GB plates become legal for most EU travel
31 January 2021
GB plates become legal for most EU travel. They do not have to be accompanied by a GB oval except in Spain, Cyprus and Malta.
What plates can I use for EU travel without a GB oval?
Post-Brexit, UK vehicles travelling abroad now have to comply with Vienna Convention rules for cross–border traffic. This requires “GB” as the UK distinguishing sign of registration to be shown on the plate. However, for internal UK travel the “GB” must be accompanied by the Union Flag – see The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) (Amendment) Regulations 2009.
Now in January 2021, unlike all other plates, plates with the GB initials and Union Flag do not have to also show a GB oval for EU travel. The exceptions to this rule are in Spain, Cyprus and Malta, where any UK number plate must be accompanied by a GB sticker.
A bit of background – UK plates travelling to the EU
Before 2021, it was permitted to fit GB EU star plates and, once fitted, to drive in the EU without an accompanying GB oval.
However, from 1st January 2020, any UK vehicle driving in the EU had to display a GB oval, regardless of the plate design and flag included.
Now, in January 2021, this has changed again so that under Vienna Convention rules UK drivers travelling to the EU can display plates with the Union Flag and GB initials, with no need for the accompanying GB oval.
The exceptions to this rule are in Spain, Cyprus and Malta, where any UK number plate must be accompanied by a GB sticker.
Find out more
Motor traders registered with the DVLA’s Register of Number Plate Suppliers can order GB + Union Flag components or plates from their BNMA member manufacturer.
To find out more about what’s allowed for EU driving, view Gov.uk, The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic or take a look at the Transport Secretary’s tweet summarising the changes:
- Gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-the-eu
- Tweet from the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps: https://twitter.com/grantshapps/status/1344686127341596672
- The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/679994/MS1.2018_CM9570__Convention_on_Road_Traffic_WEB.pdf