Guidance

EU Community Licences for international road haulage

Apply for an EU Community Licence to transport goods by road to or through EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and the rules you have to follow.

About the licences

You need an EU Community Licence if you make journeys for hire or reward within the EU.

The EU Community Licence is a single permit that covers trips between all EU member states. It also allows transit traffic through EU member states to and from non-EU countries - but you need extra permits for the non-EU countries.

EU Community Licences also allow cabotage (journeys entirely within one other EU member state).

There are no limits on the number of available licences.

Eligibility

You must have a standard international vehicle operator licence for Great Britain or standard international vehicle operator licence for Northern Ireland to apply for an EU Community Licence.

Where you can use the licences

You can use EU Community Licences in the 28 EU countries and 4 other countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, you can continue to use your EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019. You would not need any extra permits to transport goods in EU countries until 1 January 2020.

You’d be allowed to do these types of journeys:

  • journeys to and from the UK, for example, a journey from the UK to Germany, or a journey from Italy to the UK
  • driving through EU countries to reach another EU country, for example, driving through France to reach Spain
  • limited cabotage or cross-trade – the rules on what you can do will change from the day the UK leaves the EU

If you get a new international operator licence or renew your licence after the UK leaves the EU

You’ll get a ‘UK Licence for the Community’ instead of an EU Community Licence.

This will work in the same way as the EU Community, and will let you do the same journeys an EU Community Licence will allow. The same rules will apply to using it.

You do not need to exchange EU Community Licences for UK Licences for the Community.

Apply for licences

Call the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to get a licence. You need your vehicle operator licence number.

DVSA customer service centre
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

EU Community Licences and UK Licences for the Community are valid until the 5-yearly renewal date of your operator’s licence.

Fees

There’s no fee for EU Community Licences or UK Licences for the Community if you have a standard international vehicle operator licence.

Rules for using the licences

You can only use licences that have been issued to you. You cannot transfer them to another operator or company.

The licence includes:

  • an office copy - you must keep this at your main office so that it can be inspected by enforcement agencies
  • certified copies - you can get a certified copy for each of the vehicles authorised by your standard international vehicle operator licence

Certified copies of the licences are not specific to any one vehicle.

What to do when you make journeys

You must carry a certified copy of your EU Community Licence or UK Licence for the Community in your vehicle when transporting goods in or through the EU.

The driver must show it to any enforcement officer when asked to.

It’s illegal to not carry the certified copy or show it to enforcement officers when asked to.

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

Lost, damaged or stolen licences

You must tell DVSA if your documents are lost, damaged or stolen.

DVSA customer service centre
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you give up your operator licence

You need to return the office copy and certified copies to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.

Stay informed

Some of these requirements may change as the UK leaves the EU.

Sign up for road freight email alerts and DVSA email alerts to stay up to date.

Published 26 November 2018
Last updated 21 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. 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.
  2. First published.