Motorists heading to the Continent could find their driving licences are not recognised if the UK fails to secure a deal as we prepare to leave Europe.
In the unlikely event this does happen, it’s possible that Brits would need to obtain a International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in countries that uphold the ban.
Here’s what we know so far and how this MIGHT impact on British drivers should a deal not be reached.
What has the EU said?
In a notice issued on January 19, 2018, the EU said the following:
According to Article 2 of Directive 2006/126/EC10, driving licences issued by Member States of the Union are mutually recognised. As of the withdrawal date, a driving licence issued by the United Kingdom will no longer be recognised by the Member States on the basis of this legislation.
What does that mean?
It could mean that without an alternative agreement, Brits won’t be able to drive cars, trucks, or hire vehicles in EU member states.
However, it is virtually unthinkable that this would happen. The arrangement would likely be reciprocal to EU citizens attempting to drive in the UK.
So just EU posturing, then?
Not exactly, some sort of alternative agreement would be needed to keep everyone happy – which is why the British government is about to sign up to the United Nations convention on road traffic. This allows non-EU citizens to drive in the bloc – so the same should apply to Brits.
Great – so there’s nothing to worry about for my annual road-trip to bag cheap plonk in Calais?
It’s not quite that simple. If there is no deal and we have to rely on the United Nations convention on road traffic then it’s likely that drivers would need to obtain a supplement known as an International Driving Permit (IDP).
This would add time and paperwork to trips – along with some additional cost.
So what is the International Driving Permit?
An International Driving Licence (IDP) is an addition to your UK driving licence.
It is an official document that validates your UK driving licence so you can drive in other certain countries – which could end up including EU countries.
How long is it valid for?
An IDP is valid for one year and can only be obtained three months in advance of needing it.
How would I get an IDP if needed and how much is it?
To get an IDP you need to:
Be 18 years or over
Hold a valid UK driving licence
The best place to get an IDP is at the Post Office. Head to your local branch and the process is a simple application form.
You’ll need to bring:
Your full UK driving licence – photocard or older paper version licence
The £5.50 application fee
A passport sized photo signed on the back
Proof of identification – such as a passport
If you’re travelling via Eurotunnel, and need one, you can get an International Driving Permit, you can pick one up from the AA’s Eurotunnel shop. Find out more here.
Will I still need to take my UK licence if this happens?
Yes – an International Driving Permit is only valid if you’re carrying your UK licence with you.
What does the Government say?
As reported in the Guardian, Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “We believe reaching an agreement to continue the liberal access enjoyed by both sides is in everyone’s interests and remain confident we will do so.”
So – you’re just scaremongering!
That’s not our intention at all – and most people will be confident a deal will be reached. However, this is just one possible scenario and it’s sensible to look at all outcomes to be prepared.