With there currently being no agreement between the UK and the EU following the Brexit transition period, a Green Card will be required for vehicles being driven from the UK (including Northern Ireland) to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, with effect from 1 January 2021 – unless the European Commission declares otherwise in the meantime.  

Some European countries may also require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for any towed vehicle, be that a trailer or, say, a caravan, irrespective of registration requirements. Those travelling with a trailer or caravan are advised to obtain two Green Cards, one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan.  

What is a Green Card? 

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) defines the Green Card as “an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.” Put simply, it means a driver can legally use their vehicle in the EU. 

There may be scenarios in which you may require multiple Green Cards. For example, you will need multiple green cards if:  

  • You have fleet insurance with multiple vehicles regularly running into Europe – you will need a green card for each individual vehicle.  
  • Your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – you will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer/caravan.  
  • You have two policies covering the duration of your trip – for example, if your policy renews during the journey.  

How do I get a Green Card?  

If you’re planning to drive to an EEA country after 31st December, the simplest thing to do would be to please get in touch with us, so we can obtain a Green Card for you. The guidelines are to ideally do this a month before your journey.  

Remember, if you have multiple vehicles driving to an EEA country, then you will need a Green Card to cover each vehicle, as one card only covers the registration of a single vehicle. 

Although requirements could well change between now and the end of the year, many insurers are currently preparing in readiness for the issue of Green Cards to fleet clients. Many insurers are adopting different approaches to the issue of Green Cards and some have processes that may allow you to access these documents yourself.  

Common methods insurers are adopting include:  

  • Access via insurers online portal, where the policyholder is able to produce their own Green Cards in PDF/printable format.  
  • Completion of Green Card request form or template (hard copy or online version) with the Green Card being emailed to the policyholder for printing.  
  • Email requests to be submitted through an Insurer’s dedicated mailbox and Green Card either emailed or posted to Policyholder by insurer.  

If you have the information and feel confident to go to your insurer directly then please feel free to do so at your convenience. But please do not hesitate to contact us if you are unsure or if you’d prefer us to arrange this for you – it’s what we are here for and are more than happy to help. 

Can I show a digital copy? 

You must carry a physical copy of your Green Card with you when driving in the EU post-Brexit, a digital version on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop will not be acceptable. 

The hard copy of the Green Card will need to be taken with them by the driver when travelling abroad with their UK registered vehicle or trailer. Importantly, the document no longer needs to be printed on green paper or card. A Green Card printed on white paper will be valid. 

What do I need to do if I’m travelling to the Republic of Ireland? 

The ABI has highlighted that 30,000 drivers who travel across the Republic of Ireland border may be caught out come 1st January 2021 if they don’t have a Green Card.  

The ABI said: “However, when the transition period ends then UK motorists will be required to carry Green Cards for driving in the Republic and other EU states, unless the European Commission agrees that the UK can remain in the Green Card scheme.” 

For motorists who drive across the border without a card, the ABI has warned: “This means that you will be failing to comply with the legal requirement in the Republic (or other EU country) to carry a Green Card, and will risk having your vehicle seized, and facing prosecution.”   

Other considerations:  

  • Allowing sufficient time to request a Green Card ahead of your trip – a minimum of 14 days prior to the trip is recommended by some Insurers.  
  • If you are requiring a bulk upload of Green Cards, you should again contact us at the earliest possible opportunity in order to receive the Green Cards in ample time ahead of the trip, particularly if the documents are to arrive via post;  
  • Check whether you/your driver requires an international driving permit (IDP) as this may also be a requirement of your trip. A full list of countries can be found via this Gov.uk link HERE 
  • GB stickers and number plates  
  • You should display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle and trailer, even if you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.  
  • You will need a GB sticker even if you have a number plate with the Euro symbol and Great Britain national identifier.  
  • You are not required to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.  
  • Renewing your passport before it expires  
  • You need at least 6 months left on your passport to travel to certain countries. Check the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting to see how much time left you need on it.  
  • Travelling to the EU, EEA or Switzerland from 1 January 2021.  
  • From 1 January 2021, the amount of time you need on your passport to travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change. On the day of travel, you’ll need your passport to both have at least 6 months left on it and be issued less than nine years and six months ago.  

If you have any questions regarding the issue of green cards then please contact us as soon as possible to avoid any delays.  

Did you know? 

It is no longer a legal requirement for you to carry a disposable breathalyser kit in your vehicle when travelling to France? The French Government has decided to scrap the law.