Guidance

ECMT international road haulage permits

Permits to travel to or through European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) member countries, and the rules you have to follow.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

Check what else you need to do during the transition period.

ECMT permits allow you to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through ECMT member countries.

You need to follow rules about using your ECMT permits, including your drivers carrying the right documents.

Check if you need ECMT permits

You need an ECMT permit to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through the EU (except Cyprus), Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK to these 13 countries:

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Cyprus is not part of the ECMT scheme. You cannot use an ECMT permit to transport goods through Cyprus to ECMT countries.

You might need ECMT permits for journeys to or through the EU from 1 January 2021. You should apply for these in case they’re needed. This page will be updated if anything changes.

What you do not need ECMT permits for

You do not need ECMT permits for journeys in 2020 entirely within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. You can still use your EU Community Licence for international road haulage until 31 December 2020.

You can transport some types of goods without ECMT permits. Check pages 11 and 13 of the ECMT user guide for the list.

What you cannot use ECMT permits for

You cannot use ECMT permits:

  • to travel through ECMT countries to countries that are not in the scheme
  • for cabotage (loading and unloading goods for hire or reward between 2 points in a country by a vehicle that’s not registered in that country)

Eligibility

To apply for an ECMT permit, you must:

Apply for permits for 2020

You can buy 30-day permits if you plan to travel through the EU (except Cyprus), Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland in 2020 to one of these countries:

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey or Ukraine.

How to buy the permits

Email DVSA to buy the permits.

DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
shorttermecmt@dvsa.gov.uk

You need to include:

  • your operator licence number
  • the journey destination (it must be either Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey or Ukraine)
  • proof that you’ll be travelling to this country in 2020 (for example, a contract to import and export, or evidence of recent or regular to the country)
  • how many permits you need
  • which type of vehicle you’ll use (Euro V or Euro VI)

Apply for permits for 2021

You can no longer apply for ECMT permits for 2021. Applications closed on Friday 20 November 2020.

What happens next

  1. DVSA will start to allocate permits now the application period has ended. They will be allocated based on a set criteria.

  2. You’ll get an email telling you if you’ve been allocated a permit.

  3. You must pay the permit fee within 10 calendar days if you’re allocated a permit.

  4. You’ll get the permits by first class recorded delivery.

Fees

You have to pay a non-refundable £10 application fee for each permit.

You then have to pay for the actual permit. It costs:

  • £10 per permit for short-term permits (for use in 2020)
  • £123 per permit for an annual ECMT permit (for use in 2021)

Rules for using the permits

You can use an ECMT permit to make an unlimited number of journeys within:

  • a calendar year, if you have an annual permit
  • 30 days of the start date on the permit, if you have a short-term permit

You have to return to the UK after every third journey.

You can only use your original permit. You cannot:

  • make copies of it
  • transfer it to other vehicle operators or businesses
  • use it in more than one vehicle at a time

Do not laminate the permit, as it may be stamped at checkpoints.

Example If you have 10 ECMT permits, you can have a maximum of 10 vehicles making journeys to or through ECMT countries at once.

When a vehicle returns to the UK, you can move the permit to another vehicle on your operator licences. That vehicle can then make journeys to or through ECMT countries.

If you have more than one vehicle operator licence

You can use an ECMT permit for a vehicle assigned to any of your operator licences. It’s not allocated to a specific operator licence.

You’re not allowed to transfer a permit to another business entity, for example, a sister company.

Rules for the vehicles and trailers

You cannot use ECMT permits you’re allocated:

  • for unaccompanied trailers or semi-trailers
  • with vehicles of a lower Euro emissions class to that shown on the permit (for example, you cannot use a Euro VI permit in a Euro V vehicle, but you can use a Euro V permit in a Euro VI vehicle)

Get an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ for vehicles and trailers

You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ in your vehicle and trailer. They must confirm the vehicle meets the correct Euro emissions standard and the trailer meets the technical safety requirements.

If your permit application is successful, request a certificate from your vehicle or trailer manufacturer, or contact DVSA for advice.

DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
irhp@dvsa.gov.uk

Get an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for vehicles and trailers

You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for your vehicle and trailer.

If your permit application is successful and you do not already have a certificate, apply online to get one.

Apply for an ECMT certificate of roadworthiness.

