‘Hard Brexit’ Could Force Millions To Retake Their Driving Test

Tue 15th Jan 2019

The prospect of a no-deal withdrawal from the European Union has many in the motor industry worried and has led to the Department for Transport outlining the problems British drivers may face when driving on the continent.

A no-deal scenario will mean that those with a UK driving licence who want to drive in Europe will have to purchase an International Driving Permit for £5.50 from the Post Office. But the nightmare scenario will hit those 1.3million expats living within the EU, who will not be allowed to apply for an IDP.

Though the UK government has given assurances that EU nationals living in Britain won’t have to retake their driving test, there are worries that the deal won’t be reciprocated and expats living in France and Spain would be forced to retake their test.

The AA president, Edmund King, has said warned of the potential injustice: “This is grossly unfair. Like all of these arrangements, it should work both ways.

“Thousands of expats, many of them elderly, will not relish the prospect of having to re-take their driving test in a different country and different language if there is no deal.
“Drivers without the appropriate IDPs could also be turned back at the ports. Unless these Brexit issues are sorted out soon many UK drivers living in Europe may well need to start practising for a new driving test.”

The DfT has advised that if no deal is reached with the EU, British drivers will be able to apply for the International Driving Permit, but from February 1st they will not be able to apply by post and will have to visit a Post Office.

A DfT spokesman said: “The department has been fully preparing for a range of scenarios and has focused on no-deal planning for some time.

“The Government is seeking to put in place new arrangements to ensure UK driving licences continue to be recognised.

“However, in a no-deal scenario an International Driving Permit will provide certainty to UK motorists visiting and driving in the EU after exit day.”