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Changes to European Driving Rules that UK motorists must be aware of

Following Brexit, UK drivers were required to carry a ‘Green Card' (an International Motor Insurance Certificate) when driving in Europe. This document, issued by the 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 30th June 2021, the European Commission announced that, with effect 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, for the period to 2nd August 2021. Failure to present this documentation upon request, can result in fines, prosecution or having your car impounded.

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.

Another change motorists will see in the coming months, is the replacement of the GB stickers/magnets. From 28 September 2021, the United Nations (UN) has advised that the GB stickers, that have been in use for 111 years, will no longer be valid for driving 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, with 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 28th 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 1st January 2021 

Requirements for International Driving Permits

Latest Brexit transition advice about passports and health insurance

Read further government Brexit-related advice

If your Driving Instructor Insurance policy is coming up for renewal, at InstructorcoverPlus we can help source the right policy for you and your vehicle. Just call us on 02920 629 413

Or if your Car Insurance or Motor Trade policy is coming up for renewal. Just call our friendly team at Watkin Davies on 02920 626 226.


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