Don’t forget your Green Card

Brexit and British businesses operating abroad

“British business is not ready for a cliff edge Brexit,” according to Rod McKenzie, MD of Policy & Public Affairs, Road Haulage Association, discussing the impact of Brexit on C4 News in January.

He talks of potentially 38,000 lorries unable to cross the channel having a direct effect on the supply chain that keeps Britain running.

Rod McKenzie
(image courtesy of Channel 4)

There is little doubt that the pressure on businesses in the run up to Brexit is huge, and particularly for those directly involved in haulage. He continues, “… with non-EU rules the customs burden on logistics companies to fill out forms is enormous”. He has a point: a few days ago the Government issued new updated advice after admitting they had not given enough information to hauliers to fill in forms.

So clearly, if it’s a no-deal Brexit there is not only the problem of access to the continent, but also the mountain of paperwork that will be needed. And that includes Green Cards.

Guidance from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) is that drivers should be prepared to have a Green Card when driving abroad after midnight on 28th March 2019.

This applies to travel in Europe (EEA, Andorra, Serbia, Switzerland) and includes transit from Northern Ireland to Ireland too.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is a certificate that shows you have minimum motor insurance for the country you are travelling to. Not having one does not mean you are not insured, rather that you do not have the documentation to prove it. In some countries it is illegal not to carry one.

A physical copy of a Green Card on green paper is required and digital copies are not acceptable. If you arrive at a border without one, you may not be allowed in to that country. If you are stopped at the roadside and do not have the correct paperwork you could be fined and have the vehicle impounded.

Fleet operators should obtain a Green Card from their insurers for each individual vehicle that operates in Europe.

How do I get one?

Your insurance broker can help you by arranging one on your behalf or you can speak directly with your insurer. Please allow sufficient time before travel, usually a month, so that all necessary documentation can be issued.

My business employs drivers who regularly cross EU borders, can I arrange their insurance?

Yes. As an employer you can arrange insurance cover on behalf of your employees. However, each driver is legally responsible for carrying their own documents.

Is that all?

No. Drivers with a UK driving licence travelling in the EU and EEA countries may also need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). These are available via Post Offices and there are different types depending on countries of travel.

Also, all commercial trailers weighing over 750kg and non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg must be registered with the DVLA before travel and a separate Green Card will be required.

What now?

For more detailed information, we have collated a brief list of useful websites giving the facts and updates as they occur in this ever changing landscape that is Brexit.
We are contacting our customers directly to offer guidance.

Additional Information

Insurance Advice
ABI – Travelling to the EU in the case of a no-deal Brexit

Driving abroad – International driving permits for UK drivers from 28 March 2019

Importing/Exporting after Brexit – Importing, exporting and transporting products or goods after Brexit

RHA – Brexit and the UK haulage industry


The BBC follows the latest updates on Brexit:
Brexit: Confusion over cross-border driving permit

…and finally

If  it all gets too much and you need a little light relief, then Whitehall have their very own cat commentary on matters Brexit this month.

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Bon Voyage.


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