What Will The Impact of Brexit be for Driving in Europe?

 

We are all probably getting bored of the constant talk that is Brexit, but as we head towards March 29tthere is still no viable deal in site. This brings the UK closer to a so called ‘no deal’ Brexit but what does this mean for your driving licence? 

The current standard is that your driving licence is applicable in any EU country and you can drive without restriction for a period of time. This allows relative ease of movement between countries with no other documents required.  

A no deal scenario would revert to the default standard for non EU countries. It is likely that you would need to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) in order to drive within the EU. An IDP can be purchased from multiple locations such as the post office. 

There are two types of IDP and the one you require will depend on the country you are visiting. The two types of IDP are:  

  • 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic  
  • 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic 

The 1949 convention IDP lasts for a total of 12 months from issue but is only recognised in the following countries:  

  • Cyprus  
  • Ireland 
  • Malta 
  • Spain  

For any other EU country, the 1968 convention IDP would be required. These IDPs last for three years instead of 12 months and is valid in all EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland. Both types of IDP cost £5.50 and available from the post office. Although only 250 post offices sell the IDP currently, by the end of February this will expand to 3500. You will be able to call in at any post office and get an IDP over the counter on a ‘turn up and go’ basis.  

And IDP is not new and currently applies to most non EU countries. The US for example requires an IDP to drive and hire a car in any US state.  

Your Driving Licence When Moving to Another EU Country  

Under existing terms, if you are moving to become a resident in another EU country, you can simply swap your driving licence for one from the country you are in. This will cease to apply unless there is an agreement in place beforehand. It is likely that agreements will be in place with many EU countries to allow this process before exit day but it is unlikely that this will apply to all EU states and so care will be needed to check which states there is an agreement with. There are many non EU countries that already have an agreement in place such as:  

  • Australia  
  • Canada  
  • New Zealand  

It is said that is in the interest of both countries to allow this to continue to happen otherwise a driving test may have to be conducted in the respective country. This could potentially add a lot of strain onto what is already a pressured driving test system. This would mean a greater demand for test slots and therefore cancellations 

 

Brexit is a controversial topic but it is now up to retrospective governments to decide on what the course of action should be when it comes to both EU nationals and their driving licences in the UK and British nationals when driving abroad. There is potential for it to become much more difficult but there is just as much chance that respective agreements will be in place by the time the UK is due to leave the European Union. 

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