How to apply for permits to travel to or through European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) member countries, and the rules you have to follow.
About the permits
You can apply for European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) international road haulage permits for journeys between ECMT member countries.
You can use ECMT permits for:
- journeys between member countries, including laden or empty transit journeys
- third-country journeys to other ECMT countries which would otherwise be prohibited under certain bilateral agreements
Some goods can be transported without an ECMT permit.
Check chapter 2 (‘Liberalised transport’) of the ECMT user guide to find out if your goods are exempt in the countries you intend to travel to or through.
If there’s a ‘no deal’ Brexit
You might need ECMT permits to transport goods in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) from 11pm on 29 March 2019 if there’s a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
The European Commission has proposed steps to allow UK hauliers to continue transporting goods into the EU without permits until 31 December 2019.
Continue with your contingency plans until the European Parliament and Council adopt and agree this proposal.
To use an ECMT permit, you must:
- have a vehicle operator licence for Great Britain or a vehicle operator licence for Northern Ireland
- only use vehicles that meet the Euro VI technical and safety requirements
- have carried out international road haulage in the last 12 months
Where you can use the permits
You can use ECMT permits in 43 countries. These include:
- EU and EEA countries (except Cyprus)
- 15 other countries
ECMT member countries
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.
If you’re a Northern Ireland vehicle operator
If you have an operator licence from the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, the UK government expects you will not need an ECMT permit to drive to or through Ireland.
The UK government will seek an agreement with Ireland to allow continued access for Northern Ireland hauliers to Ireland without the need for ECMT permits.
The UK government has stated it will not require Irish hauliers to have ECMT permits to operate in Northern Ireland.
Apply for permits
You must apply for permits for the 2019 calendar year by 11:59pm on Friday 18 January 2019.
Permits will only be allocated after the application period has ended. They are not allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
- your username and password to manage your vehicle operator licence
- a debit or credit card to pay the application fee
When you sign in, click on the Permits tab to apply.
Before you start
You need to know:
- which countries you think you’ll need to transport goods to or through in 2019
- the number of international trips you made in the last 12 months (an outward and return trip counts as one trip)
- the percentage of international trips you made in the last 12 months
- which sector you mainly transport goods in
The sectors you can choose from are:
- food products
- mail and parcels
- raw materials and waste
- refined fuels
- transport and machinery
- unrefined fuels
- other non-metallic mineral products
- none of these sectors (select this if you do not transport goods mainly in one of the other sectors)
It’s illegal to make a false statement to apply for a permit. Your operator licence can be taken away, suspended or restricted, and permits can be temporarily or permanently taken away from you.
What happens next
DVSA will allocate permits after the application period has ended. They will be allocated based on a set criteria, as there are only 984 annual permits available. You cannot apply separately for short-term permits.
You’ll get an email in early 2019 telling you if you’ve been allocated an annual ECMT permit, and when more information about short-term permits will be available.
You must pay the permit fee within 10 calendar days if you’re allocated a permit.
You’ll get the permits by first class recorded delivery.
You have to pay £10 to apply for each individual permit.
If you’re allocated annual permits, you have to pay £123 for each individual permit. Each permit lasts until 31 December 2019.
There are different fees for short-term permits. The email you get from DVSA will tell you how much you have to pay.
All fees are non-refundable.
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 can only use your original permit. You cannot:
- make copies of it
- transfer it to other vehicle operators or businesses
Do not laminate the permit, as it may be stamped at checkpoints by competent authorities.
You must only use a permit in one vehicle at a time.
Example If you have 10 ECMT permits, you can have a maximum of 10 vehicles making journeys to or through ECMT member 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 member countries.
If you have more than one vehicle operator licence
The ECMT permit is not allocated to one of your specific operator licences. You can use a permit for a vehicle assigned to any of your operator licences.
What you cannot use ECMT permits for
You cannot use ECMT permits:
- to travel through ECMT member countries on journeys to non-ECMT member countries
- for cabotage
- for unaccompanied trailers or semi-trailers
- with vehicles that are not Euro VI compliant
ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ for vehicles
You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ in your vehicle. Certificates must confirm the vehicle meets the Euro VI standard and the trailer meets the technical safety requirements.
If your permit application is successful, you can request a certificate from the manufacturer, or contact DVSA.
DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
Meet the ECMT Quality Charter
You must meet the ECMT Quality Charter when you use ECMT permits.
If you have a standard international operator licence, you already meet the requirements of the charter.
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 before 29 March 2019 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, you must fill in the permit’s log book with a full record of all the journey’s details. Use a permanent ink pen.
If you make a mistake, cross the words out neatly. Make sure the mistake is still readable, as inspectors and competent authorities need to check them.
What to do when you make 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
- the ECMT certificate of compliance for the vehicle and trailer, stating it meets Euro VI standards
- a certificate of roadworthiness for the vehicle and trailer
The driver must show the documents at control checkpoints when asked to do so.
It’s illegal to not have the right documents for your journey. You can be fined for not carrying them.
Send journey records to DVSA
The ECMT log book contains a duplicate (carbon copy) of journey records.
You must send the duplicate records to DVSA within 2 weeks of the end of the calendar month the journey ended in.
International Road Haulage Permits Office
386 Harehills Lane
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.
If you give up your operator licence
You need to return your ECMT permits and log books to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.
Some of these requirements may change as the UK leaves the EU.