The new documents you’ll need to drive in Europe from January or face having your car seized

Motorists planning to drive to Europe from the start of next year are being warned they will need to apply for extra documentation to avoid falling foul of the law unless an agreement is reached between the UK and EU.

From January 1, without a deal, UK drivers will need an insurance Green Card to drive legally in the EU and failure to produce one could see you denied entry at a border, fined or even have your car seized for driving without proper insurance.

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You could also be required to carry at least one of two different international driving permits, depending on which countries you intend to visit and for how long.

Under current arrangements drivers from the UK don’t need any additional paperwork when driving in the EU but without a formal agreement between the UK and EU, this will no longer be the case. You will be required to carry a suitable IDP and a Green Card from your insurer.

Anyone towing a caravan will require separate Green Cards for car and caravan (Photo: Shutterstock)

A Green Card confirms that you have the minimum level of cover for third party property damage and personal injury and remains valid for up to 90 days. You must have a hard copy of the document with you when you travel, an electronic version is not acceptable. If you are towing a caravan or trailer you will need a separate Green Card for that.

Clare Egan, head of motor product at Admiral, advised: “As the UK prepares for the end of the transition period, and there is still a real possibility that agreement won’t be in place by January 1, it’s important for motorists to be prepared if they’re planning to take their car to Europe.

“From January 1, motorists planning to drive in Europe will need to make sure they take their Green Card, their driving licence, their car’s logbook and a copy of their car insurance certificate with them when they drive abroad. We recommend allowing a minimum of seven days to apply for the Green Card before you travel.

“If you’re taking your car to Europe before the end of the year, but will still be there after January 1, you’ll need to get your Green Card before you head off. If you don't have one and no deal is reached at the end of the year, you may be breaking the law and you might face a fine or your vehicle could be seized.”

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If there is no arrangement between the UK and EU before the end of the year, UK drivers could also have to carry an International Driving Permit as well as their British or Northern Irish driving licence.

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These can be obtained from the Post Office and are valid for between one and three years, depending on which permit you need. If you are travelling to Cyprus, Ireland, Malta or Spain you may require a 1949 IDP. For all other EU states you may need a 1968 IDP, although some are expected to waive the requirement for an IDP and some only demand one for stays longer than a month.

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