One of the joys of being an expat is that we can (sometimes) pick-and-choose which aspects of international developments affect us. Some reading this may have once been UK residents, but are now somewhat content to be at personal arm’s length from the confusion that Brexit is posing.
But regardless of what we would like to have happen, it is important to be informed of possible outcomes. Many of you are aware that as it currently stands, March 29, 2019 is ‘Brexit Day’. From this date onwards, and with a No-Deal Brexit remaining a possibility, the details and minutiae of everyday life are likely to change in various ways.
One of these crucial details is the continued ability to legally hire – or register, insure and drive – personal vehicles in EU member states beyond March 29.
Non-EU licence holders:
The situation for people visiting EU member states and wishing to hire a car will remain unchanged if you have a non-EU driving licence.
Please visit the websites for the consulate/s of the country/ies that you intend to visit to determine what (if anything) you need to do. If you hold a Hong Kong licence, for example, you can drive in Germany as long as you also carry photo ID with you. In Italy, however, you must carry a certified translation of your Hong Kong licence.
UK licence holders visiting non-UK, EU countries:
For UK licence holders who are visiting (non-UK) EU countries from March 29, a different situation may occur. UK driving licences may need to be held in conjunction with an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Whether you need an IDP, and the type of IDP that you require will depend on the country (or countries) in which you intend to use your driving licence. Further information is available from the UK government.
If you are in the UK, it is possible to obtain IDPs over the counter from specific UK Post Offices at a cost of £5.50 each. If you are not in the UK, then you can have a friend or family member apply on your behalf, as long as they can present all the required documents.
For up-to-date information about the Brexit process and how it may directly impact on you, your family and your business, you can sign-up to UK government email alerts.
For up-to-date information about changes to driving licence requirements, you can sign up to email updates from the DVLA.
For those living in/ partly resident in non-UK, EU countries:
A key issue for many individuals currently living (either full- or part-time) in (non-UK) EU countries and holding only a UK-issued driving licence, is that there is no guarantee that their UK driving licence will be sufficient in a post-Brexit landscape.
At the time of writing, UK governmental advice for affected individuals living in other EU member states is to exchange their UK driving licence for a locally issued, EU driving licence as soon as possible. For guidance on how to exchange a driving licence within the EU, please see the European Union website.
There is no guarantee that UK driving licences will be directly exchangeable for locally issued EU licences from March 29 onwards if a No-Deal Brexit situation eventuates – individuals may have to pass local driving tests. Further, it is possible that requirements may vary between EU member states. Hence the advice on exchanging licences prior to March 28, 2019.
If you own and insure a personal vehicle in a non-UK, EU member state but hold a UK-issued licence, this advice is also applicable.
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