Not all of us really wanted to leave the EU, but here we are in January 2021, officially divorced from our European neighbours. So what does this mean for our future automotive adventures abroad? We did some digging through the new rules, and this is what we found:
Driving to Europe from January 1st 2021.
Firstly, before you even load your car to travel to Europe mean you must have at least 6 months on your passport and the passport must be less than 10 years old.
Driving in Europe
Your photo UK driving licence will apply in Europe. But you will need a Green Card, which is issued by your Insurance company and offers proof you are insured for this vehicle. If you have a collection of cars, you need one Green Card for each car, bike or the tow vehicle you have with you and the trailer.
You will also need a GB sticker, and in some countries you will need an IDP (International Driving Permit) but not in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. There are 3 different types of IDP, the country you are visiting will determine which one you need, and you can pick up an IDP in person at main UK Post Offices. It costs £5.50. Morocco, Monaco and Mexico all require IDPs, there is a list of countries and their respective IDPs here otherwise it is best to check with the embassy of the country you are heading to.
Towing a trailer
Firstly if you are just driving on holiday or attending a race meeting in your own car, with a small bag of tools, you just need your V5 document, your driving licence and the green card.
If you are also transporting a quantity of spare tyres / wheels/ replacement body parts/ and other car spares you WILL also need to complete a temporary admission form: CLICK HERE – it could potentially involve having to pay a customs clearance agent to complete and the possible need to lodge a deposit wit customs. Ideally contact the relevant embassy in London to see what their temporary import procedure is.
If you are towing your own trailer you also need a Green card for the trailer and if it is plated as under 3500 kg you WONT need to register it. However it must be insured and you must get a Green card to prove this.
If your personal trailer is plated to carry 3500 kgs or you are transporting cars for others commercially you WILL need to register your trailer to drive into Europe. It costs just £26 and all our closest neighbours (France, Belgium and the Netherlands) are all on the list. You will also need to ensure your tow vehicle is plated to tow 3500 kgs to avoid any penalties.
Towing your race car to Europe
If you are towing your own race car to Europe, you need:
- Your driving licence
- GB Sticker
- V5 document of your tow vehicle
- Green card for the tow vehicle
- Your passport
- The V5 registration of the race car (on the trailer)
- Green Card for the race car
- Trailer registration (if needed – see above) – and green card for the trailer
As per the guidance we have received via GBCC and their governing body: – If your race car is road registered and going to Europe for racing purposes then as long as it has insurance and a V5 it DOESN’T need a temporary movement certificate. (ie ata carnet) – BUT this has yet to be tested!
If your car is NOT road registered and you don’t have a V5, or it is being transported by someone else – like your team – you WILL need an ATA Carnet or temporary export note. (See Below) – But once you have purchased your Carnet it will last 12 months.
If you are UK race or rally licence holder you can access a special arrangement Motorsport UK has secured with the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) for Motorsport UK members of a fixed price processing/arrangement fee of £240+VAT PLUS an additional payment which is the Premium. The premium can either be a refundable deposit of 40% of the vehicle’s insured value or a non-refundable insurance premium to cover the 40% proportion of the premium.
Getting your car transported by a commercial operator or team:
If you place your road/ race car in the hands of a commercial operator it becomes ‘Goods’ and regardless of having a V5 & Insurance it will still need a Green card inside the car, and a Carnet to include all spares.
We spoke to Peter Bonham-Christie at Straight Eight Logistics he told us:
“We will be offering customers a hassle free service, with a fee for transportation and a fee for the ATA Carnet, we have a direct link with the Carnet office and we can print them out on-site.”
“The information required from customers, will be: Make, model, registration number, chassis no, colour, plus a list of any spares and their weight. If any of the paperwork is incorrect for a vehicle we are carrying it will stop the whole shipment, so it must be accurate and it won’t be possible to do last minute car changes, as the ATA Carnets will be booked and paid for in advance.”
Peter also told us they predict issues where parts and lubricants may be used on a race event, and return shipments are going to differ from the out-going paperwork, all these details may hinder returns to the UK. They believe a simpler system is going to be needed going forward, no-doubt it will change as the year unfolds. (Let’s hope!)
The UK government is currently offering a 12 month grace period of any car already in Europe which needs to return to the UK, can do so with simplified import paperwork. This has been already tested with varying results of success!
If anyone has tested the new system – please could they report back to me at email@example.com. So that others can learn and we can fast-track others also planning to race in Europe. We will continue to update this page and report back to our sources of information – Thank you
Since writing this feature on 13 January. We have received a number of additional questions:
- What about the car spares and tools we take away racing? – We went back to GBCC to ask this and have found out that if you are carrying an amount of spares and tools (more than the average person has in the boot of their car) then you will need to apply for a temporary pass to take these goods out of the country. We have added this procedure to the instructions above.
- What about racers coming from Europe into the UK to race with their cars? – Same rules should apply. If the EU allow UK registered vehicles on the road or to be towed then our treatment would be reciprocal. If they’re coming to compete with non-road registered vehicles then they will have to follow temporary import procedures(ie a carnet) and if they are bringing in an abundanceof spares, parts, tools etc then that will not be covered and will need to follow temporary import procedures.
- Is it likely to be changed or get better as the year goes on? – Not anytime soon, any changes to procedure such as exemptions for Motorsport licence holders to move freely around Europe, would require MUK members to lobby their MP /foreign office /department for transport and require the UK and EU to return to the negotiating table to discuss and arrange. Sadly, Motorsport is likely to be a long way down the list of terms which require urgent review.
- Finally, apparently the French have introduced new regs for all vehicles over 3500Kg to have blind spot stickers at the rear and on the sides. This is going to apply to foreign owned vehicles too, and includes motorhome apparently, plus the stickers will be needed on the trailers. It is law now and fines start from 1st April – Morte Angle stickers can easily be found on eBay.