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Driving In Europe After Brexit: Will You Need A Green Card?

Dec 15, 2020

Whatever the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations there will be changes for drivers when it comes to driving in Europe after 1st January 2021.

Regardless of whether we find ourselves in a no deal situation or not, it is likely you will need a Green Card to drive in Europe after Brexit. Here we look at what a Green Card is, how to get a Green Card and other areas to consider if you are planning to drive or travel to the EU after the 1st January 2021.

What is a Green Card?

The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) state that

The Green Card is an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country visited. 

The EU and wider European Economic Area (EEA) operate a Green Card free circulation area, meaning motorists from EU and EEA countries do not need to carry Green Cards when they visit another area of the EU/EEA.

Will you need a Green Card to drive in the EU after Brexit?

As current EU members, UK drivers have not needed to carry a Green Card when visiting other EU countries. But the UK will leave the EU on the 31st December so this could change things.

As part of ongoing discussions with the EU about exact details of the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK government’s intention is for the UK to remain a member of the Green Card-free circulation area. However, as no agreement or overall deal has been reached there has been no confirmation on this issue.

Current advice is now for all drivers to prepare for the need to carry a Green Card when driving in the EU and wider EEA countries from the 1st January 2021.

How do I get a Green Card?

If the UK doesn’t remain part of the Green Card-free circulation area, then drivers planning to drive in the EU from the 1st January 2021 will need to:

  • Contact their insurer to obtain a Green Card.
  • Do so 6 weeks before you plan to travel
  • Carry a physical copy of the Green Card when travelling
  • Have a Green Card for each vehicle insured under a policy e.g., if you have Fleet Insurance you will need a separate Green card for each vehicle covered by the policy. You’ll also need a separate Green Card for any trailers etc.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) have confirmed that providing third party cover for driving in EU/EEA countries will remain a requirement for all motor insurance policies sold by UK insurance providers. So, there shouldn’t be a need to buy additional third-party cover to drive in the EU after the 1st January.

Find out more about getting a Green Card and driving in the EU from the 1st January.

What else to consider when travelling to the EU following Brexit 

International Driving Permit (IDP)

In addition to a Green Card, when it comes to driving in Europe after 1st January 2021, some countries may require individuals to have an IDP as well

Check your Passport expiry date

Travellers from the UK to the EU can currently travel using a passport which is valid for the length of their stay. This will change following Brexit.

From the 1st January 2021 you will need to ensure that on the day that you travel your passport is:

  • Valid for at least more 6 months
  • Less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Use this tool to find out if you need to renew your passport for upcoming travel plans.

Have adequate Travel insurance

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will not be valid for most UK nationals from the 1st January 2021. And whilst the EHIC has never been a replacement for adequate travel insurance, it will be more important than ever to ensure that you have the right travel insurance in place before you travel.

Check if you need a Visa or Permit for your travel

For certain trips or visits to the EU, there may be a requirement to have the correct visa or permit in place.  For example, If you travel to the EU for work purposes from 1 January 2021, you may need a visa or work permit. 

Act now for travelling with a pet

If you are planning to take a trip with your pet, then you will need to follow a new process for pet travel to the current pet passport scheme.

Unfortunately, the new process can take as long as 4 months to arrange. So, if you haven’t taken the right action now for upcoming travel plans it is unlikely you will be able to travel with a pet.

Act now if you work in the haulage industry

There will be many different requirements for hauliers to meet when it comes to travel to the EU. From operator licences, vehicle registration document, permits and registering vehicle trailers.  If you carry out international road haulage, make sure you are aware of the changes which are coming from the 1st January.

Given the Brexit discussions are ongoing, information is still changing. Whilst the above was correct at time of writing, do visit gov.uk/transition for the most up to date information and guidance.

As we near the end of the Brexit transition, businesses and individuals all need to take steps to prepare for the UK’s new relationship with the EU. At Anthony Jones we are keeping on top of any requirements, such as the need to carry a Green Card when driving in the EU, which may impact our insurance customers. Our teams of experts are here and ready to answer any questions you may have.

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