Driving abroad on holiday
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.
If your driving licence has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, you’ll need to get a new one before you can drive abroad.
If you apply online, you should receive your new driving licence within 5 days. If you apply by post, it will take longer.
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 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 UK sticker
If you’re hiring a car, it’s your responsibility to check you have the equipment you need.
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.
You do not need to carry a green card when you drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland. You still need valid vehicle insurance.
You may need to carry a green card to drive in other countries, including:
Towing your trailer or caravan abroad
Before towing your trailer abroad, check if you need to:
- get category BE added to your driving licence
- register your trailer
- carry a green card or additional insurance
Get category BE added to your driving licence
If you want to tow a trailer over 750kg abroad, update your licence to show that you can drive category BE. You do not need to do this if your licence already shows you can drive category BE.
You need to complete the D1 application form and send it to DVLA with:
- a letter to say you are travelling abroad and you need BE added to your licence
- your driving licence
It’s free to do this.
Check if you need to register your trailer
Check if you need to register your trailer before you can take it abroad.
Check if you need a green card or additional insurance
If you’re driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, you do not need to carry a green card for:
- your vehicle
- the trailer or caravan you’re towing
If you’re driving in other countries you may need additional insurance and a green card for each trailer or caravan you tow. Check what you need to bring with your insurer 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.