Coronavirus help and support for our insurance customers

UK Drivers Will No Longer Require Insurance ‘Green Cards’ for Driving in Europe

Until 31 December 2020, the UK is still part of the European ‘free circulation zone’ meaning UK motorists can legally drive their vehicles in any European Economic Area (EEA) country (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) as well as Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. This means they do not have to carry any evidence of insurance other than their standard EU ‘First Directive on Motor Insurance’-compliant motor insurance certificate.

Will a Green Card be required after Brexit?

Following Brexit, UK drivers were required to carry a “Green Card” (an International Motor Insurance Certificate) when driving in Europe. This document, Issued by the motor insurance providers,  certifies that the holder has sufficient motor insurance cover to allow them to legally drive in the country that they are visiting.

Changes to European driving rules UK motorists must be aware of

Motorists in Northern Ireland were particularly inconvenienced when the protocol was introduced, as it meant they were required to apply for, carry and present the Green Card when crossing the border into the adjoining Republic of Ireland.

On 30 June 2021, the European Commission announced that, with effect from 2ndAugust 2021, this would no longer be the case. The announcement stated that the UK would be able to participate in the Green Card Free Circulation Area (GCFCA), which consists of all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, as well as Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland.

UK drivers will still be required to obtain a Green Card, for the period to 2 August 2021. Failure to present this documentation upon request, can result in fines, prosecution or having your car impounded.

Holidaymakers and business travellers alike can breathe a sigh of relief, as they can scratch one more thing off their pre-travel to do list.

Another change motorists will see in the coming months, is  the replacement of the GB stickers/magnets. From 28 September 2021, the United Nations (UN) has  advised that the GB stickers, that have been in use for 111 years, will no longer be valid for driving abroad. Instead motorists will need to display a UK sticker/magnet to drive their vehicle on foreign roads.

For those with the GB emblem printed on your number plate, you can either order one of the new UK plates or simply use a UK sticker/magnet alongside the old GB printed number plate.

The new UK sign will be inclusive of Northern Ireland, which is not included in the term ‘Great Britain’.

This change is the second alteration number plates have had this year. In January, new number plates went into circulation, with the Union Jack Flag and GB sign which were created to allow UK drivers to drive on foreign roads without the GB stickers. However, these too will no longer be valid.

The new UK stickers will be available online, in the run up to 28 September 2021 for £1.50 each. You will also be able to purchase them in post offices and garages.

Do I need an International Driving Permit after Brexit?

The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that validates your licence to be able to drive abroad. Please check local driving restrictions before you travel to see if you need this.

Commercial vehicle insurance from Towergate

We can offer tailored commercial vehicle insurance for your taxi, coach, truck, minibus and more. Our cover will help keep your business on the road.

Call for a quote on 0344 346 1418 or request a quote online.

Motor insurance from Towergate

We can offer a range of motor insurance policies to suit your needs. Read more on our motor insurance webpage.

 All cover is subject to normal underwriting terms and conditions.

About the author

Chris North FCII, commercial vehicles insurance articles author Chris North FCII is a respected industry leader with over 40 years' experience, who has worked in the insurance industry in a variety of roles, accumulating a wealth of knowledge. He is currently Technical Manager for Towergate's motor division, providing expertise on all matters relating to motor fleet insurance, in particular haulage and self-drive hire fleets.


The information contained in this bulletin is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general risk management and insurance information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.

If you wish to discuss your specific requirements, please do not hesitate to contact your usual Towergate advisor:

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

Read more industry articles

Jaguar E Type V12 Roadster Series Iii 1971 75 1 Resize

Classic Car Insurance Buyer's Guide

Read about the most common classic car insurance features and exclusions in our product guide, and find out if you need to take out a policy.

View article
Jump leads

Guide to Restarting a Car Battery

If your car is refusing to start you may have a flat battery. Read our guide to find out the causes of a flat battery and how to solve the problem.

View article
How To Be A Good Driver

A Guide to being a Good Driver

Any driver, young or old, will tell you that driving well comes with practice and no matter how long you've been driving for, there is always something new to learn.

View article
winter social

Managing Winter Driving Risk for Business Vehicles

From icy roads to more hours of darkness, the risks associated with driving increase over the winter months. So if you or your employees need to drive for work, it’s important...

View article
Minibus Small

What Licence Do I Need to Drive a Minibus?

Holding the correct licence to drive a minibus is essential, and varies according to how you are using the vehicle. Read our guide to see if you need an additional licence...

View article
Truck Insurance Guide

Truck Insurance Guide

Read about the most common truck insurance features and exclusions in our product guide, and find out if you need to take out a policy.

View article
Vehicle Safety Systems

Vehicle Safety Features to Reduce Your Insurance Costs

With roads growing busier and distractions growing greater, keeping drivers safe and insurance claims down is increasingly vital for transport operators. Read how new vehicle...

View article
Occupational Road Safety

Reduce the Risk: Occupational Road Safety for Your Vehicles

Placing occupational road safety at the heart of the business is crucial for vehicle firms. Learn how to create the right occupational road safety culture to ensure your fleet...

View article
Haulage Truck

‘Full Responsibility’ Transit Insurance

This article explains the difference between "all risks" goods in transit cover and "Full responsibility" transit insurance. An important read for any haulier but especially...

View article