After months of negotiation and media speculation, the UK has now officially left the EU with a Brexit trade deal. In spite of this, there are a few changes that you need to be aware of if you are planning to take your Motability Scheme vehicle abroad.
Whilst we appreciate that foreign travel is difficult at the moment, you might already have earmarked your next summer holiday destination, so it is worth getting up to speed on the changes now.
The good news is that you can still take your Scheme vehicle to the same countries that you could before Brexit, namely the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. However, you will now need to get a Green Card from RSA Motability (RSAM) before you travel.
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is a document that proves your vehicle is insured if you are driving in Europe. You will need to carry this with you whenever you take your Scheme vehicle abroad, including to the Republic of Ireland.
How do I get a Green Card?
You might be aware that, even before Brexit, you needed to take a VE103 (Vehicle on Hire) certificate with you when travelling abroad in your Scheme vehicle and this remains the case. A VE103 proves that you have our permission to take the vehicle abroad and is obtained by calling the RAC Motability Assist foreign travel line on 0800 73 133 10.
To make things easier for you, RSAM will automatically issue your Green Card when you request your VE103 from the RAC. In most cases, the Green Card will be valid for 12 months.
However, if you live in Northern Ireland, RSAM will automatically issue you with a Green Card to ensure you can travel freely throughout the whole of Ireland for the duration of your lease. If you are an existing customer in Northern Ireland you may have already received your Green Card, but if not, you will shortly be issued with one to cover the remainder of your current lease. If you have lost your Green Card since it was issued, please contact RSAM on 0300 037 3737 to request a replacement.
It is worth noting that if you are towing a caravan or trailer this will need a further Green Card of its own. You can request this from RSAM by calling 0300 037 3737. They will issue a Green Card free of charge, but please be aware they will only provide third party cover whilst the trailer or caravan is attached to your Motability Scheme vehicle.
If you are a powered wheelchair or scooter customer, you do not need a Green Card or any other documents to take your product abroad.
Has anything else changed?
Other than the requirement for a Green Card, the rules on taking your vehicle abroad remain largely the same as they were before Brexit, but you will now be required to display a GB sticker on your vehicle at all times while you are outside of the UK.
If you have a UK photocard driving licence, this will still be valid when taking your Scheme car abroad. However, if you hold a UK paper driving licence, you may now need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in some European countries.
These requirements may also change again in the future, so it is worth checking whether you require an IDP before you travel, even if you hold a photocard licence. More information can be found on the Government website or Post Office website.
What else do I need to know?
Travel rules can vary between countries, so it is always important to check whether there are any specific requirements for the country you are visiting. Many European countries require you to carry items such as a first aid kit and a reflective vest in your vehicle, so you should make sure you are prepared before you set off. For more information on what is required in the country you are travelling to, visit the RAC website.
It is also worth taking a Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident form in case you have an accident while you are abroad. These can be printed in English and the language of the country you are visiting, so that you can easily exchange details with another driver despite any potential language barrier. You can obtain a copy of this form from www.cartraveldocs.com.
Bookmark the Government’s website for the latest information on travelling to the EU. In addition to the driving documents mentioned above you will also need:
- Passport valid for at least six months
- Travel insurance that covers healthcare
- Animal health certificate if you’re travelling with pets