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Brexit, Motorcycles and You

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With less than a month to go before the UK leaves the EU, it is still uncertain what the outcome of Brexit will be.

The current situation in parliament is strained, and it is becoming more likely we will leave with no-deal; so what does this mean for motorcyclists? Whether you’re travelling abroad, buying or selling motorcycles, it is imperative you stay up to date with the latest information.

Table of Contents

We’ve put together this up to date guide on Brexit and how it will affect travel to Europe with a motorcycle and the likely effects on motorcycling costs after 31 October 2019. 

Riding in Europe

After Brexit, there are more rules to follow when you travel to Europe; including taking your bike abroad. If you’re planning to go after 31 October, make sure to keep up to date with the latest government travel advice. We’ve put together a rundown on what you need to think about: 

Passport control

From the time of travel, your passport needs to have a minimum of 6 months left to the date of expiry and be less than 10 years old. If your passport falls outside these criteria, you need to apply for a renewal. 

Renewals can take anywhere from 3 weeks onwards, but if you’re travelling sooner, there is a premium service you can use which costs extra. 

Travelling to Ireland

If you’re going to Ireland, the rules for the rest of Europe do not apply. You are free to visit as long as your passport remains valid throughout the length of your stay.

Travel insurance

Whether you plan on taking your bike to Europe or hiring one, your travel documents must be valid to avoid any expensive medical bills.


With the current arrangement, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covered you in the event of medical assistance within the EU; primarily if you had a pre-existing condition. After Brexit, your EHIC may not be valid, so check with your travel insurance and inform them of any pre-existing conditions. 

Also, make sure your travel insurance includes “main method of transport” cover for a motorcycle, including if you plan on hiring one while you’re out there. 


The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a new travel authorisation system applicable to travellers to Europe outside of the Schengen area. ETIAS is a visa-waiver program designed to bypass the Schengen visa.

How does ETIAS affect British citizens after Brexit?

UK citizens do not need to apply for a Schengen visa. On 1 February 2019, the European Council stated: “EU ambassadors today agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa-free travel.” However, from 2021, UK citizens will be required to apply for the ETIAS visa-waiver for a small fee.

Driving documents

Under current legislation, UK citizens do not require much documentation on their person to drive in Europe. After Brexit, UK citizens will go back to using green cards and International Driving Permits (IDP).

Motorbike insurance – European cover

If you have European cover included in your policy, it is unlikely Brexit will affect the terms and conditions. Most policies provide cover up to 90 days per trip. The best thing you can do before you travel is contacting your insurer to confirm their coverage.

European Breakdown cover

The good news is, Brexit is unlikely to affect breakdown cover in Europe. The biggest names in breakdown, RAC and AA, have confirmed leaving the EU will not affect their policies. The bad news is, policy premiums will probably rise thanks to the change in exchange rates.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

If you are travelling to more than one country, you may need multiple International Driving Permits to drive in an EU or EEA country. 

There are 3 types of IDP available, and which one you need, depends on which country you’re driving in:

  • 1926 IDP
  • 1949 IDP
  • 1968 IDP

You can check which type you need on Gov.uk, along with further country requirements.

IDPs last for 1 to 3 years; you need to keep them with your driving licence. The Post Office issue IDPs to holders of a full UK driving licence, the cost of which is currently £5.50. You can apply up to 3 months before the date of travel and need to take a passport standard photograph. 

Vehicle green cards

If you plan on taking your bike in the EU, EEA, Switzerland, Serbia or Andorra, after Brexit, you’ll need to apply for a green card. If you plan on hiring a bike abroad, you won’t need to do this. The insurance you receive with your rental will cover you.

How do I apply for a vehicle green card?

To apply, you should contact your insurer one month before you are due to travel. Receiving a green card is free of charge although your insurer may request some admin fees.

Bike stickers

If you’re travelling to Europe or Ireland after Brexit, you must display a GB sticker on the back of your bike. Any numberplates, including an EU or GB symbol, will not be valid.

Other things riders should consider after Brexit

Speeding fines

Thanks to the EU Cross Border Directive, if you speed in an EU country, it is easier for countries to track you down and issue a speeding fine. When the UK leaves the EU on 31 October, it is not clear if the UK will continue to uphold this data sharing of UK citizens with the remaining EU countries. Therefore, we recommend you remain, good boys and girls, adhere to local road laws, and if you receive a fine, pay it on time.

Data roaming costs

Under current ruling, UK mobile networks supply free data roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. After 31 October 2019, this benefit will cease. Contact your mobile phone operator for their latest data roaming charges. Luckily, a new law has passed, which limits the cost of data charges to £45. If you want to continue using your data after this amount, call your operator to opt-in.

Visa requirements

The European Commission has stated: “You could stay for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, or to work or study.” 

What if I have a red passport with “European Union” on the front?

From October 2019, newly issued UK passports will be dark blue and no longer display EU wording. The good news is, the old-style red passports will stay valid until expiry. Make sure you have 6 months left before you travel to comply with visa-waiver requirements in Europe.

Licence laws

License laws will remain the same. Make sure you take your logbook (V5C) or a VE103 if you have a hire vehicle. Check out the Driving Documents section for other paperwork you should carry.

Will motorcycles cost more after Brexit?

There’s plenty of talk amongst the biking community about the probable rise in cost after 31 October. As we approach the deadline, it is increasingly likely we will leave with no deal. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has confirmed, if we do not reach a trade deal with the EU, the UK will fall into the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) category. Currently, the rates for imports are 6 – 8% depending on engine size. Thanks to this new tariff, we expect to see a rise in costs. If you’re considering buying British, there is also an increase in tariff for motorcycle parts and accessories, tyres have a 4.5% tax, and parts 3.7%. British made Triumph currently import parts for their bikes. Without a crystal ball, we can’t predict if prices will change drastically, but it’s something to consider.

After Brexit, how much will fuel cost in the UK?

Fuel prices frequently rise and fall, thanks to many factors. Economists are unable to predict the cost of fuel based on Brexit alone. The main factor for the price of fuel is the price of oil. If the value of the pound is weak against the US dollar, this increases the cost of fuel. 

Information for travel is updated regularly and is likely to change. We recommend staying up to date with the latest advice through gov.uk.

Questions or Comments?

If you’ve got a question about this article and you need a bit more guidance, drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

Likewise, if you’ve got something to add to this article or an experience you’d like to share, let’s hear it!

We love reading your comments and helping our readers.

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