Guidance

Carry out international road haulage

What UK goods vehicle operators need to do to carry out international road haulage.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) test requirements for some journeys

Several countries have introduced COVID-19 testing requirements for hauliers. The rules are different in each country.

Check the rules before you travel and take the necessary action.

Apply for operator licences and permits

To transport goods internationally by road, you need either a:

You will need other licences and permits, depending on the countries you’re driving to or through.

Check which international road haulage permits you need.

Register your vehicle trailers

You must register these types of trailers before you drive to or through most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway:

  • commercial trailers weighing over 750kg
  • non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg

Register your trailer to take it abroad.

Abnormal load trailers

You need a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad. Keep the certificate in the vehicle to show at border crossings.

Some countries measure abnormal loads differently from the UK. Check with each country you’re travelling through to find out if the load you’re transporting counts as abnormal there.

Apply for a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad.

Get specialist vehicle approvals

You will need to get specialist vehicle approvals if you want to transport:

Get the right vehicle documents

Your driver will need to carry the right vehicle documents with them during international journeys. These include:

  • vehicle registration documents
  • vehicle and trailer insurance documents
  • GB stickers
  • vehicle operator licences and permits

Check what vehicle documents your drivers need to carry during international journeys.

Make sure your driver is eligible to drive abroad

Your driver will need to carry the right documents about themselves with them during international journeys. These include:

  • a valid UK driving licence
  • a valid Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card
  • a valid passport
  • an international driving permit (IDP) if they need one for the countries they’re travelling in
  • healthcare documents

Check what documents your driver needs to carry about themselves during international journeys.

Make sure you’re ready to import and export

You need to follow rules about import and export licences, getting an EORI number, classifying goods, getting your goods through customs, and keeping records.

Import goods into the UK: step by step.

Export goods from the UK: step by step.

There’s different guidance if you’re moving goods in and out of Northern Ireland.

Complete a road consignment (CMR) note

A road consignment (CMR) note is a standard contract used by companies who want to use a provider to transport goods internationally by road.

The CMR note confirms that the haulage company has received the goods and has a contract from the supplier to carry them.

You must have a CMR note on all international journeys if you’re carrying goods on a commercial basis.

The CMR note can be filled in by either:

  • you (the haulier)
  • the company sending the goods abroad
  • a freight forwarder

You will need 3 copies of a CMR note, including one:

  • for the supplier of the goods
  • for the eventual customer
  • to accompany the goods while they are being transported

You can buy pre-printed CMR notes from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Logistics UK.

Check an HGV is ready to cross the border (Kent Access Permit)

You must use the service to check an HGV is ready to cross the border if it’s travelling via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.

This will prove that the HGV has the right EU import and commodities documents for the goods it’s carrying before it crosses the Great Britain-EU border.

You need to do this to get a ‘Kent Access Permit’ before the vehicle enters Kent.

Your driver is responsible for doing the check, but it can be done on their behalf by your transport manager.

Your driver can be fined £300 if you do not use the service to check an HGV is ready to cross the border when they travel via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.

It’s optional to use the service for all other ports in Great Britain.

Follow Kent traffic management plans

There are measures to manage traffic flow in the event of disruption to Kent’s road network.

These measures are known as ‘Operation Brock’ and apply to HGVs over 7.5 tonnes if there’s severe disruption to services from the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.

Customs and document checks away from ports

Inland border facilities are UK government sites where customs and document checks take place away from port locations.

The facilities act as a government office of departure (for outbound journeys) and a government office of destination (for inbound journeys). You can start and end journeys at the facilities when moving goods in and out of the UK.

Checks carried out at inland border facilities

These checks are carried out at the facilities:

Your drivers may need to go to an inland border facility if they enter or plan to exit the UK via Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead and need:

  • to start or end a CTC movement
  • CITES checks
  • an ATA carnet or TIR carnet stamped

Your drivers may also be directed to an inland border facility:

  • because they are not border-ready
  • for a document or physical inspection of their load

Tell HMRC that you’re going to be attending an inland border facility

You should tell HMRC in advance that you’re attending an inland border facility because the goods you’re moving:

  • are going to an office of departure or office of destination (starting or ending a transit movement)
  • are covered by an ATA Carnet
  • need a CITES permit

This will help you get processed on site as quickly as possible.

Tell HMRC you’re going to attend an inland border facility.

Check if there are any delays at inland border facilities.

Check local road rules

Some EU countries limit the times and days when HGVs can be driven on public roads.

Contact the British Embassy in the country for advice on whether restrictions will apply to your route.

Check the road rules for European countries on the AA website.

Check travel advice for countries outside Europe.

What to do if your vehicle is involved in a road accident

Your drivers should contact their insurance provider if they’re involved in a road accident in an EU country.

Any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurance provider of the vehicle need to be brought in the EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, depending on where the accident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.

You may not get compensation in some countries if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced.

Get legal advice if you need more information about this.

Published 31 December 2020
Last updated 18 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added information about getting a coronavirus (COVID-19) test before you travel to Denmark, France and the Netherlands.

  2. Added a new section called ‘Make sure you’re ready to import and export’.

  3. Added information to the ‘Customs and document checks away from ports’ section about telling HMRC you’ll be attending an inland border facility to help you get processed on site as quickly as possible.

  4. First published.