Driving abroad: 5 things drivers need to know

Updated on 6th May 2021

Driving abroad

When driving a vehicle abroad there are various documents you are likely to need so it’s worth getting hold of them sooner rather than later if you often take your vehicle overseas.

We have put together a guide on the main things you need to consider and outlined below are the five most important things you are likely to need: 

1) International Driving Permits (IDPs)

You will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) as evidence that you are licensed to drive. There are two such permits relevant to the EU, each linked to different conventions (although both types of IDP may be required if travelling to more than one EU country that are covered by different conventions, for example France and Spain). IDP’s are only available for a fee and they will be time bound, but without the appropriate permit drivers risk being turned back and unable to complete their journey.

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The type of permit you will need depends on the countries you will be driving in: a 1926 IDP will be required for Liechtenstein, while a 1949 IDP will be required for Spain, Iceland, Malta and Cyprus. All other EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, will require a 1968 IDP.

IDPs are easy to get hold of, being available over the counter at the Post Office for £5.50.

2) Lease Vehicles

If you drive a rented or leased vehicle, including company cars, you must carry a VE103 certificate when taking this vehicle abroad.

This proves that you have permission from the vehicle owner to be in possession of the vehicle, and will help you to avoid long delays at borders or even having your vehicle seized.

If you're leasing with PVM and need to order your VE103 certificate, please do not hesitate to contact us.

3) Green Cards

You will need to obtain a motor insurance green card to insure your vehicle for driving abroad. These can be ordered from your motor insurance company.

4) Log Books

As is the case currently, you will need your vehicle log book (V5C), up-to-date with your most recent address, if you’re taking your vehicle abroad for less than 12 months. You will have to show this if you are stopped at a port or on the road in another country.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, you may need to pay import duty when entering certain countries.

5) GB Stickers

All vehicles registered in the UK must display the international registration letters GB on the rear of the vehicle when taken temporarily abroad.

However, Euro-plates (registration plates with the EU symbol above the letters GB) are no longer be valid. If your vehicle has one, you must replace it with a number plate displaying the letters GB without the EU symbol. Alternatively, you can add a separate GB sticker.

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Are you driving one of our vehicles?

If your vehicle is on a maintained contract with us, you can call our simple freephone number. When you call, select option 2 and then option 3 to get a VE103 form to allow you to take your vehicle abroad.  While forms are posted out first-class delivery, we advise that you arrange for your forms at least 3 weeks before you travel to ensure they arrive in time.

Driver helpline: 0800 581 639 

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