Guidance

Check which international road haulage permits you need

Find out which licences and permits you need to operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight above 3.5 tonnes on international journeys from the UK.

If you operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating above 3.5 tonnes on international journeys, you need a number of licences and permits.

You must have a vehicle operator licence to carry your own goods, and other people’s goods, both in the UK and on international journeys.

Find out more about:

The other licences and permits you need depend on which countries the vehicle will travel to or through.

UK Licence for the Community

You can apply for a UK Licence for the Community if you make international journeys for hire or reward within the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You can use the licences in:

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

The UK Licence for the Community also allows you to carry out a limited number of haulage jobs inside an EU country (called ‘cabotage’) or between 2 EU countries (called ‘cross-trade’).

Find out how to apply for a UK Licence for the Community and the rules you have to follow.

ECMT international road haulage permits

You can apply for European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) international road haulage permits for journeys between 43 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, North Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.

You can also use an ECMT permit to carry out a third cross-trade job in the EU.

Find out how to apply for ECMT permits and the rules you have to follow.

ECMT international removal permits

You can apply for a permit for laden or empty journeys if you’re a specialist removal company and you move household goods and business possessions between or across the 43 ECMT 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, North Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.

Find out how to apply for international removal permits and the rules you have to follow.

Bilateral road haulage permits for some non-EU countries

You can apply for bilateral road haulage permits for some non-EU countries the UK has agreements with:

Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

You only need a permit for journeys to or through Turkey when you’re continuing on to a third country.

Find out how to apply for bilateral international road haulage permits and the rules you have to follow.

Countries the UK does not have arrangements with

You need to apply for licences from countries that the UK does not have a special arrangement or agreement with.

Get advice from the embassies of the countries you need to travel through or to.

Carrying goods for your own business or not for hire and reward (‘own account’)

‘Own account’ is where either:

  • your vehicle is only carrying goods in connection with your own business
  • your delivery contents are not for hire or reward

Own account journeys in the EU

You do not need a UK Licence for the Community for own account journeys between the UK and EU if the following conditions apply:

  • the goods you’re carrying are your property, or have been sold, bought, let out on hire or hired, produced, extracted, processed or repaired by you
  • the journey’s purpose is to carry the goods to or from your premises or to move them for your own requirements
  • you employ the drivers, or they’re put at your disposal for your own requirements
  • you either own the vehicles carrying the goods, have bought them on deferred terms, or have hired them
  • transporting the goods is only to support your main business activity - transporting goods cannot be your main business activity

Extra documents for Cyprus or Hungary

For own account journeys between the UK and Cyprus or Hungary, you must carry documents in the vehicle that show:

  • the name and address of the operator
  • the operator’s trade or business
  • the nature of the goods being carried
  • loading and unloading points
  • registration number of the vehicle being used
  • the route the haulage takes

You may be asked to provide evidence of the ownership of the goods.

Own account journeys in non-EU countries

You must have a bilateral international road haulage permit for own account journeys to some non-EU countries the UK has agreements with.

Check which non-EU countries you need the permits for.

Published 4 September 2012
Last updated 19 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Removed Serbia from the list of countries you can get a bilateral international road haulage permit for. You can still apply for an ECMT permit for journeys to Serbia.

  2. Replaced the EU Community Licence with the UK Licence for the Community to make international journeys for hire or reward within the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Added links to a new guide about carrying out a road haulage job entirely within one EU country (cabotage) or between 2 EU countries (cross-trade).

  3. Removed detailed information about the authorisations and permits you will need after Brexit. This information has been moved to a new guide. Added a link about how to prepare for Brexit which takes you to this new guide.

  4. Updated cabotage and cross-trade rules if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019 to confirm you’d be allowed to carry out 2 cabotage or cross-trade 2 journeys until 31 December 2019.

  5. 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.

  6. Added the deadline of 11:59pm on 16 March 2019 for applying for 2019 ECMT permits if you have not already applied for them.

  7. Extended the deadline to apply for 2019 permits from 11:59pm on 21 December 2018 to 11:59pm on 18 January 2019

  8. Added a link to apply for ECMT permits until 11:59pm on 21 December 2018.

  9. Added the dates you can apply online for ECMT permits for 2019, and clarified that permits will only be allocated after the application period has ended - they will not be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

  10. Added a link in the ECMT international road haulage permits section to the criteria that will be used to allocate ECMT permits.

  11. Added information about what to do If you think you might need an ECMT permit to transport goods in 2019.

  12. Updated section 'Get an ECMT permit' to remove reference to the your vehicle being environmentally compliant to the Euro III standard as this is no longer valid.

  13. Added a link to PDF for an Application for Moroccan Exceptional Empty Entry and Hors Contingent Permits.

  14. Updated cabotage wording in consultation with DfT(c) policy team.

  15. First published.