Driving in the EU after Brexit: UK motorists may need International Driving Permit – here’s how they work

Driving in the EU after Brexit: UK motorists may need International Driving Permit – here’s how they work
Driving in the EU after Brexit: UK motorists may need International Driving Permit – here’s how they work

A total of 2,500 Post Office branches are now selling International Driving Permits (IDPs), which UK motorists may require in the event of a no-deal Brexit if they wish to drive in the EU.

Here’s what you need to know about IDPs if you plan to drive abroad after 29 March. 

What is an IDP and do I need one?

If the UK leaves the bloc with no deal then mutual recognition of driving licences between the UK and EU may end, and UK motorists wishing to drive in Europe from 29 March may require an IDP.

Previously IDPs were available only at 89 Post Offices, as well as though the AA and the RAC.

The permits, which cost £5.50 each, are now available at around one quarter of the UK’s Post Offices but are no longer sold via any other organisation.

The requirement for UK motorists to have an IDP varies across the world and different versions of the document cover specific countries.

What kind of IDP should I get?

1949 Convention IDP: This is for Britons wishing to drive in Spain, Malta, Cyprus or Iceland

1968 Convention IDP: People visiting any other EU country, or Norway or Switzerland will
require a this type of permit

1926 Convention: This is for those travelling to Liechtenstein

Foreign drivers in the Republic of Ireland are not required to carry an IDP so UK motorists will not need one to use the roads there after 29 March.

In some cases travellers may need more than one IDP. For example, somebody driving through France and then on to Spain will need both a 1949 and a 1968 IDP.

What happens if I don’t get one?

UK drivers could be sent back home or fined after crossing the Channel if they do not have the correct documentation following a no-deal Brexit, the AA has warned.

How many people are buying them before Brexit?

There was a 19 per cent increase in applications for IDPs through the AA between September and December 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, according to the company, which criticised the decision to sell them only at the Post Office.

“The Government has taken a backwards step in discontinuing postal and online applications for IDPs, which the AA has conducted successfully for the last few decades,” the organisation’s president Edmund King said.

“The sharp uptake in applications shows that drivers are concerned about driving on the continent post-Brexit.”

What the Government says

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “The Government’s priority remains to secure an agreement with the EU that means UK driving licences continue to be recognised.

“But the wide availability of IDPs now through Post Offices should give reassurance to UK motorists that they can continue to drive in the EU, whatever the outcome of Brexit.”

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