Do I need a Green Card to drive my own car in Europe?

Where do you need a Green Card to be able to drive? Read our guide to keep up with the latest requirements.

Where do you need a Green Card to be able to drive? Read our guide to keep up with the latest requirements.

Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
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Last Updated 9 DECEMBER 2022

Am I insured to drive in the EU?

All UK car insurance policies give you a minimum of third-party cover if you’re driving in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

However, even if you have comprehensive or third-party fire and theft car insurance in the UK, it’s possible you’ll only have third-party cover while driving abroad. That means you won’t be covered if your car is damaged or stolen, but you will be covered for the cost of damage to someone else’s car.

Find out more about car insurance for driving in Europe. You could also consider taking out European breakdown cover.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that provides visiting motorists with proof of the minimum compulsory insurance cover required by the law of the country they’re visiting.

Do I need a Green Card to drive in the EU? 

No. A Green Card was needed to drive in the EU straight after Brexit, but this is no longer the case.

You don’t need to carry a Green Card if you’re driving in the EU (including Ireland), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia or Andorra. The move has been welcomed in Ireland, where drivers can find themselves frequently crossing the border between north and south.

Even though you may not need to produce a Green Card, you’ll still need valid vehicle insurance. You can use your insurance certificate to prove to police or border authorities that you have the right paperwork.

Which countries will I need a Green Card to drive in?

You may still need to carry a Green Card to drive in:

  • Albania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Moldova
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

Outside Europe, you may also need a Green Card to drive in Iran, Israel, Morocco, and Tunisia.

The golden rule before driving abroad is to check with your insurance provider that you have everything you need ahead of time. For information on what you’ll need to drive abroad, call your insurance provider, or visit

Do I need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU? 

You don’t need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. You may need one for some EU countries and Norway if you have a paper driving licence or one that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. To be sure, you’ll need to check with the relevant embassy.

You may need an IDP in some countries if you’re there for an extended stay – for example, 30 days in Cyprus, or 12 months in Malta.

See if you need to apply for an IDP.

How do I get an international driving permit (IDP)? 

You can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office. They can only be issued to drivers aged 18 or over with a full driving licence, who live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. You’ll need a passport-style picture, plus your passport for identification if you have a paper UK driving licence.

You should always carry your UK driving licence and vehicle log book with you, too.

How do I apply for a Green card?

If you’re travelling outside of the EU and need a Green Card, you’ll have to ask your insurance provider for one. They’ll usually post it to you, which can take up to six weeks, so make sure you allow plenty of time to apply ahead of your trip.

Some insurance providers might let you print the Green Card at home. If you choose this option, you’ll need to print it double-sided and in colour – it must have a green background by law. You’ll also need to trim off any white edges so that the green shows edge to edge.

Your insurance provider may charge you an admin fee to send you a Green Card.

Some insurance providers may email you a Green Card.

Please note that even if you bought your car insurance through Comparethemarket, you need to apply to your insurance provider for your Green Card. Comparethemarket can’t provide you with a Green Card.

What happens if I want to travel at short notice?

You’ll be fine if you’re travelling in the EU or EEA states, as you won’t need a Green Card. If you’re going somewhere else and haven’t had chance to get a Green Card from your insurance provider, one alternative is to hire a car in the country you’re visiting and arrange local cover.

What information do I need to provide to get a Green Card?

Your insurance provider will need to know: 

  • Your policy number
  • Where you’re travelling
  • Your travel dates
  • Whether you’ll be towing a caravan or trailer. This is because some countries ask that the vehicle being towed has its own Green Card.

If I have more than one car, will one Green Card cover all of them?

You’ll need a Green Card for each of your cars. This is the case even if you have more than one car insured on a single policy. 

You’ll need multiple Green Cards if: 

  • You have fleet or multi-car insurance (one for each vehicle)
  • You have more than one policy that covers the duration of your trip.

You may also need one if your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan (one for the main vehicle and another for the trailer or caravan – and you may need separate trailer insurance)

You’ll need to show your Green Cards if you’re involved in an accident.

Which countries are in the EU or EEA? 

The EU countries are (in alphabetical order): 

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden.

The European Economic Area includes all the European Union countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a Green Card last?

Green Cards are typically valid for 90 days, but tell your insurance provider if you’re going to be abroad for longer so they can extend it.

If your car insurance is set to renew while you’re away, it’s best to shop around for another policy before you go and arrange a Green Card to run alongside the new policy.

What do I need to know about driving in Europe after Brexit?

If you’re driving your own car abroad, you must display a UK sticker on the back (unless your number plate has a Union Jack on it).

Will there be insurance checks at the border?

This depends on the country and the border authority. Some may ask you to show proof of car insurance and, if required, your Green Card. This is more likely if you’re travelling from an EU/EEA country into one outside the bloc. You may also have to show your card if you’re stopped by police.

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