What paperwork do I need to sort out for driving in France this Christmas?

driving in france

A lot was made of how Brexit would change driving in France or any other European country. It used to be pretty straightforward, so what’s different now. The reality is, not that much.

You need an up-to-date passport

The big change is that you need to have a passport that’s valid with at least six months left to run, for each occupant of the vehicle.

You don’t need an International Driving Permit

As long as you have a valid UK photocard driving licence that covers you for the vehicle you’re driving, it’ll be fine for the whole European Union. You don’t need to get an International Driving Permit.

What about insurance?

From August 2021, a Green Card (the name for the International Motor Insurance Card) is no longer required for travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, you do need a certificate of motor insurance for your vehicle. This should show third party cover at a minimum.

We would also advise you get breakdown cover. Repatriating a broken down vehicle from Europe can be hugely expensive if you don’t have it.

If you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will cover you. If you don’t, make sure your travel insurance covers all health eventualities.

driving in france
There are a few more things to remember when you drive abroad now (Picture©TyreSafe)

What about a GB sticker?

The French never seemed particularly bothered about GB stickers in the past. The advice is they’ve tightened up on that. If your registration plate has the EU symbol, you should get a GB sticker. You’ll also need a GB sticker if your number plate has the national flag of England, Scotland or Wales or no flag at all.

From September 2021, you should buy a UK sticker instead of a GB one.

If your number plate includes the GB identifier, either on its own or with the European flag, you don’t need to get another sticker.

What about COVID?

If you’re not vaccinated, you’re in for a world of pain. You can find out how much on this government website. If you are fully vaccinated, you can self-certify. You’ll find out more on this French government website.

The breathalyser question

For years the breathalyser has been a nonsense that perplexes everyone, French and English alike. The law said you had to carry a disposable breathalyser. But if you were stopped and didn’t have one, there wasn’t a punishment for it. Eh?

Thankfully, they’ve done away with that and you no longer need to carry a breathalyser at all.

Other paperwork

You must also carry a valid MOT certificate if your vehicle is more than three years old. And you should have your V5C registration document too. This should show your most recent address in the UK. If your vehicle is leased or hired, you need a VE103 document. This enables you to take your car out of the UK.

You can get a VE103 from the AA, the RAC, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, the Road Haulage Association and Logistics UK.

The kit you need to carry should include a warning triangle and a high visibility vest for each occupant of the car.