As we’ve passed the original Brexit leave date and the government wars with itself over how to break with the continent, we need to think about what a no-deal departure means for us. Essential for UK motorists driving in the EU will be an International Driving Permit (IDP). Don’t worry, though, they’re quite easy to procure, but as demand has increased, the time it takes to get one has increased exponentially.
We touched on IDPs briefly in our top-to-bottom guide to post-Brexit driving – and do so in greater depth here.
What is an International Driving Permit?
An International Driving Permit allows you to drive in countries where your UK licence is not sufficient on its own.
In the past, these countries have included the USA, Japan and Brazil. From March onwards, however, especially in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the entire European Union could join that list.
Is an International Driving Permit necessary?
Just as you need a driving licence to drive in the UK, so you absolutely need an IDP overseas.
An IDP is currently required or recommended in more than 140 countries. The Post Office has a handy IDP checker tool that’s fully updated for post-March travel if a deal goes through. You can ask at your local Post Office for more information about what ‘no deal’ will mean.
How do I get an International Driving Permit?
Go to your nearest Post Office (that offers an IDP service) with your photocard driving licence and a passport photo in-hand, plus your passport for proof of identification if your driving licence is the old paper version.
It’ll cost you £5.50 per permit (you may need more than one) and shouldn’t take too long. You can see which permits are needed via the checker tool above.
UPDATE: IDP delays
As of the beginning of April 2019, there have been delays reported in the acquisition of international driving permits. As the original Brexit leave date came and went, uncertainty has brewed over when we’d actually be leaving and whether it would be with a deal. Yes, international driving permits are for if there is no deal, or at the very least if there are no provisions for UK drivers in the EU if a deal gets through. Nevertheless, with the UK school half-term coming up, there’s been a rush of people grabbing precautionary IDPs. Long queues and branch surfing has been reported, with some saying as many as 28 branches they visited were out of IDPs. Others report stories of having to traverse London to find a branch with sufficient stock. Though the Post Office has allegedly taken steps to meet demand, delays are still being reported.
What else will I need to drive in the EU?
If you are a UK passport holder living in the EU, you may need to re-take your driving test.
If you’re a UK resident who intends to drive in the EU, as well as your IDP(s) you will potentially need an insurance ‘green card’. Contact your insurance company to find out more.