Caravanning & Motorhoming To The EU Post Brexit: All You Need To Know
The Brexit transition period has officially concluded. From January 2021, the rules for travelling between the UK and countries in the European Union has changed. This affects everyone from long-haul logistics companies to holidaymakers towing a caravan or driving a motorhome to Europe for their holidays.
There are several new stipulations that motorists must abide by to ensure safe and legal travel.
These affect anyone intending to drive their motorhome or tow a caravan to countries in the EU. So, if you’re planning a trip to a country in the European Union this year, here’s what has changed and what you need to look out for.
Check Your Passport
As of January 1st, 2021, anyone travelling to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein will need to ensure that they have no less than 6 months left on their passport from the date of travel before it expires.
If, however, you’re travelling from Ireland, you can still use your passport after 1st January, provided that it doesn’t expire whilst you’re travelling.
If you need to renew or replace your passport, remember that doing it online can take up to three weeks. If you’re applying for a new passport via the post, expect it to take a little longer.
In short, make sure that you factor in enough time to renew or replace your passport before travelling abroad
Apply for a Green Card
You will need to carry a green card as proof of insurance for the vehicle when driving in the EU. And, if you’re towing a caravan you will need to carry two green cards – one for the towing vehicle, and one for the caravan.
Remember that electronic copies of green cards are not accepted. When travelling to and around the EU, you’ll need to carry a physical copy of your green card(s).
If you are towing a caravan to the EU you will need to contact your insurer and tell them that you intend to tow a caravan. You will also need to make sure that your green card is Category F.
Moreover, caravan insurers are not responsible for third party insurance whilst towing the caravan. As mentioned earlier, both the AIB and MIB (insurance providers) advise that a separate green card is needed for your caravan.
You’ll Need an International Driving Permit (IDP)
According to Direct.gov, you won’t need an international driving permit (IDP) when you visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. However, you may need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:
- A paper driving licence
- A licence that was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man
You will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland if you hold a valid UK driving licence.
The good news is that you can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office. For an IDP to be issued you’ll need to show a valid photo-card licence, a standard passport photograph, and, if presenting an older paper version licence, you’ll need to present a valid passport as proof of identification. You’ll also need to pay a charge of £5.50 for the IDP to be issued.
Get a GB Sticker
As of January 1st, 2021, when travelling from the UK to the EU all cars, caravans and motorhomes will need to display a GB sticker.
If you’re travelling to the EU and towing a trailer, you’ll also need to display a GB sticker clearly on the trailer.
Register your Vehicle
Non-commercial trailers, including caravans and motorhomes weighing more than 3,500 kg must be registered before being permitted to travel to or through most European countries from the UK. This does not apply to vehicles travelling across the Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland border.
You can find the weight of your caravan on the information plate or sticker. This is usually found on the side of your caravan, close to the door.
As a guide, the MRO (or Mass in Running Order) is the weight of the caravan when it left the factory. The MTPLM figure is the maximum legal weight of your caravan when it has been fully loaded with all your possessions and any equipment required for the journey.
If you’re unsure of your caravan’s weight or cannot locate it, you’ll need to contact either the retailer or manufacturer who’ll be able to provide it to you.
The good news is that if you do need to register your caravan or motorhome, it’s a relatively straightforward process which you can do online.
Registration fees are just £26 when travelling throughout the EU for the first time, £21 when issuing a new registration certificate to a new registered keeper, or £10 for a replacement UK trailer certificate. Remember, you’ll need your VIN/Chassis Number.
Fifth Wheel Caravans
Before you travel to some countries in the EU in a commercial trailer with a gross weight of more than 750kg or a non-commercial trailer weighing more than 3,500kg, you’ll need to register it. This is applicable to anyone intending on towing a caravan with five wheels.
Under the terms of the Brexit agreement, it’s looking likely that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme will no longer by applicable to EU citizens from January 2021.
However, it’s worth remembering that this was never intended to be a replacement for travel health insurance. Despite the lack of a formal announcement clarifying the validity of the EHIC card, anyone travelling to and around Europe has to have the requisite travel insurance, including medical and repatriation cover.
Abide by the Schengen Agreement
Being a member of the EU afforded a large degree of freedom of movement around Europe. However, as of the start of 2021, you can leave and re-enter the Schengen area as often as you’d like. The only caveat is that you’re not permitted to stay for more than 90 days in any 6-month period.
Border agents in the Schengen area will monitor when you arrive and leave, recording the length of time that you’ve spent within the region. Each time you leave, border agents will check if you’ve exceeded the 90-day permissible period in the previous 180 days.
However, there’s something that anyone travelling to the Schengen areas will need to remember. Now that Brexit has been completed, British people will need to apply for a Visa waiver when travelling through the Schengen area. They’ll also need to have a valid Withdrawal Agreement document.
If you’re found to have ‘outstayed your welcome’ abroad, measures can be taken to remove you from the country. It’s paramount that you have all the requisite documentation. In saying that, the worst-case scenario is that you’ll face a fine, deportation or temporary ban on re-entering the country.
Go Caravanning and Motorhoming To The EU Post-Brexit
It’s clear that there are several changes that anyone travelling across Europe in a motorhome or caravan must face post Brexit. The good news is that the majority of these are simple changes that will not discourage holidaymakers from taking their motorhome or caravan abroad.
If you’re looking to finance a caravan, or get a loan for a motorhome, we can help you finance the ideal vehicle. Use our calculator here to see what you’re pay or get in touch with us today to find out more.
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Lending £15,000 over 7 years with a representative APR of 6.9%, an annual interest rate of 6.9% (Fixed), would cost £217.57 per month, with a total cost of credit of £3,275.88 and a total amount payable of £18,275.88.
Rates may differ as they are dependent on individual circumstances. Subject to status.