Driving Licences for Car Hire in Europe

How Will Brexit Affect My Driving Licence for Car Hire in Europe?

Currently the focus of all news in the UK seems to be Brexit. With so much still unknown I thought we would take a quick look at what ABTA and the Government are telling us about travel after March 29th. 

ABTA has issued this statement:

UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome planes will still fly between the UK and the EU: if a deal is agreed then we will be in a transition period, meaning everything will stay the same until the end of December 2020 and flights will continue as normal. Even if we are in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.

The Government has already secured arrangements between the UK and the USA and Canada to enjoy the same access as they currently have.

ABTA says:

If you hold a full UK driving licence, you don’t currently need an additional licence to drive in the EU. This is likely to change in a no-deal scenario. UK travellers looking to drive in the EU on or after 31 October 2019 (or any date that we leave before that) may need to apply for the relevant International Driving Permit (IDP).

These cost £5.50 and are available directly from the Post Office. The Government has extended the network of Post Offices where you can apply for an International Driving Permit. Find your nearest branch here.

There are two types of IDP:

  • A 1949 Convention IDP (Republic of Ireland*, Spain, Malta, Cyprus), or
  • A 1968 Convention IDP (all other EU countries, Norway and Switzerland)

*If you hold a UK driving licence you should not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29 March 2019 as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries

The Post Office and IDP:

  • Only £5.50: no additional charges
  • Valid for 12 months – use your permit on as many trips as you like
  • Flexible start time – we can delay the start date of your permit up to three months from when you apply
  • How long does it take to complete the process – The process takes around 5 minutes to complete

For customers heading elsewhere in the world including the USA, we understand that nothing will change with regard to UK driving licences and that in other English speaking countries you will not be required to hold an IDP.

If you are travelling in April it would be wise to keep abreast of this issue and obtain an IDP sooner rather than later. This article will be updated as and when new information is available.