GB number plate stickers no longer valid abroad? Everything you need to know.

Bradley Jando | Tuesday 12th October 2021 10:36am

Worn GB sticker on the back of a dirty car

As of the 28th September 2021, the legislation for UK vehicles travelling in other countries is changing and 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, and to display the new correct ‘UK’ identification.

What do UK drivers now need to display?

British motorists driving outside of the UK will now need to display a UK sticker or have a UK identifier on their number plate in order to 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 a UK sticker in order to drive overseas:

  • 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

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 or Ireland, despite 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.

The penalties for failing to comply to the new legislation will also vary from country to country. It is likely that fines will be in place for non-compliance, while some countries may even deny entry if a vehicle is not fitted with the correct signage.

Be sure to research the law in any specific country before travelling there to ensure compliance with their local rules.

Do I need to remove my GB sticker or sign?

The government guidelines 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 so they may not want to remove it. If you have concerns about keeping your hard metal sign then we would advise using a UK identifier sticker to cover the sign only while driving outside of the UK.

Planning a trip away soon?

If you’re looking to take your car overseas then be sure to check it is in good working condition first – the last thing you want is to break down in an unfamiliar country. Why not pop in to your local Kwik Fit centre for a service to make sure your car is running as well as possible, or a free vehicle health check for peace of mind before you get on the road.

If you’re looking for some new tyres for your road trip, don’t look past the new Michelin CrossClimate 2. Michelin’s brand new all-season tyre offers excellent braking performance across all weather conditions, and with its 3PMSF (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) certification you can be sure you’ll be ready to tackle any terrain you find along your travels.

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