DRIVING IN THE EU AFTER 1st JANUARY 2021

Update as of 2nd August 2021

The United Kingdom left the EU on 31st January 2020 and entered a transition period which ended on 31st December 2020. The UK Government agreed a trade agreement prior to the end of the transition period so a no deal scenario was avoided.

The Government previously advised that, if a deal was agreed, you would be able to move around the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) in the same way that you did prior to Brexit without further documents being needed. However, this advice changed because the EU Commission had not yet agreed that the UK could remain part of Green Card Free Circulation.  

Motorists were, therefore, required to carry a Green Card if they wished to travel within the EU/EEA. That included travel to the Republic of Ireland.

This situation has now been rectified, however, and, From 2nd August 2021, it is no longer a legal requirement to carry a Green Card.

This is because the UK has been added to the Green Card Free Circulation area. However, the Council of Bureaux recommends carrying a Green Card until 2nd September 2021, to allow all local enforcement agencies to get up to date with the new rules. If you’re travelling before 2nd September 2021, you should still carry a Green Card. 

If you’re travelling after 2nd September 2021, you won’t need a Green Card. If you have any further questions then please contact us on 0344 776 5305. Alternatively, you can email us at contactus@businesschoicedirect.co.uk or use our Live Chat facility at www.businesschoicedirect.co.uk


Frequently asked questions

What is a Green Card?

Green Cards are an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the motorist has the necessary third-party motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.

How do I get a Green Card?

Prior to travelling you will need to contact us on 0344 776 5305 to request your Green Card. Depending on who your insurer is, we will either request a Green Card from the insurer or we will issue you your Green Card directly. We recommend that you contact us at least one month before travel as some insurers have indicated it could take up to 4 weeks to issue the Green Card.

What if I travel without a green card?

If you drove in a European country without a Green Card prior to 2nd August 2021, you were breaking the law which could result in you being charged with driving without insurance which could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized, or prosecution.

As of 2nd August 2021 there is no longer a legal requirement to carry a Green Card but it has been recommended that you still carry one if travelling before 2nd September 2021 to give local enforcement agencies time to get up to date with the new rules.

Do I need to have a physical copy of a green card whilst driving abroad?

Yes. Under current international rules, Green Cards are physical paper documents. You may be required to show the physical document at the border when entering the EU, but this will be a decision for the border authorities to take. You may also be subject to police checks while driving abroad and you will also need to be able to present the document at the scene if you are involved in an accident.

Does the Green Card have to be printed on Green Paper?

No. The Green Card (the International Motor Insurance Certificate ‘IMIC’) changed to being valid in black text on white paper from July 2020. The managing organisation of the Green Card system, the Council of Bureaux, facilitated this development with the appropriate authorities in the participating countries.

If you need to print the Green Card document yourself, The Green Card will be valid printed in black text on plain white paper. The information must be clear and readable, set out in a vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape) format. The acceptable size of paper is a maximum of A4 to a minimum of A6. The back page should be blank.

You can choose to use green paper (with black text) but no other colour will be valid other than plain white.

What other documents will I require?

You should carry your V5 Vehicle Registration Document with you when driving abroad. It is also advisable to carry a copy of your Certificate of Insurance.

You may also be required to have an International Driving Permit depending on where you are travelling to. This is available from the Post Office at a cost of £5.50 and must be applied for in person at a Post Office branch. You do not need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein if you have a card driving licence issued in the UK.

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