Coronavirus (COVID-19): HGV operators and drivers crossing an international border

Guidance for operators, drivers and crew of HGVs on crossing an international border safely.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) test requirements for some journeys

You must test negative for coronavirus before you cross the border into certain countries. Check if you need a test and when you should get one. Get tested before entering Kent to avoid delays.


As an employer, you have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety, including from the risks of infection with coronavirus (COVID-19).

In order to reduce the potential spread of new variant COVID-19, and to ensure the safety of your drivers and the public, this guidance sets out the measures to be followed by those transporting accompanied freight into and from continental Europe.

The police may have the power to take enforcement action for breaches of COVID rules, with haulier compliance also being monitored by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this guidance provides exemption from, or varies, the existing requirements in legislation as to drivers’ hours or the use of tachographs.

General precautions

Drivers and crew must follow locally applicable laws at all times while in the UK. Read more about:

Driver or crew

Only leave the cab for essential purposes, including for eating and using washing facilities.

You must wear face coverings indoors, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

Use hand sanitiser each time you enter or exit the cab.

Keep at least 2 metres away from other members of the public at all times, unless a clear screen or other protective barrier is in place.

You may leave the cab if required to comply with health and safety rules at delivery sites.

What to do if a driver or crew displays COVID symptoms

No driver or crew should be travelling or working if displaying any coronavirus symptoms. Coronavirus symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test.

Entering and exiting the vehicle

Only drivers, crew, and others carrying out essential tasks should be permitted in the cab during the journey.

This includes enforcement and health officials such as police, DVSA, Border Force and other government representatives. Enforcement officials entering the cab will take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including use of appropriate PPE and asking the driver and crew to vacate the cab prior to them entering it.

Additionally, if the vehicle malfunctions, breakdown operators may enter the cab if absolutely necessary. Appropriate precautions should be taken.

Loading and unloading

Driver or crew

Remain in the cab during loading and unloading, wherever possible. If you leave the cab to assist with loading or unloading, all other workers should move at least 2 metres away from the loading area.

Remain 2 metres away from all other people and wear a face covering.

If you need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue and dispose of that immediately, or into your arm and then clean your hands with sanitiser.

Delivery location

If drivers are unable to remain in the cab during loading and unloading, provide a waiting area with toilet and hand washing facilities, designated for the sole use of drivers and crew.

Sleep and rest arrangements

Drivers and crew should take overnight sleep breaks in your cab if possible.

Do not spend time in public indoor spaces unless essential, for example, using motorway service areas for food or welfare.

Where possible, bring food with you or obtain food from service areas and other sources that require minimal mixing, rather than sources typically used by members of the public for example supermarkets.

Return to your cab to eat and drink.

If you must enter a public space, wash your hands before entering and after leaving.

Wear a face covering while inside and keep 2 metre distance from others.

Limit the length of stay

For drivers and crew crossing the border from non-UK originating points to unload and/or load in the UK and then return to a non-UK destination, employers should limit the length of stay in order to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19.

No more than one planned overnight stay is recommended, which must be taken in the cab where possible. This is also recommended for drivers and crew crossing the border in the course of transit.

Additional drivers

Dual-manned cabs are permitted. However, both drivers should follow this guidance at all times.

Vehicles should not be shared if possible. If it is not possible to maintain social distancing guidelines inside vehicles (2 metres, or 1 metre with risk mitigation where 2 metres is not viable), consider additional safety measures.

Published 22 December 2020
Last updated 24 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added translations in Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Welsh.

  2. First published.