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.
You must also have goods vehicle operator licence to use vehicles over 2.5 tonnes to transport goods to or through Europe.
Find out more about:
The other licences and permits you need depend on which countries the vehicle will travel to or through.
There’s different guidance for EU operators transporting goods into the UK.
EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
You need 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.
You need to get a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit if you want to carry out 3 cross-trade jobs in the EU.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine
You do not usually need any permits to transport goods to, through or from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.
However, you need to get a bilateral road haulage permit if you’re travelling:
- to, from or through Turkey to another country, when the goods are neither loaded nor unloaded in the UK
- in Ukraine using a Euro III or Euro IV vehicle
Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia or Tunisia
You cannot currently get bilateral permits for Belarus or Russia because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
You can apply for bilateral road haulage permits for some non-EU countries the UK has agreements with. These countries are:
Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia or Tunisia
Armenia or Azerbaijan
You must get a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) international road haulage permit if your journey involves Armenia or Azerbaijan.
If your journey also includes Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey or Ukraine, you do not need to apply for separate bilateral permits for those countries. You can use the ECMT permit instead.
You cannot currently use ECMT permits to travel to Russia because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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.
Permits to carry out 3 cross-trade jobs in ECMT countries
You can use ECMT permits to carry out up to 3 cross-trade jobs (moving goods between 2 ECMT countries).
Permits to carry 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
Own-account operators who are carrying goods for a commercial purpose will still be subject to cabotage and cross-trade rules when operating in the EU.
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.
Permits for specialist removal companies
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.
Get help with international road haulage permits
Contact the DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office to get help with permits.