Green cards will no longer be required for EU driving

Many people will struggle to recall the days when driving in Europe required UK drivers to carry an internationally recognised ‘Green Card’ to prove they held a minimum of third party insurance. However, with Brexit, the need for one returned.


The good news is that on June 30th, the European Commission announced that this requirement is to be scrapped for UK drivers travelling to EU countries. Please note, the change has yet to come into force.

A Green Card is not just an EU document but an international one that demonstrates to law enforcement agencies that valid motor insurance is in place. Following Brexit at the beginning of 2021, all UK-registered vehicles have been required to carry a green card across the EU by law. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited travel to the EU for many people, it has been an issue in Ireland. Vehicles travelling to and from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have had to carry the card. To put his in context, there are an estimated 43 million cross border vehicle trips per annum between the two countries, with around 25,000 people commuting from one country to the other. The announcement will also benefit road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU and the many tourists looking forward to European travel in the future. 

The announcement impacts travel to the Republic of Ireland, all other EU countries and non-EU countries; Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Andorra.

Timetable to Change

The decision to scrap Green Cards has yet to come into effect. Until the EU has fully implemented the change, anyone taking their car to Europe will still need to get a Green Card from their insurer before heading off abroad to countries requiring one. Failure to do so could see a driver facing a fine, prosecution or having their car impounded.

The next step in the process will see the EU Commission’s announcement sent for publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Twenty days after publication it is expected to come into law.

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