The Brexit saga continues, and the nation is trying it’s best to go on with their daily lives despite all the uncertainties. While we still don’t know how far-reaching the effects on the British economy and society will be, one thing is for sure, and that is that it will have a direct impact on the movement of people and merchandise. This is why drivers should brace themselves for significant change, and prepare accordingly. Here’s everything British drivers need to know about driving and number plates post-Brexit.
After the break, know that your British driver’s licence is not going to be automatically accepted abroad. You’ll need one or more of the international driving permits (IDPs) available. This could force more than a million British drivers to retake their driving tests to get one of these IDPs. The 1968 IDP is accepted by most EU states. Malta, Spain, and Cyprus recognise the 1949 IDP which is good for 12 months. If you happen to hit Liechtenstein, you’ll need the 1926 IDP.
Depending on what country you’re in, you may need to take your UK licence with you, too. That’s the rule in France. Germany will let you stay for a couple of months without an IDP, as long as you have a UK photocard driving licence. This is a significant departure from the rules that state your UK driving licence could let you drive anywhere in the EEA (the EU plus Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland).
Note that the IDP only applies if you’re visiting. If you plan on living there, you’ll need to exchange the UK driving licence for one issued by that country. The advice, in this case, depends on the country, but if you wait until after Brexit, you’ll likely have to take a driving test. On the flip side, the UK will continue to accept EU and EEA licences for both visitors and residents.
British drivers abroad may need additional insurance paperwork as well. Just over half of British motorists don’t know that they need a motor insurance green card to drive in the EU following Brexit. This green card from the insurer proves the car is covered, and it’s against the law to take the car to the EEA without a green card. Note that the green card is the legally mandated minimum level of third-party coverage. This level may be lower than the level of coverage you have to have to drive in the UK.
Number plates in the UK have long allowed you to have the Union Jack, Welsh flag, Scottish flag and Euro flag on them. If you had an EU flag on the number plate, you needed a GB sticker on the car. It isn’t clear as of yet whether you’ll need an EU sticker to go with your UK number plates.
If there is no clear deal or planned identification system, you could get replacement number plates from websites like number1plates.com. They will allow you to get new number plates with the EU symbol on it so you can pair it with a GB sticker on the car and be allowed to drive across the Channel without any issue. They also offer private plates that will be fully legal in the UK and on EU territory. They’re also one of the few providers that offer advanced acrylic 4D number plates that are not only stylish but recognised throughout all jurisdictions.
In addition to having an identifier on the number plate, the government is actually recommending having a GB sticker on your car as well. On the other hand, a few suppliers are recommending plain non-badged plates as a way to prepare for the uncertainty. Blank plates have always been an option along with national identifiers.
If Brexit happens to be cancelled, an EU symbol on the number plate won’t affect things at all. If there’s no Brexit deal and there is a hard break, your proudly displayed British plates aren’t an issue in the UK, but we’ll have to figure out the identification scheme if you take your car outside of the country.
If you own the car you’re driving, you’ll need a V5C log book with you. If you’re leasing or hiring a car as you travel from the UK to the EU, you’ll need a VE103 form to show that you have permission to take it out of the UK.
Brexit can be confusing without a solid agreement, and that’s creating legal chaos on all fronts. However, there are things you can do to minimise the inconvenience and risk for yourself as you plan your next road trip. Make sure that you are fully prepared for any eventuality, and understand the legal requirements fully before you embark on any trip on EU soil.