Driving in Europe from 1 January 2021 : Green Cards

Motor Insurance


Driving in Europe from 1 January 2021 : Green Cards


Do I need a green card?


With there currently being no agreement between the UK and the EU following the Brexit transition period, a Green Card will be required for vehicles being driven from the UK (including Northern Ireland) to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, with effect from 1 January 2021 (unless the European Commission declares otherwise in the meantime).


Some European countries may also require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for any towed vehicle, be that a trailer, or say, a caravan, irrespective of registration requirements. Those travelling with a trailer or caravan are advised to obtain two Green Cards, one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan.


You will need multiple green cards if:


  • You have fleet insurance with vehicles regularly running into Europe – you will need a green card for each individual vehicle;
  • Your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – you will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer/caravan;
  • You have two policies covering the duration of your trip – for example, if your policy renews during the journey.


Although requirements could well change between now and the end of the year, many insurers are currently preparing in readiness for the issue of green cards to fleet clients.


Consideration should be given to both the different working practices of insurers presently and that many insurers are adopting different approaches to the issue of Green Cards.


Other considerations:


  • Allowing sufficient time to request a Green Card ahead of your trip – a minimum of 14 days prior to the trip is recommended by some Insurers;
  • If you are requiring a bulk upload of Green Cards, you should again contact your providers at the earliest possible opportunity, in order to receive the Green Cards in ample time ahead of the trip, particularly if the documents are to arrive via post;
  • Check whether you/your driver requires an international driving permit (IDP) (Full list of countries can be found at UK);
  • GB stickers and number plates
    • You should display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle and trailer, even if you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.
    • You will need a GB sticker even if you have a number plate with the Euro symbol and Great Britain national identifier.
    • You are not required to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
  • Renewing your passport before it expires
    • You need at least 6 months left on your passport to travel to certain countries.

Check the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting to see how much time left you need on it.

    • Travelling to the EU, EEA or Switzerland from 1 January 2021.
    • From 1 January 2021, the amount of time you need on your passport to travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein will change. On the day of travel, you’ll need your passport to both have at least 6 months left on it, and be issued less than nine years and six months ago.


If you are aware of any need to use your vehicles in Europe (including Ireland) during January 2021, or if you have any questions regarding the issue of green cards, then please contact us as soon as possible to avoid any delays.