International Driving Permits & Insurance Guide - Be ready for Summer Holidays 2022

April 28, 2022

FINALLY, we can all go on a decent summer holiday to a vast selection of international destinations, without the hassle of multiple Covid tests or the worry of being stranded or quarantined.

If you’re among 50% of Brits travelling abroad this summer and plan to drive your car on holiday, here’s everything you need to know about driving permits, driving licences and motor insurance to get you summer holiday ready for 2022.

In this guide:

What is an International Driving Permit?

What documents do I need for driving abroad from UK?

Do I need a Green Card to drive in Europe?

Will my UK car insurance cover me abroad after Brexit?

Do I need an International Driving Permit?

How long does it take to get an International Driving Permit?

How to get an international driving license?

Do I need a GB sticker to drive in Europe?

Other things to consider: Travel and Health Insurance

What is an International Driving Permit?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is an official Driving Licence document that permits you to drive abroad in certain countries, mostly outside of the EU.

An IDP (also known as an International Driving Licence) is effectively an international version of your UK Driving Licence that is translated into multiple languages.

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What documents do I need for driving abroad from UK?

To avoid being fined or worse still, your car being seized, if you travel to a country (or countries) where an IDP is necessary, you will need to ensure that you have with you, in your car, at all times:

  • an IDP
  • your UK photocard Driving Licence

And, if you’re going to be driving in your own car rather than a rental vehicle, you will also need:

  • a valid Certificate of Motor Insurance
  • your car’s V5C log book

Do I need a Green Card to drive in Europe?

No, you no longer need an International Motor Insurance Card (also known as a Euro Driving Licence or Green Card) for driving in EU countries, or for driving in Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For helpful information about what you should do if you’re involved in an accident abroad, scroll down towards the bottom of the following article.

Will my UK car insurance cover me abroad after Brexit?

Yes, a UK motor insurance policy with a minimum of third party cover means you can drive in Europe, post-Brexit.

All UK car insurance providers are legally obliged to include a minimum of 30 days of cover per year, for driving your UK insured car in Europe.

However, a UK comprehensive insurance policy might not give comprehensive cover abroad and may only provide third party cover overseas.

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Note: Check with your car insurer what your motor insurance covers you for when driving abroad outside of Europe, and specifically check on the country/ies you will be driving in or through. For countries outside of Europe, you may need to take out additional cover for ‘foreign use’ with insurers who do not include worldwide cover under a fully comprehensive car insurance policy.

Do I need an International Driving Permit?

  • Whether or not you need an International Driving Permit depends on the country/ies you are travelling to or through.
  • The type of permit you need will depend on how long you plan to stay in a different country/ies.
  • You will not require an IDP if you have a UK photocard Driving Licence for driving in EU countries (including Ireland), or Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. However, you no longer need an International Motor Insurance Card (Green Card) for driving in any of these countries.
  • You will need an IDP if you intend to drive in most countries outside of Europe. A full list of all International Driving Permit countries can be found on the gov.uk’s website.
  • If you have an old-fashioned paper Driving Licence or a Licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, then you might need an IDP to drive in certain EU countries and Norway.
  • If you’re going to be driving a rental vehicle abroad, ask the rental company whether you need an IDP.
  • If you’re not sure whether or not you need an IDP, you can use the Post Office’s online checking tool.
  • Again, you should check the table of IDP countries on the gov.uk’s website to find out the type of IDP you need as there are three different IDP types numbered: 1926, 1949 or 1968.

Note: A 1926 or 1949 permit lasts for 12 months whereas a 1968 permit lasts for 3 years or until expiration of your UK Driving Licence, whichever happens first.

Is your car insurance renewal due before your European trip?

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How long does it take to get an International Driving Permit?

You can get your IDP instantly over the counter at participating Post Office branches, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria and have all the necessary proof of ID (as set out below).

How to get an international driving license?

You can only get an IDP in person from a participating Post Office; you cannot apply for an IDP online.

To get an IDP you must:

  • be aged 18 years or more*
  • live in the UK (including Northern Ireland)
  • possess a full and valid photocard UK driving licence and show this to the Post Office counter staff when you apply. If you have an old paper licence, you will additionally need to bring a valid Passport as proof of ID
  • provide a Passport standard photograph (preferably from a booth or photographer shop rather than ‘selfie’, although you can use a photograph from your own device if it meets the strict Passport photo standards. There are apps you can use to help with this.)
  • pay a fee of £5.50

* To hire a car, some countries will insist on you being at least 21 years old.

Do I need a GB sticker to drive in Europe?

No, you will need a UK sticker as the traditional European Union GB stickers are no longer valid when driving in Europe, post-Brexit.

Instead, you will either need a number plate that includes a UK ID with a Union Jack flag (see image below) or if you do not have a UK identifier on your numberplate, you will need to purchase and display a UK sticker on the rear of your vehicle.

Union jack registration plate

Additionally, to drive in Spain, Cyprus or Malta - and this is regardless of whether or not you have a UK identifier number plate as shown above - all UK cars will also need to clearly display a black and white, oval-shaped plain UK sticker, as per the image below.

UK sticker on rear of black car

Image source: which.co.uk

Other things to consider: Travel and Health Insurance

In addition to getting your driving documentation in order, remember you should also remember to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) [a GHIC has replaced most EHIC cards] and arrange travel insurance - just in case.

Bobatoo can provide you with a vast array of competitive travel insurance quotes starting from as little as £7.85.

Click the following links to find out more about Bobatoo’s amazing deals on travel insurance cover for European countries or Worldwide travel insurance.

Happy holidays!

Is your car insurance renewal due before your European trip?

Get a free quote and save money on car insurance with Bobatoo

Get Quotes