A Hard Brexit : Green Cards and UK Driving Licences

Following the rejection of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons on the 12th March 2019 we are now looking at one of two possible Brexit scenarios:

  1. A Hard (or No-Deal) Brexit or
  2. A delay beyond 29th March for an as yet undefined period.

In the event of a delay there will be no immediate changes for people in the Republic of Ireland wishing to drive in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, or for holders of Full UK Driving Licences who are living in Ireland.

However, in the event of a Hard Brexit there will be immediate repercussions as outlined below.

Green Card

In the event of a Hard Brexit any person from the Republic of Ireland will need to be in physical possession of a Green Card in order to drive in Northern Ireland or Great Britain.

The Green Card will be the only acceptable evidence of Insurance. Having a Green Card will stop you being treated as ‘uninsured’ by the police, the penalties for which can be severe, including having your car seized at the side of the road, fines and impoundment.

Please note that an image (photo or email attachment) of a Green Card is not acceptable – you must have a physical Green Card in your possession.

You will not require a Green Card to travel anywhere else in the EU. Your current Certificate of Insurance is sufficient, but please check your policy to ensure that you have cover for the full duration of your journey.

In the event of a delay in Brexit there will be no changes, and no requirement for a Green Card while driving in the UK, at least for the time being.

If you wish to find out more about Green Cards you can visit the website of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland – www.mibi.ie.

UK Licence Holders

Currently holders of Full UK licences living in Ireland, like holders of other Full EU licences, are entitled to drive in the Republic of Ireland.

However, in the event of a Hard Brexit, the driving licence of a UK licence holder living here in Ireland will not be recognised and the driver will not be able to continue to drive here in the Republic of Ireland on that licence.

The advice to such drivers is that they should exchange their UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence before the 29th March 2019.

If they wait until after 29th March their UK licence will be a non-EU Licence and they will not be entitled to a Full Irish licence.

They will instead have to pass the Driving Theory Test and then apply for a Learner Permit.  They will need to complete 6 hours EDT in order to apply for their Driving Test and will only be entitled to apply for a Full Irish licence by passing this test.

In the period between 29th March and obtaining a Learner permit these drivers will not be legally permitted to drive in the Republic of Ireland.

For the period they are driving on a Learner Permit the driver will be subject to all of the restrictions which apply to Learner Permits (must be accompanied, cannot driver on Motorways etc.).

There are also potential insurance implications as Insurers may apply increased excesses, increase premiums or apply accompaniment warranties for holders of Learner Permits.  Currently it is up to each Insurer to determine how they will respond in these situations.

We therefore strongly recommend that any Full UK licence holder living in the Republic of Ireland make immediate arrangements to exchange their licence for a Full Irish licence.

Please note that visitors to Ireland (as opposed to people living here) will continue to be permitted to drive here on their Full UK driving licence.

Also, holders of Full Irish licences will be able to drive in the UK either as visitors or as residents in the UK.

To find out more about the Hard Brexit implications for your UK Licence and how to exchange it for a Full Irish licence you can visit the website of the National Driver Licence Service – www.ndls.ie.

If you have any queries please Contact Us!

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