While COVID-19 restrictions may still impact drivers’ ability to leave UK shores for some time to come, there is now slightly less paperwork required for driving on the continent. The European Commission has confirmed that UK drivers, including those in Northern Ireland, will no longer require a motor insurance green card to drive in Europe. However, whilst fleet management specialist Venson Automotive Solutions applauds the move, it reminds company car drivers and fleet managers to check leased cars are fully covered, fully prepared for European driving and that employees have the necessary documentation to prove permission to take the vehicle outside of the UK.
The Motor Insurance Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that guarantees the minimum third-party motor insurance cover, and it became a requirement for driving in the EU after the UK left the union on 31st December 2020. The obligation to carry a green card is anticipated to end late July, early August, and will save time and reduce the administration burden for those driving in Europe, but company car drivers who are not the registered keeper of the vehicle, will still need a VE103B (Vehicle on Hire Certificate) from their employer or leasing company.
The VE103B is an authenticated document and an acceptable substitute for the V5C. It is produced by the DVLA and contains details of the vehicle along with the name and address of the hirer or lessee. It enables the police and other authorities to verify that the person driving the vehicle has permission from the asset owner to do so. Drivers should check with their fleet manager and allow at least two weeks for processing of the paperwork.
Gil Kelly, Operations Director at Venson Automotive Solutions welcomes the scrapping of the green card, “Company car drivers will be able to move much more freely around the EU which will be greatly welcomed as cross border restrictions ease. But other requirements remain, and many vary between countries, so drivers must check they have everything in place, including insurance that covers them to drive abroad and after 28th September this year, the vehicle displays a UK sticker, not the current GB sticker. Company car drivers should check with their fleet manager before driving their company vehicle abroad, whether for work or leisure.”
EU Driving Checklist
- Driving licence: You will need a valid photocard driving licence issued in the UK – check the renewal date and renew in plenty of time if it is running out. If your licence is not a UK issued Photocard licence (for example, if you hold a paper driving licence or driving licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man), you will need to hold a valid International Driving Permit
- Insurance: Check your motor insurance covers the region you will be travelling to and any you pass through, and carry the insurance certificate with you
- Roadside assistance: Emergency contact details of your European roadside and accident assistance provider
- Emergency equipment: Many countries require drivers – local or tourist – to carry certain equipment inside the car, including reflective vests, fire extinguisher and warning triangles. Check the requirements of your destination and all countries you will travel through. You must be able to reach the high-vis vest from inside the car, do not keep it in the boot.
- Emission stickers (permits): Some European cities require vehicles to display emission stickers. These must be purchased before you go abroad
- Headlight converter stickers: Left hand drive vehicles need stickers to deflect headlights, unless the beam can be adjusted manually
- GB/UK sticker: Rules on number plates and GB stickers vary between countries, so check whether you need a sticker. After 28th September 2021 you will need a UK sticker, not the current GB sticker.
- V5C log book: If you own the vehicle, carry the log book in the vehicle at all times
- VE103b: If the vehicle is hired or leased, ensure you have a valid VE103b form showing you have permission to take the vehicle abroad
- Healthy vehicle: carry out a vehicle health check before you depart, to reduce the chances of breakdown. Tyre pressure and tread, fluid levels, wiper blade condition and light bulbs are some of the most important items to check.
- Know the rules: Even if you regularly drive abroad always check the local rules of the road before you go, as requirements can change.
- Passport: Of course, don’t forget to pack your passport and ensure you have the relevant Visas, if required. Your passport must have at least six months left by the end of your trip.