Green Cards – Everything you need to know

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is a physical document that acts as evidence that the minimum legal motor insurance cover required is in force for the country visited whilst driving outside the UK.

When is a Green Card Required?

  • If you are travelling in the EEA, Andorra, Serbia, Switzerland and will return prior to 31st December 2020, you will not require a Green Card.
  • If you are travelling in the EEA, Andorra, Serbia, or Switzerland from 1st January 2021, you will need a Green Card to prove that you have the required insurance, regardless of the level of motor cover provided on the policy and whether you have a foreign use extension on the policy. If, however, a deal is agreed with the EU that removes the need for Green Cards, then this situation may well change.
  • You will also require a Green Card if you are driving from Northern Ireland to Ireland.
  • If travelling with trailers or caravans you will need two green cards issued, one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer/caravan. The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018 came into force from 28 March 2019. This means that for commercial business vehicles travelling with a trailer, you must register any trailer weighing over 3500kg and any commercial trailer weighing over 750kg before towing them abroad.

Please note:

On receipt of a Green Card, if you make any changes to the vehicle or changes your address etc., you will need to request a new Green Card.

How can you request Green Cards?

To request a Green Card, please contact us as early as possible ahead of your planned journey. Some insurers may require several weeks to process these and ensure they are posted to you. Some insurers may be able to issue an electronic version, but you will still need to print this and take a paper copy with you when travelling within the EEA.

Will there be an administration fee for the issuing of Green Cards?

Some insurers may charge an administration fee for issuing Green Cards.

What will happen if you travel without a Green Card?

If you decide to travel without a Green Card, it is highly probable that you will not be allowed to cross the border or gain access onto a ferry. If, however, you are allowed to travel and you are then subsequently stopped and held at the roadside because you have not travelled with the correct paperwork, you could be fined and have the vehicle impounded. Please note: there is NO cover under motor policies to pay fines and release fees, if impounded.

Will your driving licence be valid to drive in the EU after 1st January 2021?

  • the event of a “no deal” situation, the Department for Transport has indicated that you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the EU. This would need to be shown in conjunction with their UK driving licence.
  • The IDP is issued by the government via Post Offices, so you will need to contact the Government for information on how to obtain one.
  • It is important to note that there are different types of IDP. Which one you will need will depend on which country you will be driving in:

    • A 1949 Convention IDP covers these EU countries: Spain, Malta and Cyprus: or
    • A 1968 Convention IDP covers all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland
    • A 1926 Convention IDP for Lichtenstein
  • To drive in the Republic of Ireland, you should not need an IDP if you hold a UK driving licence as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.

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