How to take your company car on holiday abroad legally

If you have a fleet car, it's usually fine to take it on holiday, but there are a few rules. This seven-point checklist will help you drive your company car abroad legally.....

Cars in Eurotunnel

Your company car is the same as any other vehicle, so you can take it abroad – but you must make sure you’ve jumped through all the regulatory hoops first.

It’s pretty easy if you’re employed by a larger business, because your fleet manager should have a procedure already set up that will take care of all the paperwork.

Nevertheless, it always pays to be aware of what’s required, just so nothing falls through the gaps. After all, you don’t want to suddenly discover that you’re missing a vital piece of paperwork when your mirrors are full of flashing blue lights.

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Here are seven steps to take before you drive your fleet car outside the UK...

1. Apply for a vehicle on hire certificate (VE103B)

The majority of fleet cars are leased, which means you must let the leasing company know that you plan to drive the vehicle abroad. The lease firm will then provide you with a VE103B vehicle-on-hire certificate.

This VE103B is, in effect, a replacement document for your car’s V5 registration document and is something that you can be required to produce at all times. If you can’t, there’s a chance you’ll be fined.

To get a VE103B, you must provide:

Driver’s name
Address on driving licence
Telephone number
Travel dates
Countries to be visited
Additional drivers

It can sometimes take a few weeks for such a piece of paperwork to be generated, so it’s wise to get the process under way long before you need to travel.

Read more: Can I use a company car for personal journeys?

2. Make sure your car is fully insured outside the UK

If you are in charge of your own insurance policy, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your insurer before your trip to make sure your policy will cover you abroad. For travel outside the EU, your insurance company will need to provide a "green card".

If your company sorts out insurance, check with your fleet manager that your car will be covered in the country or countries you plan to drive in on holiday.

Read more: How to insure a company car

3. Check if you need an international driving permit

If you have a normal UK driving licence, most European countries don’t demand that you also possess an international driving permit (IDP).

However, there are 140 countries that will require you to have the additional paperwork, and the penalty for not having an IDP in these countries can be severe: you could face a hefty fine or you could even confiscation of your vehicle.

That’s why it makes sense to sort out an IDP long before you plan to travel. The good news is that it costs only a few pounds, and can be obtained from a Post Office.

In addition, you’ll need to carry a printout of your driving record, which you can download from

4. Find out about low-emissions zones in your destination

Low-emissions zones are springing up everywhere across Europe as well as in the UK, so you’d be wise to find out if any city you plan to drive into has one.

If there’s such a zone at your planned destination, you’ll be required to display a sticker that shows the emission level of your vehicle.

In Germany, you can buy these stickers at hotels and garages, but in France you can buy these only online, so it’s wise to order one well before your trip to avoid the possibility of a fine for failing to display the sticker.

Read more: The best electric company cars

5. Buy the legally required safety equipment for your car

French law demands that you carry certain items of safety equipment with you. The kit list includes reflective jackets for everyone in the vehicle, plus a reflective triangle, so you can warn other motorists by placing it at least 50m behind your vehicle if you break down.

Many cars allow you to switch your headlight beams for driving on the right-hand side of the road, some through a manual switch and others through your car’s infotainment system. However, if your car does not have this function, you’ll need to fit headlamp beam deflectors. You also need to carry a full set of spare bulbs.

An alcohol breathalyser is also mandatory if you’re driving in France.

Finally, depending on the area you’re visiting and the time of year, you may also be required by law to have snow chains in the car.

Read more: The UK's safest car models

6. Fit winter tyres to your car if needed

Winters are much harsher in many European countries than they are in the UK, and instead of putting up with grinding to a halt, they’ve altered their laws to help everyone keep moving.

So, you are required to have winter tyres fitted to your vehicle during the colder months, usually between the end of October and the start of April, in countries such as Austria and Germany.

In Italy, the requirement for winter rubber is dictated by local municipalities and motorway companies; these usually demand winter rubber between November 15 and April 15.

Switzerland has no requirement for winter tyres, but if you see signs requiring snow chains, you must fit them. If you don’t fit winter rubber or snow chains as required, and have an accident, your insurance company is quite likely to refuse to pay out.

Read more: The best SUV company cars

7. Make sure you understand the speed limits abroad

It makes sense to familiarise yourself with the speed limits in any countries you plan to visit. For example, speed limits can change depending on the weather and the season (some countries have different limits for winter and summer).

Many police forces in Europe have the power to issue steep on-the-spot fines, so it’s best to avoid the possibility of being caught speeding. 

Driving your company car abroad – conclusion

If you’re taking your company car abroad, you need to start to get the required paperwork in place weeks beforehand.

Things tend not to happen immediately, and you could face a significant fine or even have your car confiscated if you don’t have everything in place.

Sort everything early and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip safe in the knowledge that you’re legal, safe and completely covered if anything goes wrong.

Read more fleet and company car advice

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