Green cards for British drivers in the EU to be scrapped


British drivers will soon no longer need to obtain a green card in order to legally drive their own car in an EU country. Initially introduced as part of our post-Brexit lifestyle, the green card has since been dubbed ‘confusing’ for many. More importantly, the cards have caused a great deal of tension in Northern Ireland, as the practice extended to those driving from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

The green card question was reviewed by the European Commission at the beginning of July 2021, and plans have since been put in place for the practice to cease a minimum of 20 days after being published in the Official Journal. This means that UK drivers will still need to have a green card in place this month, but can expect changes to come about in August. If you are planning to travel to Europe in August it would be sensible to still apply for a green card as a definite date for the change is yet to be confirmed.

The change has been described as ‘pragmatic’ by Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers. ‘It will be especially welcomed by motorists in Northern Ireland,’ commented Huw.

Why were green cards introduced?

The purpose of the green card was to show that a driver had the minimum legally required level of insurance cover in place to drive in that country. It was also necessary for drivers to have one green card per vehicle, meaning trailers or caravans needed their own separate card.

Without a green card, drivers could be subjected to steep fines and, in some countries, drivers may even need to purchase third-party insurance.

What other laws do I need to be aware of when driving in the EU?

For those who aren’t already aware, there are some other post-Brexit laws to watch out for when driving in any EU country. For drivers travelling with a paper licence instead of an updated photocard licence, it will now be necessary for you to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP). The type of IDP you need will depend on the country you’re visiting; you can find the full list on the government website here.

There are three different types of IDPs, which we have listed below:

  1. 1926 IDP: This is required for drivers travelling through or in Lichtenstein.
  2. 1949 IDP: This is required for driving in Cyprus, Iceland, Malta and Spain.
  3. 1968 IDP: This will be valid for all other EU/EEA countries (other than those listed above).

Thankfully, it’s fairly straightforward to get an IDP. You can find one in your local Post Office for just £5.50, and once purchased it will be valid for three years.

To speak to us about your insurance needs for your vehicle or travel plans, please speak to a member of the Norton team on 0121 248 9440.

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