Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021: bus and coach drivers

What UK bus or coach drivers need to do to drive professionally in the EU from 1 January 2021.

Brexit transition: new rules for 2021

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU. This page tells you the new rules from 1 January 2021.

Use the Brexit checker to get a personalised list of actions and sign up for email updates.

Driving licences and international driving permits

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

You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway from 1 January 2021 if you have:

  • a paper driving licence
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Check with the embassy of the country you will be driving in.

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

Driver CPC for bus and coach drivers

You need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification to drive professionally in the UK, the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

If you work for a UK company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification

You will still need Driver CPC to drive professionally in the UK. You must still complete your Driver CPC periodic training by your deadline.

You do not need to do anything else if you’re a UK driver working for a UK company.

You will still be able to drive to or through EU countries with your UK Driver CPC qualification for all international journeys that UK companies are allowed to make.

If you work for an EU company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification

Exchange your UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU one if you work for an EU company or want to work for one from 1 January 2021.

The way you do this will depend on how the country where you live and work recognises Driver CPC. Some countries:

  • use a Driver CPC card (like the UK does) – this is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card or ‘DQC
  • add code 95 to the driving licence

Some countries recognise either method.

Countries that use a Driver CPC card

These countries use the Driver CPC card as proof that drivers have the qualification:

Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg (for non-resident drivers only), Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Apply to the relevant organisation in the country where you live and work to exchange your Driver CPC qualification. Check with them how long it takes to make sure you do it in time.

Countries that use code 95 on the driving licence

These countries add code 95 to driving licences as proof that drivers have the qualification:

Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg (for resident drivers only), Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Slovenia.

Exchange your UK driving licence for a driving licence in the EU country where you live and work so that your Driver CPC qualification is exchanged. Check with the relevant organisation in the country to find out if you need to take any extra steps. Check with them how long it takes to make sure you do it in time.

If you do not live in the EU country where you work, your employer may be able to get you a driver attestation certificate.


You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It usually takes 3 weeks if you need to renew your passport. There’s a premium service if you need it sooner.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.


You’ll still be able to work in the EU without a visa if do not spend more than 90 days in the EU within any 180-day period.

Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You’ll continue to be able to travel and work there in the same way as before.


You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU country.

You can continue to use an EHIC from 1 January 2021. If you apply for a card now, you’ll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC.

From 1 January 2021, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. If you’re visiting those countries, make sure you have travel insurance with health cover.

Find out about buying travel insurance with the right cover.

Vehicle and trailer insurance

A ‘green card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad.

You should carry one for the vehicle you’re driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland from 1 January 2021.

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 – 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.

Make sure your employer has got green cards

Make sure your employer either:

  • contacts their vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you travel to get a copy
  • prints green cards their insurance providers electronically send to them (this does not need to be printed on green paper)

When you will have to show your green cards

You will need to show green cards if you’re involved in an accident.

You may need to show green cards at police checks and at the border when:

  • you enter the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • move between the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

This will depend on the border authorities of each country.

Find out more about vehicle insurance.

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

Contact your insurance provider if you’re involved in a road accident in the EU.

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 country, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, depending on 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.

GB stickers and number plates

You must display a separate GB sticker when driving in the EU if your number plate has the Euro symbol and Great Britain (GB) national identifier on it.

You will not need to display a separate GB sticker if your number plate either:

  • includes the letters GB with a Union Flag
  • includes the letters GB with no flag

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

What to do if you run a bus or coach company

Find out what you need to do to run international bus and coach services from 1 January 2021.

Published 25 February 2020
Last updated 28 December 2020 
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