Driving in the EU Post-Brexit: Green Cards Explained.

While the Coronavirus pandemic has dominated much of the headlines this year, the end of the year, and Brexit, is fast approaching. With just weeks to go until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December, UK motorists (including road hauliers) will need to carry an insurance Green Card when driving their vehicle from 1st January 2021 into the EU. This is unless the EU Commission decides that the UK remains part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone post-Brexit, but so far, this has not been agreed.

If you drive in Europe as part of your business, or just for a social trip, and are still planning to after 31st December, it is especially important that you familiarise yourself with the rules now. To aid this, we have put together the below short FAQ, ahead of the transition period ending.

What is a Green Card?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) defines the Green Card as “an international certificate of insurance proving visiting motorists have the minimum compulsory motor insurance cover required by the law of the country visited.” Put simply, it means a driver can legally use their vehicle in the EU.

How do I get a Green Card?

If you’re planning a trip to an European Economic Area (EEA) Country (plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland) after 31st December, please get in touch with us, so we can obtain a Green Card for you. The ABI recommends doing this a month before your journey.

If you have a multi-car / fleet policy, you will need a Green Card to cover each car, as one card only covers the registration of an individual vehicle.
It is also worth noting, if you plan to tow a trailer or caravan, you will need an additional, separate Green Card for the trailer or caravan.

Do I need to print my Green Card on green paper?

Despite the name, it is no longer a requirement for them to be printed on green paper or card. A Green Card printed on white paper will be perfectly valid.

Can I show a digital copy?

No, you must carry a physical copy of your Green Card with you when driving in the EU post-Brexit, a digital version on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop will not be acceptable.

What do I need to do if I’m travelling to the Republic of Ireland?

The ABI has highlighted that 30,000 drivers who travel across the Republic of Ireland border may be caught out come 1st January 2021 if they don’t have a Green Card. Motorists in Northern Ireland will also need to carry a Green Card when driving across the border to the Republic of Ireland (as well as the rest of the EU), at the end of the Brexit transition period, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

For motorists who drive across the border without a card, the ABI has warned: “This means that you will be failing to comply with the legal requirement in the Republic (or other EU country) to carry a Green Card, and will risk having your vehicle seized, and facing prosecution.”

What should I do if my policy renews while I’m away?

You will need two cards, one for each policy. If you are changing insurer at your renewal, you need to obtain a Green Card from both insurers, so you can continue to abide by the rules.

How long is a Green Card valid for?

A Green Card will provide you with a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15-days. Insurers can also specify that it covers a longer period if this is required, so please ask for this if you are planning a longer trip.


Whether you require further information on Green Cards, or have plans to drive in an EEA country next year, please feel free to contact us so we can assist. (Please refer to our opening times over the festive period)