No more green cards from August 2021
Holidaymakers and business travellers alike can breathe a sigh of relief as they can scratch one more thing off their pre-travel to do list.
Following Brexit, UK drivers were required to carry a “Green Card” (an International Motor Insurance Certificate) when driving in Europe. This document, Issued by motor insurance providers, certifies that the holder has sufficient motor insurance cover to allow them to legally drive in the country that they are visiting.
Motorists in Northern Ireland were particularly inconvenienced when the protocol was introduced, as it meant they were required to apply for, carry and present the Green Card when crossing the border into the adjoining Republic of Ireland.
On 30 June 2021, the European Commission announced that from 2nd August 2021 this would no longer be the case. The announcement stated that the UK would be able to participate in the Green Card Free Circulation Area (GCFCA), which consists of all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, as well as Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland.
UK drivers will still be required to obtain a Green Card if they wish to drive in Europe before the 2nd August 2021. Failure to present this documentation upon request can result in fines, prosecution or having your car impounded.
Moving from ‘GB’ to ‘UK’ Plates
From 28 September 2021, the United Nations (UN) advised that the GB stickers, that have been in use for over 100 years, will no longer be valid to drive abroad. Instead, motorists will need to display a ‘UK’ sticker/magnet to drive their vehicle on foreign roads.
For those with the GB emblem printed on your number plate, you can either order one of the new UK plates or simply use a UK sticker/magnet alongside the old GB printed number plate.
The new UK sign will be inclusive of Northern Ireland, which is not included in the term ‘Great Britain’.
This change is the second alteration number plates have had this year. In January, new number plates went into circulation, the Union Jack Flag and GB sign, which were created to allow UK drivers to drive on foreign roads without the GB stickers. However, these too will no longer be valid.
The new UK stickers will be available online in the run up to 28 September 2021 for £1.50 each. You will also be able to purchase them in post offices and garages.
Do I need an International Driving Permit after Brexit?
The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that validates your licence to be able to drive abroad. Please check local driving restrictions before you travel to see if you need this.
More information about driving in Europe from 1 January 2021
- Requirements for International Driving Permits
- Latest Brexit transition advice about passports and health insurance
- Read further government Brexit-related advice
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