Driving abroad on holiday

The rules for driving, passports, EHIC cards, pet travel and more may change from 1 January 2021. Act now so you can travel as planned.

You need to take your Great Britain or Northern Ireland driving licence with you to drive abroad. Check yours is still valid and renew your driving licence online if it’s expired or about to expire. You’ll need to apply to renew your licence at least a week before you travel.

If you’re taking your own vehicle, you also need to take your log book (V5C) and your insurance certificate.

If you’re taking a vehicle abroad that you’ve hired or leased in the UK, you’ll need a VE103 certificate.

Check if you need an international driving permit (IDP)

You might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some non-EU countries. Check if you need an IDP.

You can get IDPs over the counter at the Post Office. You might need one for each country you’re visiting.

Do not apply for an IDP if you’re moving abroad. You’ll need to either exchange your UK licence or apply for a new one in the country you’re moving to.

Check the overseas driving rules

Make sure you follow overseas driving rules, including local speed limits and drink driving laws. You may be breaking the law and get a fine if you do not.

Depending on the country you’re visiting you may need:

  • extra equipment - for example, you need a reflective jacket and a warning triangle in many countries
  • emission stickers (permits) in some European cities - you may need to buy these weeks before you go abroad
  • headlight converter stickers
  • a GB sticker

If you’re hiring a car, it’s your responsibility to check you have the equipment you need.

Check the rules in European countries on the AA website.

Check the travel advice for countries outside Europe.

Check your insurance if you’re taking your own vehicle

Your UK vehicle insurance gives you a minimum of third party cover to drive your vehicle in EU countries. Check with your insurer if your policy covers extra things like theft or damage.

In non-EU countries, you may need additional insurance and a ‘green card’ to show you’re covered. Check the travel advice for countries outside the EU.

Towing your trailer or caravan abroad

Check if you need to register your trailer before you can take it abroad.

In non-EU countries, you may need additional insurance and a ‘green card’ for each trailer or caravan you tow. Check with your insurance provider before you travel.

Hiring a car abroad

Your hire company may ask to see your driving licence information when you pick up the car. You can share this by getting a licence ‘check code’. You can do this up to 21 days before your trip.

If you’re hiring a car, insurance is included. Check what you’re covered for with the hire company.

  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
  2. Step 2 Apply for an international driving permit (IDP)

  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.

Transition period

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