With the UK leaving the EU at the start of 2021 rules on travelling between the UK and other EU countries have changed.

This guide will help explain the changes that will affect you if you are planning to drive away on a European getaway as well as provide some more general advice on travelling, though we’ve got a detailed guide to going abroad in your lease vehicle here

We’ve also rounded up all the key details in this downloadable PDF that you can take with you.

General Travel Advice

One thing to be aware of is that the UK is one of only a few places where you drive on the left-hand side of the road. In all other European countries you will need to drive on the right-hand side. This is especially important if you are planning to drive your own vehicle as the driver’s seat will not be best positioned, and you’ll be on the outside of the carriageway. This can make it more difficult to be aware of your distance from the central line, correctly judge turning positions and gives you different blind spots to other drivers.

When travelling you soon find the boot, storage nooks and every other available space gets full but you should be really careful not to overload the vehicle. This not only causes additional weight and strain on the vehicle that way but can also block your visibility of mirrors, outside windows and blind spots. You will also

In some countries, there are stricter laws on visibility than in the UK as well so you should always check this as well as any other laws and restrictions in any country you are travelling to.

Driving in the EU Post-Brexit

For the first few months, UK drivers entering EU countries were required to obtain a green card insurance certificate. However, as of the beginning of July drivers are no longer required to have this with them.

There are still a few different documents and stickers that you will need to put on your vehicle though and we’ve looked at these below.

Driver Documents

When you travel abroad, whether you plan to drive or not you should always take your passport with you. You will need this to leave the country and to enter any other country.

There are a few differences for your passport that you need to be aware of now that the UK has left the EU. 

On the date you travel your passport will need to have more than six months left on it and be less than 10 years old. Even if your passport has six months or more before it expires if it is over 10 years old then you will still need to get a new passport. This rule does not apply to Ireland for UK citizens, but you will still need to have a valid passport for the duration of your trip.

Some countries will now require you to show a return or onwards travel ticket, and that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in the country. This is to ensure that you are able to fund your visit and will not be stranded in their country.


If you are planning to drive whilst away, whether it is your car or not, then you will need to take your driving licence. This licence will need to be to your correct address and current name and most countries will need the name to match your passport. If you have recently changed your name then you will need to update both documents.

For drivers who only have a provisional licence you will need to check the legal restrictions of learner drivers in the country of travel as some have different requirements and age restrictions.

You should also not that if you are not driving your own car and you are only able to drive automatic transmissions then you will still be restricted to automatic vehicles.

Some countries will also require you to have an international driving permit (IDP) and well as your licence with you when you travel. If you only have a paper driving licence or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man then you will likely need to get an IDP. UK drivers will not need an IDP for driving in Ireland.

You can check if you need one here.

Vehicle Documents

You will also need to take documents for the vehicle as well as the drivers.

You will need to take the vehicle’s ownership documentation, which you might know as a VC5 or V5 document. Please be aware that your details on this will also need to match your name and address on your driving licence.

If you are leasing a vehicle then take a look further down for the alternative documentation you should take with you.

We also recommend taking a copy of your insurance documents and ensuring your policy will cover you while abroad as some policies do not cover you at the same level while driving abroad.

GB Stickers

Now that we have left the EU all drivers from the UK will need to have a GB identifier on their vehicle.

Some cars will have this on the number plate and this can be on its own as pictured to the right and others might show it with a union flag.

Your car might have a Euro symbol, national flag of Scotland, England or Wales or no identifier. If your vehicle does not have a GB number plate then you will need a GB sticker to display on the rear of your vehicle.


If you are travelling with a trailer for the extra luggage or towing a caravan then you will also need to purchase a GB sticker for this as well.

When travelling to Spain, Cyprus or Malta you will still need a sticker even if you have a GB identifier on your number plate.

Other Stickers

There may be other stickers that you need to purchase for your vehicle before travelling.

For example, in some areas of France there are low emission zones that have been introduced in order to restrict vehicle access, and part of the system for this is purchasing and displaying a Crit’Air sticker in your vehicle.

For more on Crit’Air stickers click here.

As environmental concerns become more and more common across the world we expect to see more emission-controlled zones and schemes like this that will apply to international travellers as well as locals.

Car Safety Items

In the UK there are not any legal requirements to carry safety items in your car like a warning triangle, or high-vis jacket but in some European countries you are required to drive with these.

Check out the table below to see what you need in each of the most common countries.


R is for recommended but not currently legally required.

There are a few additional things to be aware of for the above table:

  • When driving in France you must have an NF approved breathalyser.
  • It is recommended that you have two warning triangles in the vehicle when driving in Spain.
  • When driving in Germany if you have a first aid kit this must be one that is at a DIN approved standard.

We also recommend keeping a few snacks and bottles of water in the vehicle, especially when you are driving for a long period of time to keep yourself and passengers hydrated and fed.

For more information on what to keep in your car take a peek at this guide.

Travelling in a Lease Car

As we mentioned above there are different documents that you will need to travel with if you are leasing a vehicle. When you own the car you take your ownership documents with you but for a lease vehicle these will be held by the funder.

To show you are authorised to drive the vehicle you will need to carry a VE103 with you when driving abroad instead of the ownership documents. You can request the VE103 from your funder directly, or if you are leasing through Car Lease Special Offers then our Customer Services Team can help.

Please be aware that the time it takes for you to receive a VE103 can vary between funders but most advise to contact them at least a month to two weeks prior to your trip.

In order to receive a VE103 must funders will request the below information from you:

  • Dates of the trip
  • Countries you are visiting
  • Full vehicle registration
  • Any driver’s full name as it appears on their driving licence
  • Any driver’s full address as it appears on their driving licence

Some funders may also request the vehicle’s mileage so it is worth making a note of this as well before making the request in order to avoid any delay.

A VE103 will usually be valid for a year from the date of this issue and provided there is no change to the listed drivers you will be able to use this repeated. If one driver does update their name or address then a new VE103 will need to be requested to match the updated driving licence.

There may be a small charge from some funders for processing the VE103, but they will advise of this for you.

If you have leased a vehicle through us then take a look at this guide which will give you a full breakdown of the process.

Another thing to note is that if your lease includes a maintenance package then you should also check whether this will cover you whilst abroad as just like with insurers some funders offer a reduced service or no maintenance whilst abroad.

Head back to our guides homepage to see more useful guides or click here for your downloadable PDF for EU travel.

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