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UK car sticker and UK number plate rules explained as government phases out GB car stickers for driving in Europe




Say goodbye to your GB car sticker - a new UK version is now required.

Just nine months after the government said motorists would be able to drive in Europe without GB stickers providing they had a registration plate bearing GB initials and the Union flag, the rules have changed again.

Now, drivers with plans to motor on the continent will have to switch their old GB car sticker or magnet for a new-look UK version that is now the requirement for driving on foreign roads.

The old style GB car sticker cannot be used anymore
The old style GB car sticker cannot be used anymore

Those who also have a GB number plate, will also need to lay their hands to one of the new-look UK sticker or magnet designs, or instead buy a new number plate depicting the UK symbol.

The changes came into force on Tuesday (September 28).

Drivers travelling to Europe will need to be familiar with the new requirements to carry a UK identifier
Drivers travelling to Europe will need to be familiar with the new requirements to carry a UK identifier

But the swap comes just nine months after rules on what cars needed to display in the wake of Brexit were first updated.

In January the government announced any vehicle carrying the GB mark and Union flag could travel and would not need an additional separate GB sticker but cars with a Scottish, Welsh or EU identifier would.

At the time, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “Brits will be able to drive on the Continent without GB stickers thanks to new reg plate with Union Flag and GB.”

In January Grant Shapps said you could travel with GB identifiers, but nine months later that is no longer the case
In January Grant Shapps said you could travel with GB identifiers, but nine months later that is no longer the case

The GB identifier has been used on British drivers' cars for the last 111 years and available for cars from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Now, however, motorists with those GB plates will have to display a UK sticker as well or replace their plates with new UK ones, while drivers with EU, Scotland or Wales identifiers will also need to replace any GB sticker or magnet with a UK one before heading abroad.

According to the RAC, the change is believed to be a show of solidarity with Northern Ireland - with Great Britain only referring to the island of England, Scotland and Wales.

Under the new government rules, for identifying vehicles in international traffic that have been registered un the UK, if your number plate already includes the UK identifier with the Union flag, you do not need to buy an additional UK car sticker.

The old GB style number plate is also being replaced with a UK version
The old GB style number plate is also being replaced with a UK version

However you will need to display one of the new UK designs on the back of your vehicle if your car's current number plate has either a GB identifier with the Union flag, a Euro symbol, the national flag of England, Scotland or Wales or numbers and letters only with no flag or identifier.

While those travelling in Spain, Cyprus or Malta will be expected to display a UK sticker regardless of what is on their car's existing number plate.

Anyone still carrying a GB sticker, say the updated guidelines available to read online, must now either cover it or remove it before driving outside of the UK.

You do not need a UK sticker or number plate to drive in Ireland.

The penalties for not carrying the correct initials may vary, with retailer Halfords warning that motorists may risk being refused entry to some countries if they're not in possession of the updated UK design.



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