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Brexit: Green Card Guidance


Close up of map of UK and France with UK passports

Despite this weeks’ Brexit votes by the UK Government and their decision yesterday to seek an extension to Article 50, whether the UK leaves the European Union (EU) on the 29th March 2019 is still surrounded by uncertainty.

Whilst the political tension rumbles on and we wait to hear whether the EU will accept the request to delay the UK’s departure, we can imagine there must be many questions running through the minds of our clients and some concern about how Brexit will affect you.

We can’t answer all your Brexit questions but we did want to share with you our thoughts on some potential implications for travelling and driving in the EU over the coming months.

Below we have listed some questions you may have about Green Cards and driving in the EU. If you would like to know more or are unsure of anything please do not hesitate to contact us on 01494 450011.

What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is physical document that acts as evidence that the minimum legal cover required is in force for the country visiting whilst driving outside the United Kingdom

Will Green Cards be required if there is a no deal Brexit?
If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, it is likely drivers will need to obtain and carry a physical copy of a Green Card with them when driving in the EEA (European Economic Area) as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland to prove that they have valid insurance cover for their vehicle.

Does this apply for driving across the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland Border?
Yes. Please contact us at least 14 days before the intended travel date so that we can process the request for a Green Card and ensure that it reaches you in good time.

How do I obtain a Green Card?
Please contact us well in advance before the intended travel date so that we can process your request and ensure the Green Card reaches you before your travels. We suggest a minimum of 14 days.

What if I travel without a Green Card?
You will be breaking the law and may be accused of driving without insurance. It is highly probable you will not be able to cross the border or gain access onto a ferry. If however this isn’t the case you could be subject to at the roadside to receiving a fine, have your vehicle seized or face prosecution. The only other legal option available would be to purchase insurance locally when you arrive in the country (often known as ‘frontier insurance’). However, such insurance cover may not be widely available and may be more expensive than UK issued policies.

Is a Green Card needed for each vehicle insured on a policy?
Yes. A Green Card is required to cover the registration number of the individual vehicle, so a Green Card will be needed to cover each vehicle insured under a policy.

Is a Green Card needed for each driver insured on a policy?

Any driver named on the motor policy who is intending to also drive in the European Union needs to be noted on the Green Card.

Do I need to carry any additional documents if I am driving with a trailer?
The Green Card is required to specify the licence plate of each individual vehicle and identify any trailer or towed vehicles. In some EU member states a separate Green Card is needed for each trailer. Please contact us so that we can advise on the exact requirements of the countries you plan to visit.

Will my driving licence be valid to drive in the European Union from 29th March 2019?

In the event of a “no deal” situation the Department for Transport has indicated that drivers may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the European Union. This would need to be shown in conjunction with your UK driving licence.

The IDP is issued by the Government via Post Offices and cannot be obtained via us, please visit your nearest Post Office for further details.

It is important to note that there are different types of IDP. Which one they’ll need will depend on which country they will be driving in:

•    A 1949 Convention IDP covers these EU countries: Spain, Malta and Cyprus; or

•    A 1968 Convention IDP covers all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland

To drive in Republic of Ireland you should not need an IDP if you hold a UK driving licence as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non- EU countries.

Can a Green Card be issued for a non-UK registered vehicle?
No. The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), as the issuer of the Green Cards, only guarantees UK registered vehicles.  For clarity, the MIB are also not able to issue Green Cards to non-UK registered vehicles which are permitted to drive in the UK.