Do I need a Green Card to drive in Europe?

Jump to
Green Cards
Driving in Europe
Green Cards outside of the EU

We get it, you're sick and tired of hearing about Brexit! (So are we 👀)

But Britain's exit from the European Union was a big deal - and it had an impact on all sorts of things, from passports to pets.

But what does it mean for British drivers travelling in Europe?

You no longer need a Green Card to drive a UK registered car in Europe

Good news! For a little while after the UK left the European Union, a Green Card was required to take a British car into the EU. But as of August 2nd 2021, that’s no longer needed.

You do need to bring a few bits and pieces, though.

What do British citizens need to drive in Europe?

You don't need a Green Card to travel in the EU, plus some other countries, but you must be insured.

UK insurance companies all provide the mimumum legal requirement for driving in:

  • In the EU (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden)
  • In the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway)
  • In Switzerland, Andorra, and Serbia

The exact type of insurance depends on your insurer, so it's always worth checking.

Make sure you're all sorted before driving in Europe
Make sure you're all sorted before driving in Europe

Here’s what you’ll need for your trip:

Your full driving licence This is probably a good time to check that your licence is still in date. If it’s expired, you’ll need to apply for a new one online, at least a week before you travel.

Your logbook (V5C) If you're driving your own car in the EU and the trip is less than 12 months long, you'll need to bring your log book — make sure it's up to date!.

If you plan on driving a hired or leased car in the EU, for less than 12 months, you'll need to get a VE103 certificate to prove you're allowed to drive it abroad.

You can get a VE103 for a fee from:

You'll also need to tell the DVLA if you want to take your car out of the UK for more than 12 months.

Proof of insurance Make sure you’ve got your policy documents with you. It’s probably worth printing out a paper copy, just to be safe.

Trailer registration Certain trailers will need to be registered before you take them into the EU. Best to check if you’ll need to register your trailer before you go. You can do this online.

You’ll most likely need to attach a UK sticker to your car Cars registered in the UK need to display a “UK” sticker when driving in any European country aside from Ireland. It used to be a “GB” sticker. But from the 28th of September 2021, you’ll need a “UK” sticker instead. There are a few exceptions to this rule. But the stickers are only about £1.50, and driving without one could land you a fine. So it’s probably worth getting one.

You might need some extra safety equipment Some EU countries legally require drivers to carry certain safety equipment in their vehicle at all times. These could include:

  • A red triangle
  • A hi-vis vest
  • A first aid kit
  • A breathalyzer test

You can usually order these online. Road rules can change, though. So be sure to check what’s needed in the countries you’re travelling to.

Check if you need an International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a translated version of your licence that makes it valid in other countries.🌍

You may need an IDP to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein if you have:

  • A licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man
  • A paper driving licence (rather than a photocard)

An IDP costs around £5.50 from the Post Office, and you'll need to be over 18 and have a full UK driving licence to apply. If you're caught without an IDP or your UK licence, you could be fined and have your car seized. 🚨 You can find out if you need an IDP on GOV.UK.

Oh, and don’t forget your passport!

Driving abroad can be exciting - just make sure you're prepared
Driving abroad can be exciting - just make sure you're prepared
Get a quick quote 👇
Temporary car insurance from 1 hour to 28 days. No deposits, interest or nasty hidden fees. 9 million+ policies sold, 2 million+ cars insured and 3.5 million+ app downloads. Get a quote.

So… what about further afield?

What do British citizens need when driving outside the EU?

UK drivers still need to get a Green Card to drive in some non-EU countries in Europe.

A Green Card is, basically, proof that your car is insured. It is issued by your insurance company. More on that below.

Last time we checked, these countries were:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Israel
  • Moldova
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

But rules can change — so definitely check the UK Government's latest information sheet before you travel.

You can get a Green Card from your insurer

They're usually free, but some companies may charge an admin fee.

Unlike the name suggests, Green Cards may be printed on white paper. You need to keep it with you at all times when you're driving abroad.

If you're caught without a valid Green Card, you could be fined or have your car impounded. 🚫

Some extra things to keep an eye out for:

  • You need a Green Card for each insurance policy on your car
  • You'll need an extra Green Card if you're towing a caravan or trailer

Car insurance without the nasty bits

Cuvva hates deposits, interest, tie-ins and hidden fees - it's why we've scrapped them.

Instead, we offer flexible temporary insurance from 1 hour to 28 days.

It's perfect for borrowing and lending - and for experienced or learner drivers alike.

Whatever you're after, it only takes a few minutes to get a quote.

Read more 📚
Will Brexit affects my car insurance? Learn more
Updated on 3rd April 2023