What truck and lorry drivers from the UK may need to do to drive in the EU and EEA when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.
Requirements for UK goods vehicle drivers driving abroad from 29 March 2019
From 28 March 2019, lorry and truck drivers from the UK will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA.
This includes registering certain trailers with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and carrying a trailer registration certificate.
In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK lorry and truck drivers may also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU and EEA.
Some of these requirements may change depending on the terms that the UK leaves the EU. Bookmark and revisit this web page or sign up for email alerts to stay up to date.
Community licences and ECMT permits
Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.
If there is no EU Exit deal
EU and EEA countries may not recognise UK issued community licences from 29 March 2019 if there is no EU Exit deal.
If that happens, the UK government is confident it can negotiate new bilateral agreements or reinstate old ones with EU countries to provide haulage access.
However, ECMT international road haulage permits will allow UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK issued community licences are not recognised. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.
There are limited numbers of annual and short term ECMT permits available.
Haulage in the Republic of Ireland
Regulations were passed in Parliament in November 2018 which confirmed that the UK government does not require Northern Ireland hauliers to carry permits when on international journeys to, or through the Republic of Ireland.
This is in keeping with the UK government’s position in the Road Haulage and Trailer Registration Act that we will not introduce permits on the island of Ireland without the consent of the Government of Ireland.
If you have a Northern Ireland operator’s licence, you will not need an ECMT permit for a journey to the Republic of Ireland.
If you have a Great Britain operator’s licence, you should apply for an ECMT permit if you plan to drive in the Republic of Ireland from 29 March 2019, and no agreement is in place.
Prepare for ECMT permits
You can no longer apply for ECMT permits for 2019. Applications were open from 26 November 2018 to 18 January 2019.
Investigate alternative options for transporting your goods to the EU and EEA.
From 28 March 2019, you must register commercial trailers weighing over 750kg and non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg before they can travel to or through most EU and EEA countries.
Prepare for trailer registration
More about trailer registration.
Driver CPC for lorry drivers
Lorry drivers need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification to drive in the EU and EEA.
From 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, EU and EEA countries may not recognise UK-issued Driver CPC.
UK drivers will still be able to operate in the EU with a UK-issued Driver CPC when driving vehicles covered by an ECMT permit, or any existing, reinstated or new bilateral arrangement.
UK nationals working for EU companies and driving in the EU and EEA will need a Driver CPC issued by an EU or EEA country.
Before 29 March 2019 drivers can exchange their UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC. To do this, drivers must apply to the relevant body in an EU or EEA country.
Prepare for lorry Driver CPC
Determine if you should exchange your UK Driver CPC for an EU or EEA Driver CPC.
Driving licences and international driving permits
On 28 March 2019, the type of international driving permit (IDP) that some countries outside of the EU and EEA recognise will change.
On 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may need an IDP in addition to your UK driving licence to drive in EU and EEA countries.
If you hold a UK driving licence you should not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29 March 2019 as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.
Prepare for IDP changes
Driving licence exchange for UK nationals living in the EU
If you are a UK licence holder living in the EU or EEA you should exchange your UK driving licence for a local EU driving licence before 29 March 2019. From that date, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may have to pass a driving test in the EU country you live in to be able to carry on driving there.
More about exchanging your UK driving licence.
Number plates and national identifiers
Under international conventions, GB is the distinguishing sign to display on UK-registered vehicles when driving outside of the UK, including in the EU and the EEA.
You can display the distinguishing sign as either a GB sticker or a GB sign on your number plate.
From 29 March 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need a GB sticker even if your vehicle has a Euro-plate (a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign).
You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.
Vehicle registration documents
From 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you should continue to carry your vehicle registration documents with you when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either:
- your vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
- a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad
Vehicle insurance and road traffic accidents
From 29 March 2019, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, there may be changes in the:
- need to carry Green Cards in the EU and EEA
- way to make an insurance claim when involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country
- Driving abroad
- Foreign travel advice
- Going and being abroad – EU Exit guidance
- Importing, exporting and transporting – EU Exit guidance for your business
- Passenger travel to Europe by air, rail or sea after Brexit
- Passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit
- Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit: all drivers
- Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit: bus and coach drivers
- Trailer registration
- Transport – EU Exit guidance
- UK nationals in the EU: guidance for UK nationals living in the EU