Guidance

Carry out international road haulage

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

New rules for international road haulage in 2022

There will be new rules for transporting goods to or through Europe from 2022. These will affect you if you use vans or heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

Prepare for new rules for transporting goods to or through Europe

Coronavirus (COVID-19) test requirements

You must test negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) before you cross the border into certain countries.

If you arrive in England from abroad, you need to take a COVID-19 test if you are staying for more than 2 days.

Check the rules about COVID-19 testing for hauliers.

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 (UK stickers from 28 September 2021)
  • vehicle operator licences and permits

Your drivers do not need an insurance green card to drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland. You must still have suitable insurance.

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 no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

The Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service has closed. Staff at haulier advice sites can help you check that you have the paperwork you need to cross the border.

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 1 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added information and a link about displaying a UK sticker from 28 September 2021 instead of a GB sticker.

  2. Added information about new rules for transporting goods to or through Europe from 2022, and a link to more information.

  3. Updated the 'Get the right vehicle documents' section, as green cards are no longer needed to drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland.

  4. Added information about insurance green cards not being needed from 2 August 2021 to drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland.

  5. You no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

  6. Added information about getting a coronavirus (COVID-19) test before you travel to Denmark, France and the Netherlands.

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

  8. 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.

  9. First published.

  1. Step 1 Apply for operator licences and permits

    1. Check if you need a vehicle operator licence
    2. Apply for a vehicle operator licence

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

    1. Check which licences and permits you need
  2. Step 2 Register and get approval for your vehicle

    You may need to register your trailer to drive through or to the EU if it weighs over 750kg.

    1. Register your trailer to take it abroad

    You’ll need to get specialist vehicle approvals to transport any of the following:

  3. Step 3 Make sure your driver is eligible to drive abroad

  4. Step 4 Check the rules for the goods you're carrying

    1. Find out what you need to do if you're exporting your own goods

    There are rules for transporting certain goods. Your driver may need to follow set routes or stop at specific check points. Check the rules for:

    1. Find out what you need to apply for if you’re moving goods temporarily out of the UK

    If you're transporting goods outside the EU they must have been cleared by customs (given ‘permission to progress’). The exporter can tell you if this has happened.

  5. Step 5 Make sure your driver has the right export documents

    Your driver will need copies of:

    • any export licences
    • the road consignment note (‘CMR note’)
    • the Movement Reference Number (MRN) from the export declaration - if you're moving goods out of the EU
    • the MRN and the Local Reference Number (LRN) - if you're moving goods under the Common Transit convention (CTC)
    • the ATA Carnet document - if you're moving goods out of the EU temporarily
    • the TiR Carnet document - if you’re moving goods in a sealed load compartment with a seal number

    The exporter should be able to give all of these to you.

    You'll also need to have a customs seal approval certificate for the vehicle if you’re moving goods in a sealed load compartment. You'll get this when your vehicle passes the TiR test.

    You may need to use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to move goods through some ports.

    1. Check how to move goods through ports that use the GVMS
  6. Step 6 Find out what vehicle documents your driver needs to carry

  7. Step 7 Check you are ready for the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead

    You may need to attend an inland border facility if you're leaving from the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead.

    1. Check whether you need to attend an inland border facility
  8. Step 8 Check local road rules

    1. Check the road rules for European countries on the AA website
    2. Check travel advice for countries outside Europe

    When you have your documents, insurance and any extra equipment you need, you can transport goods abroad.