Driving abroad

You need your Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence to drive abroad.

You can use:

  • a photocard licence
  • a valid paper-only licence issued before 31 March 2000, if you still have one

You might also need an International Driving Permit in some non-EU countries.

If you’re hiring a car, the hire company may ask for a check code so they can view your driving record.

Driving in the Republic of Ireland

You can drive in the Republic of Ireland if you have either:

  • a UK driving licence
  • a foreign driving licence, but you usually live in the UK

If you’re banned (disqualified) from driving while in the Republic of Ireland, you might also be banned from driving in the UK.

Driving in Europe

You can use your Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland driving licence in all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and Switzerland.

If you’re caught breaking the law, for example by a speed camera, the authorities can get the vehicle’s registered keeper’s details from DVLA.

There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living or travelling in the EU while the UK remains in the EU.

For rules in other European countries check with a motoring organisation like the AA or the RAC.

Driving outside the EU/EEA

You may need an International Driving Permit to drive outside the EU/EEA.

Check first with the AA.

Getting an International Driving Permit

You can get an International Driving Permit directly from the AA, the RAC or the Post Office.

International Driving Permits cost £5.50 and you must:

  • be a GB or Northern Ireland resident
  • have passed your driving test
  • be 18 or over

Advice on driving in specific countries

The AA and the RAC have advice on driving in specific countries, including information on compulsory equipment.

Moving abroad

If you move abroad, check with the driving licence authorities there to find out how to get a local driving licence.

In some countries you can exchange your UK licence without taking another driving test.

Moving to another EU country

If you move to another EU country, exchange your UK driving licence for one issued by that country.

You’ll be able to swap it back if you move back to the UK.

  1. Step 1 Check where you can use your licence

    1. You are currently viewing: Check the rules for using your driving licence abroad

    You may need an international driving permit (IDP) if you’re going to drive outside the EU.

    1. Check if you need an IDP on the AA website
  2. Step 2 Apply for an international driving permit (IDP)

    If you need an IDP you can:

    You may be able to pay more to get your IDP faster.

  3. Step 3 Get insurance

    1. Check if your vehicle insurance covers you for the countries you're driving through

    Check this with your car hire company if you’re hiring a vehicle.

  4. Step 4 Prepare the documents you need to take with you

    1. Check what documents you need to take a vehicle out of the UK

    If you're hiring a car you may need to share your driving licence information with the hire company.

    1. Get a 'check code' to share your driving licence information

    If you got your licence in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to show the rental company your paper counterpart instead.

  5. Step 5 Check the rules for the country you're travelling to

    The rules for driving may be different in the country you're going to. For example, drink-driving rules might be different or you might need to carry extra equipment in your car.

    1. Check if you need to display a country sticker on your vehicle
    2. Check the rules for the European country you're travelling to on the AA website
    3. Check the travel advice for countries outside Europe

    When you have your documents, insurance and any extra equipment you need you can drive abroad.