Do you often drive your own car abroad for holidays or work?
If so, there’s a lot changing around the rules you’ll need to know and documentation you have to carry once the UK’s divorce from the EU is finalised.
Here are the four main changes that impact Britons driving in Europe after March 29.
Are you ready for post-Brexit driving in Europe? We’ve teamed up with Hagerty classic car insurance to help all drivers – not just vintage vehicle owners – to understand documentation they’ll need after March 29
The list of changes has been collated by Hagerty classic car insurance, which wants customers to be aware of the new rules ahead of any European road trips they have planned for the summer.
Given the success of events such as the Le Mans Classic in France, Essen Techo Classica in Germany and Spa Classics in Belgium, many vintage car owners will want to continue taking their pride and job across the channel.
Of course, the changes impact not just classic cars – it will effect anyone with a UK-registered motor driving on the continent.
Here’s everything you need to be prepared for:
1. Green Cards
Cost: Nil (though admin fees could be incurred)
Where do you get them? Your insurer
Green Cards will be available from insurers. While they are free, providers may charge administration fees to issue them
From 29th March regardless of whether there is a deal or no deal, it is expected that any travel into Europe by car or bike will require a Green Card.
This will replace the European Certificates of Insurance that have traditionally been issued from UK insurance companies who have an agreement with the EU to allow UK citizens to travel under one simple certificate of insurance.
The certificate will now be replaced by a European Green Card.
Essentially, this will be a letter of confirmation that the bearer of the paper has an insurance policy in place with a UK insurance company, although the actual language for these new Green Cards is still unknown.
If you want to know more, read our full guide to Green Cards.
2. International Driving Permits
Cost: £5.50 each
What you’ll need: Proof of ID, current driving licence, passport photo
Where do you get them? Main post offices
A recent change to the rules means you can only get an International Driving Permit – or IDP – from main Post Offices
In addition to your UK driving licence, motorists may be required to purchase an International Driving Permit to be able to legally drive on European roads post-Brexit. This is likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Two different types of IDP are used in the EU, depending on which countries you plan to visit. These are:
· 1949 IDP. Malta, Spain, Cyprus and Ireland. This is valid for 12 months. Please note that in January 2019, the UK Government advised that an IDP would not be required to drive in Ireland post-Brexit.
· 1968 IDP. Travel through other EU countries. Valid for three years, or until the expiry of your driving licence (whichever is sooner).
Previously you were able to order an IDP online, however new rules mean you can only get them from main Post Office branches.
Anyone driving abroad will need one three months before they travel. According to recent data, requests for IDPs have increased by a fifth in recent weeks as motorists planning to drive abroad in April to July prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
3. Environmental/ Low Emission Zones
Cost: Around £5 – £10 (including postage)
More information: Green-Zones.eu
Motorists need to be aware of an emissions zones they may encounter on their travels abroad, such as the Crit-Air scheme in France
Hundreds of towns and cities in Europe now have environmental or ‘Low Emission Zones’.
These prevent all but the newest and least-polluting vehicles from entering them, which in some countries are required to display a sticker that can be purchased from official local outlets.
The Crit-Air system in France, for example, requires drivers to purchase an emissions sticker that relates to their vehicle’s pollution levels.
As well as France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Spain all have their own unique sticker system, so it’s worth checking the Green-Zones.eu site well before driving in any of these countries.
Although regulations vary from country-to-country, most offer exemptions for classic cars which are those defined as being over 30-years-old and registered in an EU or European Economic Area country.
It is possible that this exemption could cease for British-registered classic cars after Brexit. If this is the case, the only option is to plan a journey that avoids the LEZ areas.
4. Passports & Visas
If there’s a no-deal Brexit, anyone planning to travel to the EU (apart from Ireland) will need to a 6-month buffer before their passport expires
If there’s a no-deal Brexit, it is likely that you will not be allowed entry to the EU (except Ireland) if your passport is within six months of its expiry date (as is the case with the rest of the world).
If you previously renewed your passport before its expiry, the time left may have been added, which doesn’t count. Check the HM Passport Office guide for more information.
Under the Brexit deal drafted at the end of 2018, visa-free travel should continue as it currently stands until the end of the transition period, but in the event of a no-deal, confirm the arrangements before you travel.
It is likely that visa requirements will be waived by reciprocal agreement.