GB or UK Car Stickers? What’s Changing and Why

By: Motor Easy
GB or UK car stickers - what's changing?

GB or UK Car Stickers? What’s Changing and Why

Don’t you just love it when the government focuses on those issues that are really important? For those planning a jaunt around Europe in the next few months, changes are coming. Important changes? Well, we’ll leave that up to you. Today we are talking about car stickers. New legislation is being implemented that will mean you will soon need to add a UK badge to your vehicle when travelling abroad. Why? Read on to find out!


What’s the New Rule with Car Stickers?

It isn’t often the UN (yes, the United Nations) gets involved with everyday driving issues. But in this instance, it would appear to be the case.

As of September 28th 2021, British motorists driving their home registered vehicle must ensure that their GB car sticker is replaced by one displaying ‘UK’ instead. 

UK vs GB Stickers | Why the Change?

What's triggered the change? One word…Politics.

While no official announcement has been made, it is anticipated that the change has been implemented to show solidarity with Northern Ireland due to Brexit.

Still don’t understand?

It is quite simple (and some might even use words like ‘bureaucratic’ or ‘petty’)…

The term ‘Great Britain’ refers to England, Scotland and Wales. While the term ‘United Kingdom’, in fact, refers to each of these areas plus Northern Ireland.

By making the rule that you must display a ‘UK’ sticker, the plan is to ensure that motorists on the continent (and in the Republic of Ireland) are actually highlighting that Northern Ireland is still part of our nation.

It’s the little things that count. Right?

Do You Need a GB Sticker on a Car?

In a word. Yes.

If you are travelling anywhere in Europe (including the Republic of Ireland, as they are still part of Europe), you must display a UK sticker on the back of your vehicle.

Want some good news?

Suppose you have already purchased a fancy new number plates with ‘GB’ emblazoned over the Union Flag. In that case, you can still keep the number plate when travelling abroad, you’ll just need to supplement it with a ‘UK’ magnet or sticker on the boot as well. You should be able to pick one up at your local post office for around £1.50.

Why Do British Cars Have GB Stickers?

It has always been the case that cars crossing European boundaries were required to display their country of origin. Vehicles could either carry stickers, that feature initials from their state of registration, or have a number plate carrying the appropriate country letters. Back in the pre-Brexit days, the UK numberplate often featured the letters “GB’ under the circle of EU stars.

However…Great Britain (and the UK, for that matter) is no longer in the European Union.

Back in January, the government suggested the letters ‘GB’ with the Union flag would still suffice to drive in Europe. However, as of September, you might find yourself at the mercy of the local Gendarmerie, Guarda, Polizei or any other European policeman if you don’t lovingly adorn your rear with a ‘UK’ emblem.

New-style driving licence

Not only are the car stickers changing with Brexit but if you have got a new driving licence recently you may have noticed that these have also changed. This makeover came about on the anniversary of Brexit at the start of this year to signify the UK’s exit from the EU. The new design sees the EU flag removed and while the existing driving licences are still valid, the new version will be issued to anyone renewing or getting a licence for the first time.

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