Driving abroad

Driving abroad

With there currently being no agreement between the UK and the EU following the Brexit transition period, the previous Green Card system will be reinstated and required for vehicles being driven from the UK (including Northern Ireland) to mainland Europe and Ireland effective from the 1st January 2021 (unless the European Commission declares otherwise).

What is a Green Card?
This is a document, similar to the certificate of motor insurance, which acts as proof that the vehicle (and trailer) have the minimum compulsory insurance cover to drive in the country you’re visiting. Previously it was printed on green card (hence the name!) but now it can be printed on normal white paper.

Although the document maybe provided by the Insurer in an electronic format this must be printed prior to departure as authorities will only accept a printed version of proof of cover.

You will need multiple green cards if:
• You have vehicles regularly running into Europe – you will need a green card for each individual vehicle.
• Your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – you will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer/caravan.
• You have two policies covering the duration of your trip – for example, if your policy renews during the journey.

How do I get a Green Card?
Each Insurer has adopted their own methods of issuing green cards – some are quicker than others. However, we strongly recommend that you give as much notice as possible of intended travel – but a minimum of 14 days.

The essential information needed to obtain a green card are the dates of travel outside the UK, details of the vehicle (and trailer) and the countries to be visited.

Other considerations & Important Documents for driving in Europe:
Valid Passport: –
a. You need at least 6 months left on your passport to travel to certain countries.
b. Check the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting to see how much time left you need on it.
Driving Licence: a full, valid driving licence and national insurance number. In addition the driver may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP). A full list of countries can be found here.
Vehicle Documents: In addition to the Green Card: –
a. Don’t forget to take the V5C certificate (the ‘log book’) and ensure the vehicle’s tax and MOT are valid and up-to-date.
b. A GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle and trailer must be displayed, even if you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier. A GB sticker is not required in Ireland.
c. Crit’air sticker if driving in France (find out if you need one here)
Motor Breakdown. Some newer vehicles have breakdown cover provided by the manufacturer for a limited number of years. Check and if not extend your motor insurance or arrange a separate policy.
Travel insurance. For most UK nationals travel abroad it is important to arrange appropriate travel insurance – see here. For individual customers we have an online facility available here

We don’t want you to be caught out, so be prepared and make sure you have all the necessary documents well before you travel.