Driving in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £2.99.

The Government has released guidance regarding driving in the EU in the event of no Brexit deal.

The document states that drivers would need both a driving licence and an IDP whether they’re driving in a private or professional capacity.

An IDP is a document which, when carried with your driving licence, means you would be able to drive outside of the UK including in EU countries.

There are different types of IDP. Which one you need depends on which country you are driving in.

You may be turned away at the border or face other enforcement action if you don’t have the correct IDP.

You may also need an IDP to hire a vehicle when you are abroad.

There are two types of IDP required by EU countries. Each is governed by a separate United Nations convention.

One type is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.

The other type is governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

You would need both types of IDP if you are visiting EU countries covered by different conventions, for example France and Spain.

The IDP will cost £5.50. Currently obtaining an IDP over a Post Office counter takes around five minutes on a turn-up-and-go basis.

If you already have a 1949 convention IDP you can continue to use it in all countries in which it applies (including EU countries) for as long as it remains valid.

However, from 28 March 2019, when the 1968 convention comes into force for the UK, that convention will govern the arrangements for driving in most EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland.

In the EU, 1949 convention IDPs will only be valid in Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Spain after 28 March 2019.

When travelling outside the EU, if you already have a 1949 convention IDP that expires after 28 March 2019, you should check whether it will still be valid in the country in which you are planning to drive, as the 1968 format IDP will replace it from this date. Affected countries include Cuba, Jamaica, Turkey and Vietnam.

If you become resident in an EU country you would not have the automatic right under EU law to exchange your UK licence for a driving licence from the EU country you’re living in.

Depending on the laws of the EU country you move to, you may need to take a new driving test in that country.

You can avoid this by exchanging your UK driving licence for one from the EU country you move to or live in before 29 March 2019.

UK licence holders who do this will be able to re-exchange for a UK licence if they return to live in the UK.

The Government say they will be seeking to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the EU to cover the continued recognition and exchange of UK licences after Brexit.

In the event that they do not achieve a comprehensive agreement, they will also pursue agreements with individual EU countries.

Arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change.

When non-EU licence holders come to live in the UK on a temporary basis, their licence would continue to be recognised for a period of 12 months, before the holder would be required to either exchange their licence, where agreements exist, or to take a driving test.

EU licence holders can drive on their EU licence until it expires, or until they reach the age of 70, or until three years after coming to live in the UK.

For EU licence holders who passed their test in the EU or EEA, the UK would continue to exchange their licence.

EU licence holders who passed their test outside the EU or EEA have restrictions on licence exchange, and so may need to take a test to obtain a UK licence.