BREXIT and driving in the EU post 29 March 2019

Posted 14/09/2018 : By: Tim Ridyard

How will driver licensing work if you wish to drive within the EU after 29 March 2019 in either a professional or personal capacity? In short it will depend on ‘deal or no deal’.

The current position is quite simply an uncomplicated one - your UK driver’s licence is all that is needed.As has been the case for decades you need no additional driver licensing documentation.

If there is not a deal retaining existing arrangements there will have to be a change as there will not be the same recognition of the UK licence in the manner currently enjoyed. One would need to obtain an International Driving Permit (“IDP”) to drive within the EU.Some countries outside the EU already require this.

The type of International Driving Permit required will depend on the EU country being visited.

On 28 March 2018 the United Kingdom ratified one of the EU conventions relating to road traffic as a contingency. This was the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. There is an earlier convention, namely the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. Permits issued under either Convention are for different periods and countries.

A 1949 Geneva Convention Licence is recognised in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus and is in force for 12 months. A 1968 Convention Licence is recognised in all other EU countries as well as Norway and Switzerland. It remains in force for three years.

Assuming no other arrangements are agreed one will therefore need a UK Driving Licence plus the relevant IDP. Conceivably you might need more than one type of International Driving Permit if your travel covers countries requiring two different permits.

There is no change in current arrangements until 29 March 2019. The aim of the government is to have an agreement with the EU to maintain the status quo with regard to recognition of UK Licences (and exchange). If this does not work there will be the need for the processing and issuing of vast numbers of permits and there may have to be agreements between the UK and individual EU member states. HM Government does not guarantee this latter step will be achieved by 29 March 2019 if no deal has been reached.

The above flags up the current position. So, in summary, whilst there is now a wholly uncomplicated scenario requiring only one mutually recognised document, there will have to be additional permit documentation obtained by any driver who is to drive within the EU, whether in a professional capacity or not.

N.B. This article does not address any further complications that may arise post 29 March 2019 relating to professional passenger and lorry drivers who not only will require standard driver licences but who also need a CPC qualification (Certificate of Professional Competence) for vehicles requiring a Category C and Category D Licence entitlement. We will deal with this under a separate blog in due course.

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