Driving Licences & Brexit, Here Is What You Need To Know

As far as we all know, for the second time this year we will / might / probably won’t (delete as appropriate) be leaving the EU on October 31st.

Many of us have thought about what this means for the country, for the future of our families, our finances, our employment and even our living arrangements. Have you considered what may happen to your driving licence and your ability to drive legally?

For many of us, for many many years, we have taken for granted that we can drive around Europe without a care in the world. A blog I wrote back in February before the first deadline outlined what changes could happen to the simple task of driving in Europe after Brexit. But what if your legal right to drive is taken away for a period of time? let me explain…

What Do You Mean?

Many British people have and continue to leave Britain for a sunnier climate. Once there, depending on your desired destination, you have a certain amount of time to change your licence to a local one. This means surrendering your British driving licence and applying for a new one from the local version of the DVLA. As a member of the EU, this is quite a simple process, the information on your new licence pretty much reflects the information on your UK licence and can be used almost all over the world.

ONS Migration From The UKAfter October 31st, if the UK is no longer a member of the EU. New applications for driving licences will be dealt with in a different way. In some countries it will be as though you are applying for your very first licence and in some others, you may even have to sit another driving test at a local centre. But the biggest problem you may face is the start date on this new licence, as it no longer replicates what is written on your British licence, your valid from date will be the date of issue, not the date you passed your original driving test.

These are quite well known facts and among the main reasons why so many people have applied for their new licences within the last few months, this has created a huge backlog for local government agencies. We are hearing that in a lot of cases it can take up to 3 months for a licence to be processed, 6 to 9 months in Cyprus..

The ONS report that 343,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year to March 2019. How many of those do you think are still waiting for a driving licence application to go though?

What Does The Date Have To Do With Anything?

So the next time you are filling in an application for car insurance and you come across the question, How Long Have You Held Your Current Driving Licence? The answer will not be 25 years with 10 years NCB (No Claims Bonus), it will be just a few days or weeks. Will this affect your insurance premium? Yes probably. Perhaps more importantly for those who will be reading a blog on our website, what will it mean when hiring a car?

Well in some instances it could mean that you cannot hire a car when returning to the UK or visiting other countries, the vast majority of suppliers have a requirement that the driver must have held their driving licence for 2 years, some are 1 year but very few. There is only one supplier in the UK who will allow you to hire a car having held your licence for less than 12 months and with them you must be over 25 years old.

What About Your Temporary Licence?

If you are one of the many thousands of people above who have surrendered your licence while waiting for your application to go though then you should have received a temporary licence, basically a piece of paper from the local government confirming that you are who you say you are and you are entitled to drive. These were never intended to be in use for such a long period of time but with waiting lists like their are in Cyprus and Spain, you may have one for quite a while. What do you have planned in the next 9 months that you may need your driving licence for?

We work with one supplier in the UK who will accept this temporary licence. It is widely uncommon for this to happen but with the waiting list getting longer and longer we are seeing more and more people left with these ‘temporary licences’, do not get caught short if you need to hire a car over the next 9-12 months. With the uncertainty of what is going on in Europe it is always best to speak to us about your requirements before making any kind of booking. If there is a chance that you may not have a full, valid licence in your hands then we need to know ahead of time.

WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON OCTOBER 31ST, NOR DO WE KNOW IF A DEAL WILL MEAN THAT ALL OF THE ABOVE IS NONSENSE. WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING AROUND EUROPE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS THEN IT IS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.