Driving to Europe after lockdown - the current rules around getting to the Continent

Coronavirus has a had a huge effect on the holiday plans of millions of people around the UK.

With countries banning all non-essential travel and the tourism and travel industry around Europe locked down, carefully laid plans were torn up or abandoned entirely.

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Now, with the UK coming out of lockdown and much of Europe in a similar situation, people are looking to take advantage and book last-minute breaks. And while air travel is once again possible, for some people the relative isolation and flexibility of driving is a more attractive prospect.

So here we look at the latest guidance for driving to and around Europe.

Driving to France

While ferries do run to other parts of Europe, France is the main gateway for drivers between the UK and mainland Europe and with the easing of lockdown in the UK and France, the Eurotunnel and ferry operators began running services between England and France.

However, since August 15, France has been removed from the UK's list of approved travel corridors. This means the Government is advising against all but essential travel to th country and has imposed a compulsory 14-day quarantine on anyone returning from France.

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France is expected to introduce a reciprocal restriction on travellers from the UK, meaning anyone heading to France will have to self-isolated for 14 days.

Eurotunnel is among the cross-Channel services that has restarted (Photo: Shutterstock)Eurotunnel is among the cross-Channel services that has restarted (Photo: Shutterstock)
Eurotunnel is among the cross-Channel services that has restarted (Photo: Shutterstock)

Other ferry destinations

Ferries also run from the UK to Belgium and the Netherlands, allowing for holidaymakers to drive directly there.

As with France, Belgium and the Netherlands have recently been removed from the list of travel corridor destinations. that means anyone returning from there will have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the UK.

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Driving around Europe

Each EU country has its own rules on those entering by road but for most of mainland Europe, it is possible to drive between countries without restrictions.

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However, local restrictions continue to change and full up-to-date details of each country’s entry and travel restrictions can be found on the Re-open EU website or via the individual countries’ government websites.

Returning from Europe

(Photo: Shutterstock)(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)

The decision to remove France and other countries from the list of safe destinations is due to a rise in coronavirus infection rates there.

Currently, anyone returning from France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Andorra or Spain has to self-isolate for 14 days, and the UK Government has said similar quarantine orders could be put in place for other countries if they witness similar increases.

Further guidance on travelling abroad, along with entry requirements for individual countries and and up-to-date list of travel corridors can be found on the UK Government website.

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What documents do I need to drive in Europe?

Brexit will have an impact on the paperwork you need to take with you when driving in Europe, and you may need additional driving permits and insurance green cards.

However, any changes to the current rules will not take effect until January 2021 at the earliest and rules around documentation remain the same as they have for many years.

If you are taking your own car abroad you must take your driving licence. Before you leave, check if it is about to expire. If it is due to expire while you are away you must renew it before you leave.

You must also take your vehicle's V5C log book with you, along with your insurance certificate. It’s also important to check your insurance covers you for driving in foreign countries and to check for any restrictions on your cover.

If you are taking a vehicle you have hired in the UK to another country, you must take a VE103 certificate with you.

This article first appeared on The Portsmouth News