Before you start

To apply for an ECMT certificate of roadworthiness, you need:

  • your username and password if you’ve used the service to manage your vehicle operator licence before (you can register in the service if you’ve not used it before)
  • the vehicle registration number (number plate)
  • the trailer registration number or ID number from DVLA (if you’re applying for a trailer)
  • the vehicle or trailer type and make
  • the certificate of compliance number (leave this blank if you do not have the number)
  • vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • engine type and number

Meet the ECMT Quality Charter

You must meet the ECMT Quality Charter requirements.

If you have a standard international operator licence

You already meet the requirements of the charter if you have a standard international operator licence

If you have a restricted or standard national operator licence

If you have a restricted or standard national operator licence you need to:

  • have a transport manager
  • give proof you have the higher levels of financial standing needed for a standard international licence

You can also apply for a standard international licence to show you meet the ECMT Quality Charter.

Fill in the ECMT log book before a journey

Each ECMT permit comes with a log book.

Before you start a journey, fill in the permit’s log book (in pen, not pencil) with a full record of all the journey’s details.

If you make a mistake, cross it out. Make sure the mistake is still readable, as it may need to be checked.

What drivers need to carry during journeys

The driver will need to carry these documents for all of the outward and return journey:

  • the ECMT permit
  • the ECMT permit log book (plus the issued translation sheets)
  • the ECMT certificate of compliance for the vehicle and trailer (plus the issued translation sheets)
  • a certificate of roadworthiness for the vehicle and trailer (plus the issued translation sheets)

The driver must show the documents at checkpoints when asked.

Find out how different countries carry out checks.

Check what other vehicle documents and driver documents the driver needs to carry on international journeys.

It’s illegal to not have the right documents for the journey. Your driver can be fined for not carrying them.

Send journey records to DVSA

If you have an annual ECMT permit, you must send the original (top sheet) for each completed page of the ECMT log book to DVSA within 2 weeks of your return to the UK.

You must send the complete ECMT log book to DVSA within 2 weeks of the permit’s expiry date.

International Road Haulage Permits Office
DVSA
Hillcrest House
386 Harehills Lane
Leeds
LS9 6NF

Lost, damaged or stolen permits

Contact DVSA straight away if you lose or damage a permit, or if one is stolen.

You should also tell the police if a permit is stolen.

DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
irhp@dvsa.gov.uk
Telephone: 0330 678 1117
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

If you give up your operator licence

Send your ECMT permits and log books to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.

Published 26 November 2018
Last updated 21 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Removed the link to apply for ECMT permits for 2021 as the application period has ended. Updated the section on what happens next if you applied.

  2. Added a link to the service to apply for ECMT permits for 2021. The deadline to apply is 11:59pm on 20 November 2020.

  3. Added information about preparing to apply for ECMT permits for 2021 between 2 November and 20 November 2020.

  4. Changed the date that you can complete most international journeys without an ECMT permit from 31 December 2019 to 31 July 2020. This is because the European Commission has extended a temporary set of measures.

  5. Added a link to the service to buy ECMT permits for November and December 2019.

  6. Updated information about buying permits for journeys until 31 December 2019. You'll be able to buy these permits from 30 August 2019 - you only need to buy them if you’ll be travelling to non-EU or EEA countries through the EU or EEA.

  7. Added information about how to prepare for Brexit, which includes a link to a new guide about how to carry out international road haulage after Brexit.

  8. Updated to confirm you can continue to use your EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and that you would need an ECMT permit to transport goods through EU or EEA countries to non-EU or EEA countries who are ECMT members. Added information about how to apply for short-term ECMT permits for April 2019.

  9. Updated the guidance on applying, as applications for 2019 permits closed at 11:59pm on Saturday 16 March 2019.

  10. Added information about how to apply for a further allocation of ECMT permits the UK has secured, if you have not already applied for a 2019 permit.

  11. Added information about the UK government working to put arrangements in place with individual EU member states, updated information about what happens next if you applied for an ECMT permit for 2019, and added information about how to get an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for vehicles and trailers.

  12. Updated the guidance on applying, as you can no longer apply for ECMT permits for 2019. Applications closed on Friday 18 January 2019.

  13. Extended the deadline to apply for 2019 permits from 11:59pm on 21 December 2018 to 11:59pm on 18 January 2019, and added information about short-term permits.

  14. Added guidance on meeting the ECMT Quality Charter.

  15. First published.