Union Flag to replace EU flag on driving licences and number plates

A test of the system is expected to go live in September 2017.

So, who’s ready for a makeover?

British symbols including the Union Flag are set to replace the European Union flag on UK driving licences and number plates, marking a “historic moment” in the post-Brexit process.

The shift in design has been announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) in a bid to mark the UK’s exit from the EU – with the first batches issued from January 1.

‘Looking to the future’

Replacing the EU symbol, the Union Flag and ‘GB’ will now appear on number plates, while ‘UK’ will appear on driving licences for anyone renewing or getting one for the first time.

Current licences and number plates will remain valid until the next time you need to renew or change car.

The alteration comes as new agreements between the UK and member states have paved the way for easier driving for Brits in the EU, post-lockdown.

UK drivers with photocard licenses will not need an international driving permit to drive in any of the 27 EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

On top of this, we won’t need to display a GB sticker in most EU countries if our number plate has either GB, or GB and a Union Flag on it.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Changing the designs of our driving licences and number plates is a historic moment for British motorists, and a reassertion of our independence from the EU one year on from our departure.

“Looking to the future, whether it’s for work or for holidays abroad, these changes mean that those who want to drive in the EU can continue to do so with ease.”

Fixed rules

With national restrictions still in place, these new agreements show what driving will be like in the EU when the current situation eventually subsides. 

If you’re planning on driving abroad post-Covid, and your number plate doesn’t have GB on it alone or together with the Union Flag, you’ll still need to get a GB sticker.

And regardless of whether your vehicle has the new design or not, you’ll need to get a Green Card to prove you have car insurance when driving in the EU.

See our guide on driving in Europe after Brexit to further prepare yourself for driving on the continent.

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