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Half a million may need to retake driving test under no deal Brexit

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Up to half a million expats living in France and Spain may be forced to retake their driving test in those countries if there is no EU exit deal, the AA has said.

While the UK is a member of the EU, UK driving licences are directly exchangeable for EU and EEA country licences.

But in the event of no deal Brexit, this licence exchange arrangement will stop from 29 March 2019.

Drivers will need to re-take their driving test in the EU country where they live to be able to carry on driving there.

Motorists who currently drive straight off the ferry and into Europe could also be stopped and turned back at the port if they don’t have the relevant International Driving Permit (IDP), the government warned in guidance issued today.

Drivers intending on driving in both France and Spain will need two different IDPs.

In another change from 1 February 2019 drivers will only be able to get 1926, 1949 and 1968 IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK post offices. Each IDP will cost £5.50. Currently drivers can apply by post to obtain IDPs from the AA but the government has ordered this service to be stopped at the end of January.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Thousands of ex-pats, many of them elderly, will not relish the prospect of having to re-take their driving test in a different country and different language if there is no deal.

“Drivers without the appropriate IDPs could also be turned back at the ports. Currently they could obtain an IDP from the AA shop at the Eurotunnel port but that won’t be allowed after the end of this month.

“It really does seem a backward step that drivers will no longer be able to apply for IDPs in the post. Unless these Brexit driving issues are sorted out soon many UK drivers living in Europe may well need to start practising for a new driving test.”



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