Driving in the EU

Overview of driving licence and vehicle document requirements for the UK leaving the EU.

Following the UK's scheduled departure from the European Union on 31st January, the country will enter a ‘transition period’ during which current rules and arrangements will continue to apply for the remainder of 2020.  However, any future requirements beyond 2020 will be dependent on the nature of any UK-EU trade deal.

The transition period is expected to end on 31st December 2020, it will be important to ensure the correct documentation is carried by UK residents driving in EU and EEA countries. For example, an International Drivers Permit (IDP) in addition to your UK driving licence may be required to drive in some EU and EEA countries. To check the country you or your customer is visiting the GOV.UK website provides a list or see further information below. 

Where a  vehicle is hired or leased a Vehicle on Hire certificate (VE103), which is required today, will be even more important. Further information on the Vehicle on Hire certificate is available here.

What is an IDP?

An IDP is a document which when carried with a UK driving licence gives UK drivers authority to drive a motor vehicle outside of the UK, including EU countries.

UK drivers may also require an IDP to hire a vehicle abroad.

If you hold a UK driving licence you will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland. 

There are two types of IDP:

1. One type is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic

2. The second type is governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic

The version of the IDP required will depend on the EU country being visited and which convention the country is party to. You can check which IDP you may need here

Obtaining an IDP

An IDP can be obtained over the counter at your local Post Office

International driving permits will cost £5.50 and the driver must be a GB or Northern Ireland resident, have passed their driving test and be 18 or over. 

Vehicle registration documents

You should carry your vehicle registration documents with you when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be:


  • a VE103b to show you're allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad

More about taking a vehicle out of the UK for less than 12 months

Number plates and national identifiers

Following the UK's exit from the EU, it is recommended that you display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, irrespective of whether you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.

More about displaying national identifers

Moving to or living in the EU

From the 31 December 2020  you may need to exchange your UK driving licence for an EU driving licence issued from the EU country you will be living in. You may be required to take a new driving test in that country, subject to the laws of that country. To check the country you are moving to the GOV.UK website can provide advice.


Moving to, visiting or living in the UK

Visitors with EU and EEA driving licences will not need an IDP to drive in the UK.

EU and EEA licence holders visiting or living in the UK can continue to drive on valid EU and EEA licences. 


Further information

The UK Government has published a step by step guide to help individuals and businesses to understand what is required and what steps need to be taken when taking vehicles abroad.

Consumer information on taking a vehicle abroad