membership to the EU whilst negotiating how we would continue to work with the EU in future. This is called the transition period.

On 1st January 2021, the UK will no longer be in the transition period, and we will be observing the rules of our new relationship with EU countries, whether there is a deal in place or not.

One of the key changes for UK citizens will be the rules on driving when visiting the EU, including the green card that we have talked about in the past, so to make sure that you are driving legally in the EU from 1st January 2021, carry on reading.

For the most up to date information on driving in the EU whilst following the rules of our new relationship with the EU, take a look at

Before you drive in the EU, check that you have the following documentation.

Licensing and permits

When driving in the EU from 2021, you will need to have your UK driving licence with you.

Depending on the deal we have with the EU from 2021, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which will allow you to drive in EU countries and countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), which are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

You can get an IDP from the post office for a cost of £5.50, but you must be a resident of the UK, have a full driving licence and be over the age of 18. You do not need an IDP to drive in the Republic of Ireland.


You must have insurance to be able to drive in the EU or a country in the EEA. You should not only have insurance for your vehicle but also for a caravan and trailer if you have one.

You will also need proof of insurance, known as a green card, and may need multiple green cards for:

  • Each vehicle in a fleet
  • A trailer or caravan (one green card for the towing vehicle and one for trailer or caravan itself)
  • Each policy valid on the trip, for example, if your policy renews mid-trip.

You should apply for a green card at least 6 weeks before you are due to travel to give yourself enough time to receive your documents.

Registration documents

If you intend to be driving in the EU for less than 12 months, you may need to carry your vehicle registration documents with you.

This is your V5C logbook or a VE103, which shows you are hiring or leasing a vehicle.

You will also need the registration documents for your trailer.

Number plates and stickers

If your vehicle is registered in the UK,  you will need to display a GB sticker. You will need this even if your licence plate has a Euro or GB identifier.

You don’t need a GB sticker if you are driving in the Republic of Ireland.

What you should do if you are involved in an accident

If you are involved in an accident when driving in an EU country, you should get in touch with your insurer as the first port of call.

Any legal proceedings that come from the result of an accident in an EU or EEA country will have to be in a court in the country in which the accident happened. You may also have to go through the claims process in the local language.

If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, or if the driver cannot be traced, you may not receive any compensation.

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