Guidance

Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021

What UK drivers need to do to drive while visiting the EU from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

If you are a commercial driver, there is additional guidance for:

Driving licences and international driving permits

You will still need to carry your UK driving licence with you.

If your driving licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man you may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU countries and Norway from 1 January 2021.

The type of IDP that you may need will depend on the countries you will drive through.

You will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland if you have a UK driving licence.

You can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office.

An IDP costs £5.50 and drivers must:

  • be a Great Britain or Northern Ireland resident
  • have a full UK driving licence
  • be 18 or over

Insurance for your vehicle, caravan or trailer

A ‘green card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. You should plan to carry one for the vehicle you’re driving in the EUEEA, Switzerland, Serbia or Andorra, from 1 January 2021. This includes driving in Ireland.

You will need to carry multiple green cards if:

  • you have fleet or multi-car insurance – you’ll need a green card for each vehicle
  • your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries)
  • you have 2 policies covering the duration of your trip, for example, if your policy renews during the journey

You must carry a physical copy of your green card when driving abroad. Electronic versions of green cards are not acceptable.

If you need a physical copy of your green cards, contact your vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you travel. Or, you can now print green cards yourself. They no longer need to be printed on green paper.

You will need to show green cards if you are involved in an accident. You may need to show green cards at police checks and at the border when entering the EU/EEA or moving between EU/EEA countries. This will depend on the border authorities of each country.

More about vehicle insurance.

Vehicle registration documents

If you’re taking your vehicle to the EU for less than 12 months, you should carry one of the following documents with you:

  • your vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
  • VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad

Trailer registration

You will still need to register some commercial and non-commercial trailers before towing them to or through most EU and EEA countries.

Find out more about trailer registration.

GB stickers and number plates

Display a Great Britain (GB) sticker on the rear of the vehicle and trailer, even if the vehicle has a number plate with the Euro symbol and a GB national identifier.

You do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.

What to do if you’re involved in a road accident

If you’re involved in a road accident in an EU country you should in the first instance contact your insurance provider.

From 1 January 2021, any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurance provider of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.

You will not get compensation in some countries if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced.

Get legal advice if you need more information about this.

Published 25 February 2020
Last updated 19 December 2020 

Guidance

Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021: UK licence holders living in the EU

Driving licence exchange and rules for driving in EU countries.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

UK and EU driving licences

If you live and drive in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland you need to exchange your driving licence for a local one.

The deadline for doing this depends on which country you live in.

From 1 January 2021, some EU and EEA countries will continue the current licence exchange arrangement. In other countries the process will change. You may also need to retake your driving test.

Exchange your licence as early as you can because your application may take longer than usual to process.

Check the driving advice for the country you live in.

Austria

You can exchange your licence before 1 July 2021 without having to take a test.

Driving in Austria.

Belgium

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Belgium.

Bulgaria

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 Janaury 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Bulgaria.

Croatia

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Croatia.

Cyprus

You can continue to use your licence without exchanging until 30 June 2021. You are encouraged to exchange your licence within this period otherwise you may need to take a test. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2020; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Cyprus.

Czech Republic

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence issued by the Isle of Man you will need to take a test to exchange your licence.

Driving in the Czech Republic.

Denmark

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Denmark.

Estonia

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence issued by the Isle of Man you will need to take a test to exchange your licence.

Driving in Estonia.

Finland

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test for licence categories A1, A2, A or B. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Finland.

France

You can continue to use your licence until 1 January 2022. From 1 January 2022 you may need to take a test to exchange your licence. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in France.

Germany

You can continue to use your licence until 1 July 2021. From 1 July 2021 you may need to take a test to exchange your licence. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Germany.

Greece

You may need to take a test to exchange your licence from 1 January 2021.

Driving in Greece.

Hungary

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence issued by the Isle of Man you will need to take a test to exchange your licence.

Driving in Hungary.

Iceland

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Iceland.

Ireland

UK and Northern Ireland licence holders’ resident in the Republic of Ireland must exchange their driving licence for an Irish licence. Consider doing this as soon as possible as the UK and Northern Ireland licence won’t be legal for driving from 1 January 2021. The licence, while not legal for driving, can be exchanged without the need to take a driving or theory test after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Ireland.

Italy

You may need to take a test to exchange your licence from 1 January 2021.

Driving in Italy.

Latvia

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Latvia.

Liechtenstein

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence issued by the Isle of Man you will need to take a test to exchange your licence.

Driving in Liechtenstein.

Lithuania

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test if you obtained the licence before 1 January 2021. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Lithuania.

Luxembourg

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. You may need to take a test to exchange Category C and D licences in 2021 until the necessary changes have been made.

Driving in Luxembourg.

Malta

You can continue to use your licence until 1 July 2021. From 1 July 2021 you will need to take a test to exchange your licence. Consider exchanging your licence as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Malta.

The Netherlands

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in the Netherlands.

Norway

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Norway.

Poland

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Poland.

Portugal

You may need to take a test to exchange your licence from 1 January 2021.

Driving in Portugal.

Romania

Most drivers can exchange their licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence issued by the Isle of Man you will need to take a test to exchange your licence.

Driving in Romania.

Slovakia

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. If you have been resident for over 185 days starting from 1 January 2021, you must exchange your UK licence for a Slovak one within 60 days of completing the 185 days and before 2 September 2021.

Driving in Slovakia.

Slovenia

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Slovenia.

Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles)

You can continue to use your licence until 1July 2021. From 1 July 2021 you may need to take a test to exchange your licence. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Spain.

Sweden

If you are resident in Sweden you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021. If your licence is valid in the UK then it will continue to be recognised in Sweden after 1 January 2021.

Driving in Sweden.

Switzerland

You can exchange your licence without having to take a test. Consider doing this as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. If you hold a licence from Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, you should exchange your licence before 1 January 2021; otherwise you may need to take a test.

Driving in Switzerland.

Rules for driving in EU countries

You must check the rules for driving and living in different EU countries and follow any local laws.

Published 29 January 2020
Last updated 19 December 2020 
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