GB car stickers no longer valid in Europe after Brexit

·3 min read
A sticker on a car is seen near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain. Photo: Reuters
A sticker on a car is seen near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain. Photo: Reuters

Brits taking their cars out of the country can no longer use their ‘GB’ car stickers, as their validity ended on 28 September. Instead, they will have to get a new ‘UK’ version.

The new stickers are available online, and in post offices and garages for roughly £1.50 ($2) to £4.

Those with a GB number plate will also need a new sticker, or will have to order a fresh number plate, with the UK symbol displayed on the left-hand-side.

As per gov.uk, if a number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag, drivers don't need a UK sticker. 

They will need to display it clearly on the rear of their vehicle if their number plate has: a GB identifier with the Union flag; a Euro symbol; a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales; numbers and letters only with no flag or identifier.

Those who are headed to Spain, Cyprus or Malta must display a UK sticker no matter what is on their number plate. 

But those who plan to use their car in Ireland don't need a UK sticker or number plate.

The United Nations had said in July that it had received “a notification stating that the United Kingdom is changing the distinguishing sign that it had previously selected for display in international traffic on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom, from ‘GB’ to ‘UK’”.

No official reasons was given, but motoring organisation RAC said “the move is thought to be a show of solidarity with Northern Ireland in the wake of Brexit" and amid heightened tensions over post-Brexit border checks.

“GB stands for Great Britain, which comprises England, Scotland and Wales, whereas UK stands for the United Kingdom, which comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland," it added.

Any fine for not complying with the new rules will depend on specific countries. Halfords did warn earlier this year not displaying the correct 'UK' badge "may lead to refusal on entry and holidays ruined."

Earlier Edmund King, the president of the AA had said: “from a historic perspective... we are now losing another element of British motoring, the famed GB sticker".

The AA also said it has some around 50,000 GB stickers that are now worthless.

Those who invested in personalised number plates with the GB sign will also need to update their designs or display a sticker if they plan to use drive abroad.

Earlier this year transport secretary Grant Shapps committed to a redesign to replace the EU's stars with a Union Jack on 'GB' number plates following Brexit.

The EU flag has also been removed from the top left corner of driving licenses and replaced by 'UK'.

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