Driving abroad

Driving abroad

18 September 2013
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The Law in the UK states that all drivers must have the minimum of third party insurance cover to drive on UK roads. Drivers entering the UK, from a NON-EU state have to produce documentary evidence of insurance which should include the Green Card at the point entry into the European Union. Stipulations are made under the Motor Insurance Directives.

Where a vehicle is only being used temporary in UK, by an overseas citizen(s) are mainly, excused from UK registration or licensing. Under EC Directive 83/182 any EU registered vehicle is allowed to travel inside or cross border Community Member States. They are not required to pay extra duty or re-register in any of the host countries. The visitor is limited however to only a period of six months out of twelve and must be compliant of their own countries licensing and registration policies.

If the visitor wishes to be exempt from these rules, their qualifying home should be outside of the host country. To be classed as a resident, you must have lived in your resident country (state) for at least 185 days out of the year for occupation or personal reasons. The police can enforce this law by asking the visitor to produce the correct documentation to prove that they are eligible for use of a vehicle without licensing or registration within the UK. Using a vehicle beyond the six month period requires registration and licensing with DVLA.  Where the vehicle owner changes residency to the UK, the vehicle must be reregistered and licensed under UK law, upon which, the vehicle  should then be insured under a UK authorized motor insurer. For more information on temporary importation see -http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/BuyingAndSellingAVehicle/ImportingAndExportingAVehicle/DG_10014623

The Visitor and the Law

UK road legislation covers anyone driving in the UK. Enforcing this however can have its own problems when managing a driver that is just visiting and violates the UK driving laws. The chief officer in charge is left with the decision of the appropriate action to take. Depending on the severity of the offence, the visitor could be arrested, with an immediate hearing in court within 24 to 48 hours. Acting quickly in this manner serves as a deterrent and makes sure any sentence can be carried out straight away.

The Green Card (International Motor Insurance Card)

The Green Card system was established around 50 years. It is administered by the Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland. The Green Card is acknowledged in 40 different countries including Europe.

It is a recognised document and is used to provide documentary evidence that you as a driving visitor are covered with at least third party insurance that is validated by your own insurance policy. A green card is not needed in –

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

A green card is required in –

Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Moldova, Morocco, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine.

How do I Get One

Most insurance companies now will be able to provide you with one. But don’t forget it is there to only prove you have the minimum insurance level required and nothing more. Further enquires can be made at:

The Green Card system is administered in the UK by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Motor Insurers' Bureau
Linford Wood House
6-12 Capital Drive
Linford Wood
Milton Keynes
MK14 6XT

Telephone: 01908 830 001
Fax: 01908 671 681

Visiting the UK

Vehicles visiting the UK allowed to display foreign number plates for a period of up to six months (this stipulation covers numerous visits but should not total more than six months) under the provision that any motoring taxes applicable have been paid in the country it is registered. It is the keepers responsibility to provide the proper documentation if requested by the UK police.

For a temporary visiting vehicle from outside of the European Union, the visitor/owner has the obligation to get in touch with HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) as soon as they enter. If it is the intention to let the vehicle remain the UK, then it has to be taxed and registered without delay at the nearest DVLA office.

Vehicles from the European Union zone are allowed to be used for up to six months (in a twelve month period) in the UK providing they are taxed and registered in the country of origin. Responsibility for this lies with the driver, for example the ferry tickets (which are dated) when they entered the country.

If the registered keeper becomes a UK resident, the vehicle has to be taxed and registered as quickly as possible.UK residents are only permitted use of a foreign registered vehicle when –

They are working as an employed or self employed person in other EU states

Using a company car EU registered for UK business reasons

It is worth noting that some types of vehicle may be required to show a ‘Q’ plate. The visitor status is not applicable to these vehicles when they are here on a temporary basis only.

Buying insurance  |  How to make a claim  |  Driving Abroad  |  Uninsured Driving  |  Insurance explained    

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