A Green card is an international certificate of insurance, proving that you are adequately insured to drive in EU/ EEA countries. The EEA is made up of EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland is also included, as it’s part of the European single market, as are Andorra and Serbia.
Where/ when it’s required – you’ll need to carry a physical copy of your Green card with you – as opposed to a digital version, although it no longer needs to be printed on green paper. You’ll therefore likely be refused to drive in your destination country if you fail to bring a physical copy of your Green card, when you arrive at the border. This would be breaking the law, you’d be risking a fine, seizure of your vehicle and you could face prosecution.
Until 31st December 2020 – during this Brexit transition period, you do not need a Green card to travel in EU countries. However, that looks to change from 1st January 2021.
- You’ll have to check with your broker how much cover you will have whilst driving abroad, as it can be less than you’re covered for in the UK under your normal policy – whereby you may only have third-party cover abroad. So, if you need a Foreign Use Extension for more cover, you may be charged.
- If also towing a trailer or a caravan, you’ll need to obtain an additional Green card.
- If you’re taking a company car, a hire car or are borrowing a car, you will need a letter of authorisation from the registered keeper, the V5C (your log book) and a copy of your insurance.
- You would need a Green card for each of your cars – even if you have more than one car under the one insurance policy.
The UK is leaving the EU and so is currently in a transition period until 31st December. In the likely event that there’s no agreement on the UK’s relationship with the EU, there will probably be a legal requirement to carry a Green card when driving in Europe, as from 1st January 2021 and you may also need to carry additional proof – such as your certificate of motor insurance and the vehicle’s log book.
Your insurance broker can e-mail you or print your Green Card for you, ahead of your travels. You should apply for your Green card a month before you travel, even if there’s no deal negotiated for leaving the EU from 1st January 2021. Demand is currently high, so applying early is particularly recommended.
Your Green card is generally valid for 15 days. If you’re going abroad for longer, you’ll need to let your broker know, so they can extend it for you. If your insurance will be due for renewal whilst you’re away, you’ll need to arrange new cover before you go, as well as a Green card to run alongside it. You can arrange your new policy up to 30 days in advance.
The RAC recommends carrying these important documents when driving in Europe…
- Your full, valid driving licence and national insurance number
- Proof of your vehicle insurance
- Your passport
- Your V5C certificate (the log book)
- Your travel insurance documents
- European Breakdown Cover policy number and documents
- Before you travel – ensure your vehicle’s tax and MOT are up to date.
- A crit’air sticker if you’re driving in France
See; https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit for up to date information on driving abroad.