Driving in Europe after Brexit – You may need an international driving permit

Driving in Europe after Brexit – You may need an international driving permit

If the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on October 31st 2019, you may require an international driving permit to drive in some countries in Europe. It’s looking increasingly likely that any decision / announcement is going to go down to the wire leaving those with travel plans in Europe shortly after little choice by to apply for an international driving permit. Whilst some EU countries have committed to recognize UK driving licenses whichever way the UK leaves the EU, many have not and the default position would require an IDP.

driving in europe after brexit international driving permit

How do I get an international driving permit?

As of February 2019, international driving permits can only be applied for in person at any of the UK’s 2,500 post office branches. Permits are issued by the department of transport via the post office. You must be over 18 to apply for an international driving permit.

What do I need to get an international driving permit?

When applying for an international driving permit you will need the following documents:
  • Full UK driving license (photocard or paper version – passport required for identification if paper license provided)
  • Passport photo
  • £5.50 application fee
Applications must be made in person at the post office. You can not longer apply for an international driving permit from the RAC or AA by mail order.

How long does it take to get an international driving permit?

International driving permits can be obtained on the same day over the counter at the post office provided that the necessary documents (see above) have been provided. You can also order an IDP up to 3 months prior to commencement date.

Can you backdate an international driving permit?

No, international driving permits cannot be backdated.

How much does an international driving permit cost?

An international driving permit costs £5.50. There are 3 different permits and depending on your country of travel, you may require 2 at a cost of £11 in total.

Where can you drive in the EU without an IDP after Brexit?

Of the 28 members states, just 12 have made their position clear including UK favourites such as Spain, Ireland and Portugal, however notable exceptions include France (the most visited by Brits), Germany, Italy and Greece. Whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not, here's the latest information on what IDP (if any) will be needed and in which country, subject to whether you have a photo card license or an older style paper licence;

driving in europe after brexit what idp
 
EU Country
International Driving Permit Required
Other requirements
Austria
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 6 months. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay.
Belgium
1968 IDP
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 185 days.
Bulgaria
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 6 months. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay, another form of photographic ID also required such as passport.
Cyprus
1949 IDP
Not required unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Czech Republic
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 6 months. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay, another form of photographic ID also required such as passport.
Denmark
1968 IDP
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and your stay is over 90 days.
Estonia
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: IDP not required. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP when the UK leaves the EU.
France
1968 IDP
Required if UK leaves EU without a deal.
Germany
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 6 months. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay, another form of photographic ID also required such as passport.
Greece
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: IDP not required. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP when the UK leaves the EU.
Hungary
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: IDP not required. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP when the UK leaves the EU.
Iceland
1949 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 1 month. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay, another form of photographic ID also required such as passport.
Italy
1968 IDP
Not required unless the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Paper license holders to present photographic ID also required such as passport.
Latvia
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: IDP not required. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP when the UK leaves the EU.
Liechtenstein
1926 IDP
Required if UK leaves EU without a deal.
Lithuania
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 185 days. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay.
Luxembourg
1968 IDP
Required if UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay is over 185 days.
Malta
1949 IDP
Photo card licence holders: IDP not required. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP when the UK leaves the EU.
Netherlands
None
No required whether UK leaves EU with or without a deal.
Norway
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 90 days. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay.
Poland
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 185 days. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay.
Portugal
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay over 185 days. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay, another form of photographic ID also required such as passport.
Romania
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves EU without a deal. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, regardless of length of stay.
Slovenia
1968 IDP
Required if UK leaves EU without a deal and your stay is over 90 days.
Spain (including Balearic and Canary Isles)
1949 IDP
Photo card licence holders: not required until 31 July 2020. From 1 August 2020 onwards, IDP required if stay longer than 6 months. Paper style licence holders: need to present another form of photographic ID also required such as passport.
Sweden
1968 IDP
Photo card licence holders: not required. Paper style licence holders: need an IDP when UK leaves the EU.
Switzerland
None
Not required whether UK leaves EU with or without a deal.

What international driving permit do I need?

Depending on the country you are visiting will determine what permit you require. 3 permits are available;
  • A 1949 Convention IDP
  • A 1968 Convention IDP
  • A 1926 Convenion IDP

How long does an international driving permit last?

International driving permits are valid for 1 to 3 years from the date of issue depending on the type.
 
Permit
Valid for
1949 IDP 
12 months from the date of issue
1968 IDP
3 years from the date of issue, or until your UK license expires (if sooner)
1926 IDP
12 months from the date of issue

Until 31st October 2019 (or should an extension to the Brexit deadline be agreed), UK license holders can continue to drive in the EU and EEC under their UK driving license. Should the UK and EU agree a deal on how the UK leaves the EU, UK licenses will be recognized in all EU and EEC member states as valid driving licenses as present.

What if you’re already abroad on 31st October?

If you know you’ll be driving in Europe around the end of October 2019, we strongly recommend you apply for an IDP before you travel to ensure, should the UK leave the EU without a deal that you have the correct documentation to drive in that country. Only Switzerland and the Netherlands have committed to no requirement for an IDP for UK motorists regardless of whether the UK leaves with a deal or not.

What if I don’t have an international driving permit?

If you’re renting a car the rental agent will likely require sight of your IDP as part of your documents. If you have booked a rental car before 31st October 2019 for travel after, your terms and condition may not state the IDP required, however it is your responsibility to check for your chosen travel dates. The rental agent may not release the car if you do not have the required permit.

If you are caught driving without an international driving permit or are involved in an accident and unable to present the necessary documents you could be fined for failing to provide the necessary documents to drive legally in that country. This is likely to vary depending on what country you drive in and there is likely to be a transition period of ‘grace’ however we highly recommend you apply for and carry the required IDP for the current country when driving in Europe post Brexit.

What IDP is needed in which country?

See here for a full list of countries that require an IDP and which type

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Posted: October 04, 2019 by Phil Partridge | with 0 comments
Phil Partridge
About the Author

This article is written by: Phil Partridge - Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Rhinocarhire.com Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Phil Partridge
Posted: October 04, 2019 by Phil Partridge | with 0 comments
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Rhinocarhire.com Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

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