Do I need an international driving permit?

With Britain set to formally leave the EU on October 31st, UK drivers are loaded with a plethora of questions about driving on the continent. Knowing whether an international driving permit will be required for upcoming trips sits at the very top of the agenda.

The UK Government published its guidelines regarding the matter of international driving permits back on September 13th, 2018, covering an array of potential scenarios. So, if you’re wondering “do I need an international driving permit after Brexit?”, here’s all you need to know.

Will I need an international driving permit following a no-deal Brexit?

Situations will be hugely depending on what actually happens with Brexit, but a no-deal Brexit looks the most likely outcome by far. If this is the case, UK citizens wishing to drive abroad or take their car to an EU country will require additional documents to support their driving license.

Motorists will require an international driving permit (IDP) when driving in an EU state. The permits can be split into three categories, they are:

  • The 1949 IDP, which covers travel to Ireland, Malta, Spain, and Cyprus. The document is valid for one year.
  • The 1968 IDP, which covers travel to all other EU states. It is valid or up to three years (or until the date that your driving license becomes invalid).
  • The 1926 IDP, which covers driving in Liechtenstein as well as some non-EU states including Mexico. 

So, if planning to drive or take your car abroad following the completion of Brexit, getting an IDP will be key.

Where can I get an international driving permit?

Since February 1st, 2019, all IDP applications have been handled exclusively by the Post Office. Applications for all three types of international driving permit can be made at over 2,500 branches.

A single IDP costs £5.50, regardless of which one is required. If you are planning to drive from Spain to France or Portugal, you will need a 1949 IDP and a 1968 IDP. This means the total cost will be £11, although you can freely move between the two states for as long as the permits are valid.

AN IDP may not be required for rental cars, but it’s always best to check with the rental company.

What about car insurance?

In the case of a no-deal Brexit, it will be necessary for drivers to carry a green card as proof of motor insurance in the EU, as well as surrounding states like Switzerland.

Will I need an international driving permit if I emigrate to the EU?

If you are planning to move to an EU country after Brexit, you will not enjoy the right to exchange your UK license in the same way that you currently would. While the situations will vary dependant on which country you wish to live in, the two primary options will be as follows:

  • Gain an IDP to cover the first 1-3 years;
  • Or apply for a new driving license in the country of residence

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