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Drivers going to Europe need to apply for a Green Card now

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

UK drivers are being warned they should apply for a Green Card immediately – or risk being unable to drive in Europe after the Brexit deadline passes.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI ) has warned that time is running out for the EU Commission to agree that the UK will remain part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone from 1 January 2021.

The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. As it stands at the moment after that date, UK motorists, including road hauliers, will need an insurance Green Card to drive in Europe.

The Green Card requirement will also apply to motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border to the Republic of Ireland.

What is a Green Card?

The Green Card is an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.

All European Economic Area (EEA) countries (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are part of a Green Card free circulation area, meaning that motorists based there do not have to carry Green Cards when visiting other countries in the area.

However, when the transition period ends, UK motorists will be required to carry Green Cards for driving in the Republic of Ireland and other EU states, unless the European Commission agrees that the UK can remain in the Green Card scheme.

Motorists who fail to carry a Green Card when one is needed risk having their vehicle seized and being prosecuted.

How to get a Green Card

Drivers will need to ask their insurance company for a Green Card. Experts suggest applying for a Green Card at least a month before you travel. This means that even if they apply now, drivers risk not receiving their Green Card by 31 December.

The ABI has written to the secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps urging the government to put pressure on the EU Commission to act.

Carol Hall, ABI’s assistant director, said: “Insurers have put considerable resources into preparing for the need to issue Green Cards for travel from 1 January 2020 to minimise any disruption to motorists. While they are geared up to do so, it is without question that the best outcome for customers, road hauliers and insurers continues to be for the UK to be part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone

“We appreciate the pragmatic approach the UK government has taken on this matter, and we need them to press the EU Commission to agree that the UK and its motorists can stay in the Green Card free zone.”