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Is Your GB Sticker No Longer Valid Abroad? Everything You Need To Know

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With Brexit and changing laws for both the UK and the EU, you'll find that your GB sticker is no longer valid abroad. What does this mean, and what can you do?

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As of the 28th September 2021, the legislation for UK vehicles travelling in other countries is changing. In particular, the GB sticker that British nationals have used for years will no longer be valid.

Going forward, anybody travelling with a British car outside of the UK will need to:

  • Be aware of the new rules
  • Display the new correct "UK" identification

So what kinds of number plate stickers do you need today, and what does this mean for your journeys?

What Do UK Drivers Need To Display Now?

Presently, British motorists driving outside of the UK will need to display a UK sticker or have a UK identifier on their number plate in order to legally drive outside of the UK.

The previous GB sticker was valid for vehicles from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland until the change came into place. According to government guidelines, if your car features the GB sticker or any of the following, then you will need to replace this with an official, modern UK sticker in order to drive abroad:

  • A GB identifier with the Union flag
  • A Euro symbol
  • The national flag of England, Scotland, or Wales
  • Numbers and letters only – with no flag or identifier

In contrast, any vehicles that have a number plate with a UK identifier and a Union flag (more commonly known as the Union Jack) will not need to display a separate UK sticker.

Do The Rules Vary By Country?

The rules differ slightly in some countries. For example:

  • A UK sticker or number plate will not be required to drive in the Republic of Ireland, despite this country not being a part of the UK.
  • Conversely, a UK sticker must be displayed in order to drive in Spain, Cyprus, or Malta – even if a UK identifier is included on the registration plate.

Penalties for failing to comply with the new legislation also vary from country to country. Fines will likely be enforced as a response to non-compliance, but some countries may even deny entry if a vehicle is not fitted with the correct signage.

Be sure to research the laws in any specific nation before travelling there. This will ensure compliance with their local rules and help you avoid penalties.

Do I Need To Remove My GB Sticker Or Sign?

Guidelines from the UK government advise that anyone travelling outside of the UK should remove or cover their GB sticker.

Edmund King, president of the AA, voiced concern in July that many classic cars feature a hard metal GB sign, which add a historical element that is valuable to collectors. As such, owners of such vehicles may not want to remove it. If you have concerns about keeping your hard metal sign, we advise using a UK identifier sticker to cover the sign only while driving outside of the UK.

Planning A Trip Away Soon?

If you intend on driving your car abroad, be sure to check that it's legally compliant and in good working condition first. Road-worthiness can vary from country to country, especially when entering and leaving the EU.

To make sure you're ready for the trip, be sure to pop into your local Autofusion centre. We're happy to perform a full service check and ensure your journey will be smooth.