Driving in Europe from 2nd August 2021

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31st January 2020 with a Withdrawal Agreement and subsequently entered into a transitional period which ended on 31st December 2020.

Since the UK Government announced the confirmation of a trade deal at the end of 2020, anyone wishing to drive their vehicle outside of the UK from the 1st January 2021, has been required to carry a Green Card.

Man with children looking at boot in car boot

The European Commission has announced that with effect from the 2nd August 2021, UK drivers will no longer be required to carry Green Cards when driving their vehicle in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland. Please note that a Green Card may still be required to drive in other countries, including: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
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This announcement is good news as those driving UK-registered vehicles in the EU will now be able to travel freely between many EU countries without the need for a Green Card.

If you still require a Green Card, you can request one at no extra cost from us by calling 0345 165 0914. Please ensure that you have your travel dates available and give us 2-3 weeks’ notice to ensure that you receive your Green Card in the post in good time. Alternatively, if you prefer, we can email your Green Card to you, but you will have to print it off yourself. Instructions on how to print it will be provided if you choose this option.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

If you hold a photocard driving licence, you will not need an IDP to drive in any of the 27 EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein.  However, if you do not have a photocard licence, you will need to carry an IDP with you.

An IDP is a permit that allows you to drive in countries where a UK driving licence alone is not sufficient. Some countries have confirmed that UK licence holders will not need an IDP to drive when visiting after the 1st January 2021, but some will require you to have one.

There are three types of IDP issued by the Post Office to UK Licence Holders resident in the UK. It may be necessary to obtain more than one IDP depending on the countries you are planning to drive in. More information about these requirements can be found on the Government’s website.

An IDP costs around £5.50. Please remember to take your UK driving licence with you when driving in the EU, as you will need this, as well as the relevant IDP. 

Log Book (V5C)

You should carry your vehicle log book (V5C) with you when driving. If the original has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you will need to get a replacement. The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will be able to assist you.

GB Stickers and Number Plates

You should display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, if driving in the EU after 1st January 2021. Even if you currently have a number plate which includes the GB and/or EU symbol identifier, we would recommend that you still place a sticker on your car. These stickers may be obtained from several outlets such as Amazon, Wilko or Halfords.

Frequently asked questions

Does the Green Card have to be printed on green paper?

The Green Card system has existed for over 50 years and, traditionally, it has always been printed on green paper.  However, in July 2020, the law changed to allow Green Cards to also be valid if printed in black text on white paper.  Therefore, it is now acceptable for a Green Card to be printed on white paper. Ageas Green Cards will be issued on white paper. This change will also enable you to easily print your Green Card at home, if you wish to.

Which countries still require a Green Card?

The following countries may still need you to carry a Green Card:
Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

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What happens if I travel to the European Countries listed above and I don’t have a Green Card?

A Green Card is evidence that you have valid Insurance that covers you in the event of an accident whilst driving in that country.  If you are not carrying a Green Card when it is required, then you will not legally be able to drive.  If you do attempt to drive in the EU without holding a Green Card while it is mandatory to do so, you may be accused of driving without valid insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or be prosecuted.

Does the Green Card cover all the drivers on my policy?

All drivers named on your policy, who hold a full UK/EU Licence, are covered and will be named on the Green Card.

What if I am towing a trailer or Caravan?

You will need to provide us with the registration and/or chassis number, as this may require a separate Green Card.

What happens to my Green Card if I cancel my policy?

The Green Card will become invalid from the date of cancellation and you should either return it to us or destroy it. You will not be able to use this Green Card to drive outside of the UK if the insurance policy has been cancelled.

How long will a Green Card be valid for?

It will be valid for the period that you have requested, as stated on the Green Card.  It will not be possible to issue a Green Card which falls outside the start and end dates of your current period of cover.

For the latest information about driving in the EU, please visit the Government’s Guidance document.

We hope this information is helpful.  If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service Team on 0345 650 0345 or email them at:  Lines are open Monday to Friday 8:30am – 8:00pm and Saturday 8:30am – 4:00pm.

The information on this page was last updated on 2nd August 2021.