No-deal Brexit means the return of the Green Card

Whilst uncertainty remains on whether the UK will leave the European Union (EU) without a free trade agreement in the coming weeks, there are some changes that you need to be aware of now, particularly if you are intending to drive into the EU after 31st December 2020.

What a no-deal Brexit could mean for you

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, and without any agreement to the contrary, the UK’s participation in the free circulation zone will come to a swift end the moment the transition agreement expires on 31st December 2020.

This means that every driver taking their vehicle to the European Economic Area (EEA) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland after this date will have to carry a Green Card – which is normally a free of charge document that guarantees and evidences the minimum motor insurance cover legally required for driving in the countries visited.

Please note that a Green Card may still be required irrespective of whether there is a deal or not.

Important information about Green Cards

  1. Green Cards apply to the registration number of the vehicle rather than the driver.
  2. Green Cards are issued for a minimum period of 15 days. If you are making frequent and/or lengthy trips abroad, consider talking to us at renewal about arranging an annual Green Card for the vehicle(s) in question.
  3. A Green Card only confirms that the vehicle has the minimum level of cover legally required in the countries within which you is travelling.
  4. It is the driver of the vehicle that is responsible for carrying a Green Card, even if the driver is an employee. No employee should drive a vehicle abroad without first having received a Green Card provided by their employer.
  5. If you drive abroad without physically holding a printed Green Card, you may be prosecuted for driving without insurance, fined and have your vehicle impounded.

When a client requires a Green Card

  1. You should contact your insurance broker in good time before you travel outside the UK (including to the Republic of Ireland as well as mainland Europe), so that they can arrange a Green Card with your insurer and ensure issue prior to their departure. The more notice you give us, the better.
  2. You must provide your name, policy number, vehicle registration number, the dates when you will be abroad, who will be driving the vehicle and the countries you’ll be visiting.
  3. We will need to know whether you will be taking any form of trailer, for example, an articulated vehicle, a draw-bar trailer, a caravan etc.  If you are intending to take a trailer, we must know the trailer registration mark where relevant and contact your insurer to arrange for the issue of a separate Green Card for the trailer.
  4. If the Green Card is provided to you as an e-mailed PDF, ensure you must print it out and take it with you as a hard copy (despite the name, a Green Card can now be printed on white paper).
  5. A Green Card only confirms that the vehicle has the minimum level of cover legally required in the countries within which you are travelling. You are likely to require the same level of cover whilst abroad as you enjoy in the UK, therefore in addition to arranging a Green Card, we will discuss this with you and then contact your insurer to increase your cover for the relevant period.
  6. If your motor insurance policy is due to expire during the Green Card period, you will need to ensure that you are issued with two Green Cards, one up to renewal date and the other covering the period post-renewal date.


For information published by the FCA for consumers


For information about the possible requirement for an International Driving Permits


For the latest Brexit transition advice about passports and health insurance


For further Brexit-related advice



We hope this helps you with some of the uncertainty surrounding driving in Europe and Green Card rules.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with and we will do our best to assist you.


  • Oliver Burt

    Oliver Burt is a Director at Acer Insurance Services and founded the company in 2019, he specialises in company development and bespoke schemes for those with unusual and nonstandard insurance needs.
    Before founding Acer Insurance Services, Oliver was the Operations Manager at a small insurance broker in Sevenoaks where he was responsible for the day to day running of the business. Oliver has many years’ experience having worked within the insurance industry since 1996.
    Oliver is passionate about finding niche insurances that can make a real difference to people and businesses, finding solutions tailored to their insurance needs. He also is committed to developing the skills and knowledge of the team at Acer Insurance Services.
    In his spare time Oliver enjoys growing fruit and vegetables on his allotment and spending time with friends and family.