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Driving After Brexit: EU Citizens Visiting the UK

EU flag with one of the 12 stars replaced with a PassMeFast checkmark

A world away from the political drama, Brexit will have real-life consequences for all of us. That’s why, here at PassMeFast, we’ve created a series of articles covering Driving After Brexit. In this guide, we’ll discuss the implications for EU drivers visiting the UK. Will you still be able to drive here on an EU licence? Let’s find out!


I’m planning to visit the UK after Brexit. Can I still drive there on an EU licence?

Photo © Santeri Viinamäki (cc-by-sa/4.0)

While Brexit has thrown up many unknowns, one area where things are clear is the status of EU drivers in the UK. That’s because the UK government has announced that the status of EU driving licences will not change after Brexit. So, how do things look at the moment?

If you hold a driving licence from any EU or EEA member state, you’ll be able to drive in the UK until you reach the age of 70, or after three years if you’re over 68. Additionally, you’ll be able to drive any type of vehicle listed on your licence. As such, any visitor to the UK from these countries will have ample time on the road!


Will I need to carry any specific documents?

© Crown copyright (Open Government Licence)

There’s some more good news for EU drivers when it comes to documents you’ll need to carry during your stay. That’s because the government has announced that it will not require drivers to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP).

You will, however, need to provide proof of car insurance. For drivers visiting from the EU or EEA (as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland), you’ll be able to show either a green card, or, alternatively, a document issued by your insurer bearing your name, the vehicle’s number plate or other identifying particulars, and the period of insurance cover. Rules differ for countries outside the EU.

Additionally, it’s worth noting those visiting for short-term trips will not need a visa to enter the UK. However, one change to be aware of is that the UK will no longer accept ID cards for entry, and will instead require visitors to carry a passport. Though the exact date of this change is pending, it’s best to prepare for this in advance if you are planning a future visit to the UK.


FAQs

① What happens if I want to stay in the UK for a longer period?

The government has announced that it will continue to accept EU licences regardless of which Brexit outcome comes about. There’s no need to exchange your licence—though you’ll still be able to do so should you wish to. For more information, visit our article covering the status of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.

② I passed my test outside of the EU/EEA, then converted to an EU/EEA licence. What rules apply to me?

You’ll be able to drive in the UK for a period of up to 12 months. If you’re staying for a longer period, however, you may be required to sit UK theory and practical tests again in order to continue driving. Read our article covering exchanging foreign driving licences for details.

③ What if I have a non-EU/EEA licence?

You’ll still be able to drive in the UK on your current driving licence on a short-term visit. More specifically, you’ll be able to drive a car or ride a motorbike for up to 12 months. If permitted by your licence, you’ll be able to drive a lorry or bus, but only if you’ve driven this vehicle into the UK yourself.

④ Are there any specific rules I need to be aware of when visiting the UK?

Aside from some of the obvious changes, such as driving on the left and the use of miles rather than kilometres, there are a number of differences between driving in Europe and in the UK. Get acquainted with the Highway Code before setting off on your trip.


For more information, check out our other articles, covering information concerning EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU.

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.

10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Zaib muhammad

    I am belgian national but before I have Spanish driving licence that one I exchange with Belgium driving licence. Now rece6 I move permanently in uk. Can I exchange again my drving licence in second time in uk or not?

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Zaib,

      I think this should be fine – it sounds as though you passed your test in the EU, so you should be fine to exchange your licence for a UK one.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  2. Reply

    Clifford Saxton

    Hi Andy, I’m a little confused. According to this site I am not allowed to drive in the UK on my current licence as I am over 70. The 70 year rule does not apply to French licences. Would you clarify this for me please.
    Thanks,
    Cliff

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Cliff,

      You’re right that French licences don’t have an expiration date. However, if you have a French licence and are a UK resident, then you can only drive on it until you reach the age of 70, or have been a resident for 3 years (whichever of the two is longer).

      Once you’re no longer able to drive on your French licence, you’ll need to exchange it for a UK one to continue driving in this country. You won’t need to retake your tests to exchange your licence.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  3. Reply

    Sally

    Hi Andy
    We have to travel next week from Austria to UK for a family funeral. My husband is 72 and has an austrian driving licence which expires in 2025. Can he drive in the UK

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Sally,

      Yep, that’ll be absolutely fine. He can drive any vehicle listed on his licence.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy

  4. Reply

    Robin

    Hi Andy, thanks for the useful site. To be clear, an over-70 year old can drive in the UK on an EU license (mine is French) as long as it is valid and they are visiting temporarily (holiday for example)?

    Our car is French, does it need a FR sticker ?

    1. Reply

      Sam Plant

      Hi Robin,

      That’s correct! And nope, you shouldn’t need a FR sticker on your vehicle.

      Thanks,

      Sam

  5. Reply

    Richard Chalmers

    Hola Andy,

    I am a resident in Spain and insured with Linea Directa who have just informed me that, following Brexit, although I am insured to drive my car in the United Kingdom, should I have an accident, I will not be covered for any damage to the other vehicle. Can this be correct and, if so, can I still legally drive my Spanish registered car whilst visiting the United Kingdom?
    I would be most grateful for any advice

    Thank you

    1. Reply

      Sam Plant

      Buenos días, Richard!

      Interesting… I’ve never heard of that before. Did they mean you’d only be covered for damage to another vehicle, and not your own? (i.e. third party cover)

      If your insurance doesn’t cover other vehicles then you wouldn’t be able to drive in the UK, but something doesn’t quite sound right there! I think it might be best to double-check with Linea Directa.

      Thanks,

      Sam

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