UK motorists may need new £660 driving licence to enter Europe in Brexit law change

Driving abroad: RAC's tips for driving in Europe

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Drivers will require a standard international goods vehicle operator licence to transport goods to the continent. The new law applies to the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and will come into effect from May 21, 2022.

This will apply to drivers in Great Britain or Northern Ireland who use vans or light commercial vehicles (LCVs), vans towing trailers and cars towing trailers.

For those who are affected by the changes, they will either need to add the vehicles to their goods vehicle operator licence or get a goods vehicle operator licence for the first time.

The Government website warns drivers that the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain or the Transport Regulation Unit in Northern Ireland will be able to take action if a road user does not add the vehicles to their licence.

There is no fee to add the vehicle to their licence if they have not reached their vehicle limit.

They will however need to pay £257 to make a “major variation” if they need to increase the vehicle limit on their licence.

This is on top of £401 they will need to pay for the licence, meaning some drivers will need to fork out over £650.

There is a further continuation fee every five years to keep their licence active which also costs £401.

The rule will only apply to those who are transporting goods for commercial purposes in a van or trailer with an authorised mass of over 2,500 kg (2.5 tonnes) and up to 3,500 kg (3.5 tonnes).

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The regulations apply only to those based in the UK, so if drivers want to take a van over from Spain to the UK then there is no need for the extra licence.

This comes as the UK Government was temporarily advising British expats they may need to “consider exchanging your UK driving licence for an EU licence”.

There were last minute discussions between the UK with France and Spain to allow British drivers to enter the European Union nations before the end of 2021.

The UK Embassy in Madrid announced in a Facebook post that a grace period had been accepted.

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