Local drivers may need to obtain an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario, the Gibraltar Government said yesterday.
This was the latest in a series of guidance notes issued by the Gibraltar Government and covering a myriad of aspects that could affect citizens if the UK leaves the bloc with no withdrawal agreement.
Setting out how drivers could be affected after March 2019 if there is no deal, the Government said: “Your driving licence may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU.”
“If you move to another EU country to live, you may not be able to exchange your licence after the UK and Gibraltar have left the EU.”
An IDP is a document which when carried with a driving licence means drivers would be able to drive outside Gibraltar including in all EU countries.
Drivers would need both a driving licence and an IDP whether they are driving in a private or professional capacity.
The IDP will cost £6.00
There are different types of IDP and which one you need depends on which country you are driving in.
The Government explained: “If you currently drive outside the EU, for example in some states of the USA and countries including Africa, you may already be used to obtaining an IDP.”
“You may be turned away at the border or face other enforcement action, for example fines, if you don’t have the correct IDP.”
“You may also need an IDP to hire a vehicle when you are abroad.”
There are two types of IDP required by EU countries. Each is governed by a separate United Nations convention.
One type is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. The other type is governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.
The version of the IDP depends on which EU country being visited and whether it is party to the 1949 or the 1968 convention.
Each type of IDP is valid for a different period.
The 1949 convention IDP lasts for 12 months. After 28 March 2019 in the EU, a Gibraltar issued 1949 IDP would be recognised in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus.
The 1968 Convention IDP is valid for three years, or for however long your driving licence is valid, if that is less than three years.
As part of the exit preparations the UK ratified the 1968 Convention, and it will come into force on March 28, 2019.
The Gibraltar Government said it is working with the UK for the 1968 Convention to be extended to Gibraltar and for it to come into force on 28 March 2019 at the same time as the UK. A Gibraltar issued 1968 Convention IDP will be recognised in all EU countries, and also Norway and Switzerland.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, anyone visiting and driving in an EU country after March 2019, for example on holiday, would need both a Gibraltar driving licence and the appropriate IDP.
Drivers would need both types of IDP if they are visiting EU countries covered by different conventions, for example France and Spain.
Drivers can currently get the 1949 type IDP at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing counters situated at Eastern Beach Road.
As from February 1, 2019 the Government will begin providing IDPs.
If the 1968 convention is extended to Gibraltar, from this date, drivers will be able to apply for both 1949 and 1968 types of IDP at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing counters.
From the date of application to obtaining the IDP will take five working days.
Moving to or living in the EU
If, after exit day, a driver becomes resident in an EU country, they would not have the automatic right under EU law to exchange their Gibraltar licence for a driving licence from the EU country they are living in.
Depending on the laws of the EU country, drivers may need to take a new driving test in that country.
They can avoid this by exchanging their Gibraltar driving licence for one from the EU country they move to or live in before March 29, 2019.
Gibraltar licence holders who do this will be able to re-exchange for a Gibraltar licence if they return to live in the Gibraltar.
With regards to how drivers and motor insurance providers would be affected if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the Government explained that motorists who would need a Green Card as proof of insurance.
Motor insurance businesses are responsible for providing Green Cards.
Motor insurance companies based in Gibraltar already issue Green cards for all Gibraltar vehicles.
However, the future use of such Green Cards in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit remains unclear, the government said.
Notwithstanding this, those companies based in Gibraltar that are representatives for the UK Motor Insurance Bureau would follow any agreements made by them.