Brits WILL be able to KEEP DRIVING cars in Europe when the EU stops recognising our driving licence after Brexit

The EU has released documentation declaring it will cease to recognise the UK driving licence after we leave the Union in 2019 – but here’s why Brits WILL be able to keep driving on the Continent.

Speculation has been rife that British drivers won’t be able to drive or hire cars in Europe after we leave the EU.

Here we look at the story so far and find out the truth of what’s to come for Brits driving on the Continent in a post-Brexit Europe.

Has the EU said it will cease to recognise British driving licences after Brexit?

Yes it has! Claims of this being nothing more than a tabloid feeding frenzy are wide of the mark. 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.

Read the official EU notice of its intentions here.

What does this mean to Brits planning to drive or hire a motor in EU countries after Brexit?

In theory, this would mean that without an alternative agreement, Brits won’t be able to drive cars, trucks, or hire vehicles in EU member states.

But you say we WILL be able to keep driving – how would this be?

Firstly, it’s entirely possible that Theresa May and her team of negotiators led by David Davis could reach a deal where the UK licence remains acceptable to EU countries.

Alternatively – in the same way that other non-EU residents from other countries manage it – Brits could simply buy an International Driving Permit (IDP).

The UK will need to ratify the United Nations Vienna convention on road traffic to make this work, but the Government has already set this in motion.

So what is this International Driving Permit?

The IDP is a permit that lets you drive legally in around 140 countries.

Will I need to take another driving test to get and IDP?

No. Providing you’re 18+, hold a full licence and live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, you can simply get one by filling in a form at certain Post Office branches or a centre at the Channel Tunnel.

Great – so my annual road-trip is good to go?

Yes – this ‘default’ setting should mean Brits can carry on driving abroad!

What the EU said about Brit licence

What the EU said about Brit licences. Image credit

What do I need know about getting an IDP

An IDP lasts for one year, cost £5.50 and you can find out more on the IDP here.

To get an IDP you will 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.


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