What UK goods vehicle operators need to do to carry out international road haulage if there's a no-deal Brexit.
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A Brexit deal has been agreed but needs to be ratified. The UK could still leave with no deal on 31 October 2019 if the UK and EU do not approve and sign the withdrawal agreement.
This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit and will be updated if anything changes. Sign up for email alerts to get the latest information.
You will not be able to move goods across EU borders or drive in the EU without the correct documentation.
Get the right operator licence
You also need an EU Community Licence. You can use your existing community licence until 31 December 2019, even if there’s a no-deal Brexit. This will let you:
- do journeys from the UK, for example, a journey to Germany
- do journeys to the UK, for example, a journey from Italy
- drive through EU countries to reach another EU country, for example, drive through France to Spain
- do a limited amount of cabotage or cross-trade jobs from the day the UK leaves the EU
If you apply for or renew your operator licence after a no-deal Brexit
You’ll get a ‘UK Licence for the Community’ if you apply for or renew your operator licence after a no-deal Brexit. This will be instead of an EU Community Licence.
The UK Licence for the Community works in the same way as the EU Community Licence. The same rules apply for using it.
Get the right permits
You can complete most international journeys until 31 December 2019 without extra permits. This includes if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
Journeys until 31 December 2019 if there’s a no-deal Brexit
You can still use your existing EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019 if the journey is entirely within the EU or EEA.
You will need European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permits for journeys through EU and EEA countries to ECMT countries not in the EU or EEA. These countries are:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Example You will need an ECMT permit to drive through France to deliver goods in Switzerland after a no-deal Brexit.
You will be able to buy these ECMT permits from 30 August 2019.
Haulage in Ireland
You will not need extra permits for haulage in Ireland if there’s a no-deal Brexit. You’ll still be able to use your EU Community Licence for journeys:
- to and from Ireland
- through Ireland to other EU or EEA countries
- through Ireland between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Journeys from 1 January 2020 if there’s a no-deal Brexit
Check back for updates about how international road haulage permits will work from January 2020.
Haulage in Switzerland and Norway
You’ll still be able to drive in Switzerland and Norway using an EU Community Licence if there’s a no-deal Brexit. However, you’ll need an ECMT permit for the part of your journey through EU and EEA countries.
Cabotage and cross-trade jobs
Cabotage is the loading and unloading of goods for hire or reward between 2 points in a country by a vehicle that is not registered in that country.
Cross-trade is the haulage of goods for hire or reward between 2 EU countries by a vehicle registered in a different EU country.
The number of cabotage and cross-trade jobs you can do will reduce if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
Until 31 December 2019
You’ll be allowed to carry out 2 cabotage or cross-trade jobs within 7 days of making an international journey until 31 December 2019.
From 1 January 2020
Check back for updates about how cabotage and cross-trade will work from January 2020.
Own account journeys
‘Own account’ journeys are where either:
- your vehicle is only carrying goods in connection with your own business
- your delivery contents are not for hire or reward
You’ll be able to do own account journeys to EU countries until 31 December 2019. You’ll be allowed to do 2 extra operations within 7 days of first loading or unloading in the EU.
You’ll also be allowed to do own account journeys in these countries without any extra permits if there’s a no-deal Brexit:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK.
Exporting and importing goods
Check what you need to do now to make sure you’re still able to:
- import from the EU to the UK if there’s a no-deal Brexit
- export from the UK to the EU if there’s a no-deal Brexit
Register your vehicle trailers
You must now register these types of trailers before you drive to or through most EU and EEA countries:
- commercial trailers weighing over 750kg
- non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg
Abnormal load trailers
You now 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.
Vehicle registration documents
Your drivers will need to carry your vehicle registration documents when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either:
- the vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
- a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad
Display GB stickers
Display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle and trailer. Do this even if you have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.
Vehicle and trailer insurance
A ‘green card’ is proof you have motor insurance cover when driving abroad. Your drivers will need to carry one for the vehicle they’re driving if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
You’ll need multiple green cards if:
- you have fleet insurance - you’ll need a green card for each vehicle
- your vehicle is towing a trailer - you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries)
- you have 2 policies covering the duration of your trip, for example, if your policy renews during the journey
Contact your vehicle insurance provider at least one month before you need green cards.
What to do if your vehicle is involved in a road accident
You may need to bring legal proceedings in the EU or EEA country against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle if there’s a no-deal Brexit.
You might not get compensation if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced. This will vary from country to country.
Get legal advice if you need more information about this.
What lorry and goods vehicle drivers need to do
Your drivers should consider exchanging their UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU one if you’re an EU company. They will then be able to work for both EU and UK companies after Brexit. They need to exchange it before 31 October 2019.
Check what other things your lorry and goods vehicle drivers need to do to prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit. This includes:
- getting international driving permits (IDPs)
- renewing their passport early enough
- having the right type of travel insurance with healthcare cover