UK stickers and number plates
If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker.
However, you will need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of your vehicle if your number plate has any of the following:
- a GB identifier with the Union flag
- a Euro symbol
- a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
- numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier
If you’re in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.
Driving licences and international driving permits
You need to carry your UK driving licence with you.
You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:
- a paper driving licence
- a licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man
You will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland if you have a UK driving licence.
An IDP costs £5.50 and drivers must:
- be a resident of Great Britain or Northern Ireland
- have a full UK driving licence
- be 18 or over
Driving licence exchange
If you live and drive in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you need to exchange your driving licence for a local one.
Insurance for your vehicle, caravan or trailer
All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in the EU (including Ireland).
You do not need to carry a green card when you drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, or Switzerland. You still need valid vehicle insurance.
More about vehicle insurance.
Vehicle registration documents
If you’re taking your vehicle to the EU for less than 12 months, carry one of the following documents:
- your vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
- a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad
You need to register some commercial and non-commercial trailers before towing them to or through most EU and EEA countries.
Find out more about trailer registration.
What to do if you’re involved in a road accident
If you’re involved in a road accident in an EU country, you should, in the first instance, contact your insurance provider.
Any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurance provider of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.
You will not get compensation in some countries if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced.
Get legal advice if you need more information about this.
Even if you have extended your policy for driving abroad, this will not cover your car against breaking down. Vehicle breakdown policies can be bought with your holiday insurance or separately. Check to see if your motor insurer can provide this cover.
A policy will cover the cost of hiring a car while your own is being repaired, road-side assistance and emergency repairs, the cost of returning your car to the UK and sending out spare parts, together with emergency accommodation if you are unable to use your vehicle. A monetary limit will apply to each section of the policy.
Protecting against car thieves
Foreign registered vehicles attract thieves, so do not make your car an easy target:
- Lock all doors and the boot when leaving the vehicle as well as closing windows and the sunroof.
- Park in a well-lit place.
- Avoid leaving your possessions in an unattended vehicle. If you have to leave property, make sure it is in a locked boot. In a Porsche 928, the rear luggage cover should be in position.
- Don't leave car ownership and insurance documents in your car when parked.
- Use an anti-theft device.
- Take your keys with you at the petrol station when you are going to pay.
- Dont leave your mobile phone or navigation gadget unattended.
Don't leave home without it - what to take with you
Don't set off unprepared. Make sure your vehicle is serviced before you leave and that you know of and comply with the vehicle requirements of the countries you are visiting. Don't forget that your vehicle must display the appropriate country identification letters (e.g. GB). And don't go without taking:
- A spare set of keys.
- A set of head lamp converters.
- A fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, tool kit, spare bulbs and warning triangle.
- Registration document, driving licence and passport.
- Your UK motor insurance certificate, Green Card (if issued), details of any breakdown and travel insurance, together with any emergency helpline numbers.
Local emissions zones
Check carefully that you have the correct emissions sticker for your car for certain EU destination cities. You can obtain such stickers from the local vehicle licencing agency for the city whos laws you need to comply with. e.g. TUV for Munich.