Why fears over post-Brexit European driving are exaggerated

posted in: General News, Top Tips

“Your UK driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Europe after Brexit,” scream the headlines. But what’s the reality for driving overseas in the event of no deal?

UK Driving Licence

Most of the time, our rental vans and cars stay safely on this side of the Channel, but every once in a while you will find our vehicles on European roads.

Planning on hiring a car or van and driving onto the European mainland? You’ll need to tell us about it before you go.

But what will happen post-Brexit if the UK can’t reach agreement with the neighbours? Recently, you may have seen some fairly dramatic headlines suggesting your licence won’t be valid.

That’s not quite true. It’s not that your licence won’t still be a valid licence, but it won’t be enough on its own to entitle you to drive in some or all European countries. So if you’re planning on hiring a car for a grand tour of France, or renting a van for a delivery job to Denmark, what can you do about it?


The International Driving Permit (IDP) is an additional document that, when presented with a driving licence, enables UK drivers to drive virtually anywhere. It isn’t valid on its own (which is why the idea that the UK driving licence will be invalid is nonsense).

You can get the IDP from many (although not all) Post Offices. The process takes around 5 minutes and you’ll need to complete a short form, supply a passport photo and pay the cost which, at time of writing, was £5.50. The IDP is valid for 12 months.

Already part of the landscape

If you believed the headlines, you’d imagine the world was about to end. In reality, however, the IDP is recommended (and often absolutely required) in many European countries already. Step outside the 28 member states of the EU and you’ll need an IDP to drive into Armenia, Bosnia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Iceland, Georgia and Russia.

If you’ve driven in Australia, the US, India or Pakistan recently, you’ll have needed an IDP there too.

   > You can find more on the countries for which you’ll need an IDP here.

Brexit will make hiring a car or van and driving it overseas more complex, but it won’t make it much more complex, and at £5.50 the IDP, whilst inconvenient, isn’t the end of the world.

Hiring a vehicle for overseas travel? Talk to us about your plans now.

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