UK introduces new car sticker requirement for driving in Austria

UK introduces new car sticker requirement for driving in Austria
Brits driving in Austrian roads - or any European roads - will need a UK sticker in future. Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash
There have been a lot of big changes in travel between Europe and the UK since the end of the Brexit transition period, but now the UK has introduced another - a new sticker requirement for British drivers.

If you intend to drive your British vehicle in Austria – or anywhere else in the EU – you will now need a “UK” sticker on your car.

This replaces the GB sticker or magnet that was previously needed when driving abroad, and the UK government guidance states: “If you have a GB sticker, cover or remove it.”

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for travelling between Austria and the UK now?

The new rule came come into effect on September 28th, 2021 for British registered cars driving in the EU, with the exception of Ireland, which does not require a sticker or magnet.

The UK government specifies: “You will need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of your vehicle if your number plate has any of the following:

  • a GB identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack)
  • a Euro symbol
  • a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
  • numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

“If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker.

“If you’re in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.”

A screenshot of the UK government’s webpage on number plates.

The British government has also registered UK – rather than GB – as its new international symbol for traffic.

The UN said 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’”.

A spokesman for the British Department for Transport said: “Changing the national identifier from GB to UK symbolises our unity as a nation and is part of a wider move towards using the UK signifier across government.

“GB number plates will still be valid within the EU as long as drivers display a UK sticker on the rear of their vehicle.”

The difference between Great Britain and the UK is the inclusion of Northern Ireland – GB refers only to England, Scotland and Wales while UK is England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new UK stickers will be available online, and in post offices and garages for around £1.50 (€1.75).

Clearly displaying the country of origin of your vehicle is an international requirement and if you are stopped by Austrian police without one you can be issued with an on-the-spot fine (although it’s unclear how bothered Austrian police will be about the intricacies of UK v GB).

Other changes

While most people are unlikely to be losing much sleep over a sticker, there are some other bigger changes that Brexit has ushered in.

Driving to Europe does not require any extra paperwork, motorists who are only visiting can continue to drive on their UK licence and the insurance Green Card is no longer required.

You must, however, make sure that your UK passport has at least six months left to run.

Pets can no longer use the European Pet Passport and instead need an Animal Health Certificate, which must be renewed before each trip.

Also bear in mind restrictions on what can be brought in to the EU from the UK, which includes high-value items, food and plants.

Find the full list of travel changes HERE.


Member comments

  1. Why does the Local still spend so much time on what the UK does or what is happening to its Citizens . They are no longer member of the EU , they foolishly voted to leave the Union , and are paying the consequences for their arrogance and stupidity . No fuel , no food , no more freedom of movement , shortage of European staff and so on yet the Local treat the UK as if it is part and parcel of the concerns of the member States which is no longer the case . Who cares about stickers on cars while driving UK registered cars in Austria . It reeks of a Colonial Mentality which I for one am fed up with reading about and I have been a member of the Local since 1996 . I grew up in the UK went to school there Eton College but I will be damned if I am going to be subjected to stand in line and asked stupid questions at Heathrow just to have tea with old friends because they wanted their sovereignty back . let them line up at Arlanda so I can have a good laugh when the Immigration Police ask them if they can support their stay in Sweden and tell them to sit next to an Afghan Refugee for further questioning .

    1. Hi Kio, While we understand your frustration with Brexit we had no part in it. All we do is write for our many different audiences around our nine countries and around the world, one of which is British nationals. What governs our editorial choices is mainly working out what our audiences need to know (most of the time they ask us) and one of those areas is the impact and all the knock-on effects of Brexit. In this case it’s just making our UK-based audience aware that if they visit our countries they’ll need a new car sticker. As much as the reason for the change in stickers appears ridiculous we still have to make people aware.

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