I’m sure we can all agree, it’s been one long month but January 31st is finally here… and that can only mean one thing. Brexit. It’s been a long time coming but today’s the day; ‘Independence Day’ for the United Kingdom, finally breaking away the European Union. For the next 11 months we will remain in a transition period while deals and agreements are hashed out between Britain and the EU. But what does that mean for travel? The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) has confirmed that rules on passports and driving licences will remain the same until the end of the year, meaning UK licences will still be valid when it comes to visiting European countries during this time. The path to Brexit has been a long and winding one and even now remains unclear, so you’d be forgiven for feeling confused on the subject, that’s why we at CarCliq have outlined what to expect when it comes to travelling to and from Europe below:
If are visiting the EU within the next year and plan on driving whilst there, then, fear not, for UK driving licences will still be valid in the European Union and drivers will not be required to fill out any additional paperwork. However, what happens after 31st December 2020 will depend on negotiations and the nature of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. There will be different arrangements in place for each country, but 2021 could see anyone driving through a European country needing an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Depending on where you are travelling to and what agreement has been reached, then you may need more than one IDP in addition to your driver’s licence. There are three types of IDP:
• 1926 IDP
• 1949 IDP
• 1968 IDP
The type of IDP you need will vary and depends on the country that you are driving in, for example, when driving through France you would need a 1968 IDP but if you were to then travel through Andorra you would need a 1949 IDP as well.
An International Driving Permit should cost around £5.50 and can be purchased from your local Post Office. It’s important to ensure that you have the right IDP for the EU or EEA (European Economic Area) country you are travelling in and you can find a full list of countries and the IPD that is required for that country on the Government website.
If you are taking your vehicle to an EU country for less than 12 months then you should carry your vehicle log book (V5C) as you may have to show it if you’re stopped at border controls.
UK laws still apply to UK-registered vehicles even when they’re abroad, therefore you must ensure that your vehicle is taxed, has a current MOT and is insured. You will also need to make sure that any international or national conditions for licensing and taxation are met.
You will not require a new passport, it will continue to be a valid UK travel document up to and including the date of expiry although EU rules are likely to change from 2021, and may see passports needing a minimum of six months left before it expires when it comes to travel. We will likely see passports return to the iconic blue and gold design, with the government promising to phase these in mid-2020 but regardless of whether you have a blue or burgundy passport, all styles will be equally valid for travel.
Although European insurance authorities have cited that motorists will not require a green card post-Brexit, this has not yet been confirmed by the European Commission and drivers are being advised to obtain a green card to be safe. For anyone in doubt, it may be worthwhile checking with your insurance company who will be able to provide you with further information on the subject.
A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK and guarantees that the motorist has the necessary insurance cover for travel in the country that is being travelled to. In order to obtain a green card you need to contact your insurance provider; it’s advisable to do this about a month prior to travelling so that they can process the request and send out the necessary documentation in time.
European Health Insurance Card:
Post-Brexit EHICs will continue to provide medical treatment for British travellers at public hospitals in EU countries on the same basis as local people up until then end of the transition period on 31st December 2020.
GB Stickers & Number Plates:
Currently, drivers only need a sticker if their car does not have the blue EU registration plate with the ‘GB’ initials on.
However, come 2021, depending on whether a deal has been reached or not, we could see drivers needing to display a GB sticker on the rear of the car and trailer when driving in any of the 27 EU countries – this also includes the Republic of Ireland. A separate ‘GB’ sticker may be required regardless of whether they have the identifier on their number plate or not.
At present, the regulations regarding pet travel remain a little unclear, it is thought that during the transition period things will remain largely unchanged but conflicting reports suggest that pets will need to be issued with animal health certificates and will require rabies vaccinations and blood tests 4 months prior to travel.
If you are looking to travel to Europe with a pet then we would strongly advise checking with your local veterinary practice as they will have up-to-date information regarding pet travel – but give yourself plenty of time just in case the 4 month vaccination and blood test regulations are in place!
Traffic Accidents Abroad:
In the event of being involved in a road accident while abroad, you may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle in the European country where the accident occurred. However, if an accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced, then UK residents may not receive any compensation at all but this could vary depending on the country and the outcome; particularly if no deal has been reached after the transition phase.
As we enter the post-Brexit transition phase, things will remain largely unchanged but Britain’s future still remains rather unclear and will depend on what happens during the course of the next 11 months. If you are travelling to any EU country before the end of 2020 and remain in doubt, then we would certainly advise checking before you travel. The Government website will be able to provide you with regular updates, while your insurance company may also be able to provide you with further travel information.
Are you travelling to Europe after January 31st? Let us know what your travel experience was like via our social media channels!
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