Since the pandemic, lots of people have been confused around lots of things. One of these things is driving and particularly, the rules around driving in green-listed countries.
UK number plate law after Brexit has also been a hot topic of conversation since before we even left the EU, and COVID has led to even more confusion about how number plate law has changed in 2021. So, we’ve decided to tackle both of them in one handy and up-to-date piece for you, because we’re nice like that.
In this blog, we’ll examine everything you need to know about driving in the EU countries that are on the government’s green list, which laws you need to be aware of when it comes to driving in the EU after Brexit in general, and the UK number plate laws that have been affected as a result of the pandemic.
Let’s start with the driving rules for green-listed countries.
What Are Driving Rules in Green-Listed Countries?
If you’re planning on driving in green-listed countries now that restrictions are easing, then there are quite a few laws and rules you need to be aware of.
For example, if you’re heading to The Balearic Islands for example (that means anywhere from Ibiza to Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera), then you need to follow Spanish law.
This means being over 18 and holding a valid UK driving license, proof of ID in the form of a passport, a motor insurance certificate valid for driving your vehicle and your V5 registration document. Oh, and a GB sticker. These rules also apply to Malta with the addition of your insurance covering a third party as well as yourself.
If you’re caught without a seatbelt in Spain, you’ll be facing a 200 Euro fine, and speeding fines start at 100 Euros and can go up to a whopping 500 Euros. So stick to the speed limits!
Driving in Gibraltar, France, and Madeira
Let’s start with our Gibraltar driving rules deep-dive with an interesting fact. There are only 10 petrol stations, yes 10, in the entire country, so make sure your tank is full.
Now, the above rules apply to Gibraltar driving and it’s also worth noting that people drive on the right side of the road, which if you didn’t know, is not the case in other European countries other than the United Kingdom.
And when it comes to France, things are a little bit more complicated. Firstly, they take safety very seriously over in France, so make sure you have a warning triangle and hi-vis jacket within your vehicle in case you break down and get stranded by the side of the road. This makes you more visible and clearly alerts other drives to your predicament and presence.
You’re also expected to carry a breathalyser kit at all times. You can purchase disposable breathalysers and we’d recommend getting kitted out with two of them, just in case you have to use one and hit the road again.
Then when it comes to Madeira, the Portuguese island, it’s illegal for children under the age of 12 year old to sit in the front seat of a car. It’s also illegal to overtake in free-flowing traffic in Madeira. And finally, motorways might have Green Lanes, which are only available to you if you use an automated payment system to travel.
Is my UK Driving License Still Valid in the EU after Brexit?
Short answer – yes. Your driving license is still valid within the EU if you’re from the UK. However, if you still only hold a paper license rather than a card version with your photo on it, you’re going to need to get up-to-date or arrange for an international driving permit.
This costs £5.50 and you can do it over the counter at the Post Office. It lasts for three years from purchasing. You’ll need your IDP if you’re planning on driving in any of the 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Norway is particularly important as it is one of the green-listed countries you can travel to from the UK during COVID.
If you don’t have your IDP and travel through any of these countries, green or not, you’ll more than like receive a fine. You could even be taken to court or have your car confiscated, so it’s fair to say it’s not worth it. You’ll need an International Driving Permit even if you’re passing through one of the stated countries, no matter how long for.
It’s also worth pointing out that you won’t need one if you’re driving in Ireland, you’ll just need your standard UK driving license.
Do I Need a GB Sticker to Drive in the EU?
This is one we get asked a lot at National Numbers, since we’re number plate experts. You can’t purchase number plates with the Euro symbol anymore, but if your car has an EU number plate from before Brexit took place, you’re okay to travel.
If not, you’ll need an additional GB sticker on the back of your car so authorities know you’re British. This will be the case for any vehicle produced after we left the EU, but in Spain, Cyprus, and Malta, it doesn’t matter how new or old your car is – you need a GB sticker regardless.
All of the above rules are subject to change as we progress through what has become an extremely strange time for everybody, but as it stands, they’re correct and up-to-date.
Find Your Perfect Private Number Plate Today with National Numbers
If you’re looking to purchase a private registration, then you’re in the right place.
We have millions of combinations available for you to browse with prices starting at £179. We also offer a wide range of 0% finance options to help you spread the payment of your personalised registration purchase.
To find out more, give our expert and friendly sales team a call on 01642 363738. They’re happy to answer any questions you might have around your preferred private reg and give you options and information on what we have available to buy online. Alternatively, you can search for your perfect private number plate at the National Numbers website.