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Govt advises on ‘cumbersome’ post-Brexit processes for drivers

The Gibraltar Government has advised on the “difficult, cumbersome and bureaucratic” processes that could be imposed post-Brexit on drivers.

In a technical notice issued on Monday, the Government outlined that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could see drivers need to hold International Driving Permits.

The Government advised there are three types of International Driving Permits, the 1926 IDP only required for Liechtenstein, 1949 IDP required for Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Andorra and Cyprus and 1968 IDP required for all other EU Member States, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland.

“The type of IDP you may need depends on the country you will be driving in,” the notice said.

“Drivers are advised to check this carefully since, for example, if you are driving to Portugal via Spain, you may need both a 1949 IDP and a 1968 IDP.”

“The 1949 IDP is valid for a period of 12 months (or less, depending on whether your driving licence has less than 12 months left to expire). The 1968 IDP is valid for a period of up to 3 years (or less, depending on whether your driving licence has less than 3 years left to expire).”

IDPs can be obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Department on Eastern Beach Road. There is a £6 fee for the issue of IDPs.

The Government added that European driving licences will still be recognised in Gibraltar.

“Therefore, those coming to Gibraltar to work or on holiday in future should not be required to hold a separate IDP to guarantee the recognition of their driving licences in Gibraltar,” the Government said.

The notice detailed that the Government may review this policy depending on whether reciprocal arrangements are reached with individual countries.

Those residing in an EU member state or planning to move to one will not have a right to exchange driving licences.

“[If you] change your residence to that of an EU Member State, you will not have an automatic right under EU law to exchange your Gibraltar driving licence for a driving licence issued by the EU Member State in which you live,” the Government said.

“Depending on the laws of the EU Member State you move to, you may need to take a new driving test in that country. Those Gibraltar driving licence holders currently living in EU Member States can avoid this by exchanging their Gibraltar driving licences for an EU one ahead of 31 December 2020. Persons who do this will be able to re-exchange their EU Member State driving licence for a Gibraltar driving licence if they return to live in Gibraltar in future.”

“For EU Member State driving licence holders who have passed their test in the EU and come to Gibraltar to live, HMGoG intends to preserve the same arrangements which exist today.”

“Driving licences will therefore be able to be exchanged for Gibraltar driving licences on the same basis after 31 December 2020. As is the case today, EU driving licence holders who passed their test outside the EU may have restrictions on licence exchange and may need to take a test in order to obtain a Gibraltar driving licence. Again, HMGoG may review this policy depending on the reciprocal arrangements that are reached with individual countries.”

After Brexit on January 1, 2021, EU Member States may enforce requirements to have GBZ stickers on the rear of their vehicles, the Government said.

The notice explained this may be the case even if the driver currently has a number plate which includes the GBZ identifier.

“You may therefore need a GBZ sticker even if you have a number plate with the Euro symbol and the Gibraltar (GBZ) national identifier,” the notice said.

“HMGoG is making arrangements for GBZ stickers to be available for purchase from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Department on Eastern Beach Road. They can also, of course, be purchased from other retailers.”

In terms of insurance the Government said motorists will need to carry an insurance Green Card when driving in Europe after December 31.

“If you currently drive your vehicle abroad in Europe it is likely that you will have this already,” the notice said.

“In any event, drivers are advised to check that their motor vehicle insurance arrangements are in order. In case of any doubt, further information can be sought from your insurance company.”

In a statement the Government said it is important that citizens and businesses are aware of the changes and, where possible, they plan ahead.

“The Government can only prepare in areas that are within its control,” the notice said.

“Even then, there will be certain areas where mitigation is not possible because the new situation simply reflects what it means to be outside the European Union.”

If there is a Brexit agreement, these matters with respect to the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licences will not be covered in any potential UK-EU Agreement on the future relationship.

“It is therefore the case that, even in case of an EU-UK Agreement, these matters will not be catered for within this wider framework,” the Government said.

“Therefore, the UK Government is currently engaged in separate discussions with EU Member States and the EFTA Member States individually to agree future arrangements. The intention is for these arrangements to be extended to Gibraltar.”

“These arrangements could cover, for example, issues related to the reciprocal recognition of driving licences and the preservation of current procedures with respect to the exchange of driving licences.”

The Government added that, at the same time as planning for no agreement, it continues to work hard for an agreement on the future relationship between Gibraltar and the European Union that “does not cross Gibraltar’s well-known red lines.”