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Brexit: UK drivers spend £3m on EU driving permits

Written by: Emma Lunn
UK drivers have spent more than £3m on permits likely to be required to drive in Europe after Brexit.

The figure was revealed after Neil O’Brien MP asked a written parliamentary question about how many people applied for an international driving permit (IDP) in each month over the past five years.

Transport minister Michael Ellis answered, stating that monthly information on the number of IDPs is only available from February 2019, and that over the past five months, 584,000 IDPs have been issued.

The permits cost £5.50 each. This means the total amount spent since February exceeds £3.2m.

What documentation do you need to drive in the EU?

Driving licences issued by European Union states are valid for trips within the European Economic Area (EEA), which is the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

At the moment UK drivers don’t need any additional documentation to drive in Europe. But this could change after Brexit. In the event of a no-deal, motorists driving their own car or a hire car are likely to need an IDP.

IDPs used to be issued by the AA, RAC and the Post Office. These organisations collectively issued around 100,000 IDPs each year. But since 1 February 2019 the Post Office has been the sole issuer of IDPs.

You’ll need to visit a Post Office branch to get an IDP – you can’t get one online.

What you need to know about international driving permits

You need to be at least 18-years-old with a full driving licence to apply for an IDP. You can’t apply for an IDP more than three months before you intend to travel, and an IDP is valid for one year.

There are two types of IDP used in EU states. Most countries require the 1949 Convention IDP, but some require the 1926 Convention IDP. Make sure you have the correct IDPs for all the countries you are intending to visit.

Insurance while driving in the EU

At the moment car insurance policies issued in the UK are valid throughout the EU as well as Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland.

But post-Brexit motorists taking their car abroad are likely to need a “green card” from their insurance company to prove they have third party insurance (the legal minimum level of cover to drive abroad).

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