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 12 April 2019.
Requirements for UK goods vehicle drivers driving abroad
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.
If 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.
Haulage journeys to, in or through the EU and EEA
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
UK hauliers can continue to use their EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019. You will 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
Hauliers will not be allowed to drive through the EU and EEA to a third country, for example, driving through France to get to Switzerland, without an ECMT permit.
If you get a new international operator licence or renew your licence from April 2019, you will get a ‘UK Licence for the Community’ instead of an EU Community Licence. This will work in the same way as the EU Community Licence. It will let you do the same journeys a Community Licence allows. The same rules will apply to using it. You do not need to exchange EU Community Licences for UK Licences for the Community.
Arrangements for haulage in the EU after 2019 are not yet agreed.
Haulage in the Republic of Ireland
If there is no deal, you can use your Community Licence for journeys to and from Ireland, journeys through Ireland to other EU or EEA countries, or journeys through Ireland between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Haulage in Switzerland and Norway
The UK has signed transport agreements with Switzerland and Norway. The agreements ensure that UK hauliers can continue to drive in Switzerland and Norway using a Community Licence after the UK leaves the EU.
If there is no EU Exit deal, you will need an ECMT permit for journeys through EU or EEA countries to Switzerland.
EU hauliers driving in the UK
EU hauliers will continue to be able to move goods in the UK as they do now. This includes journeys to and from the UK, through the UK and cabotage within the UK. EU hauliers’ Community Licences and CPC documents will be recognised. EU hauliers will not require ECMT permits to operate in the UK.
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.
From 12 April 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, some EU and EEA countries may also require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for trailers.
If you take an abnormal load trailer outside the UK you must apply for a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer. You need to keep the keeper’s certificate in your vehicle when you go abroad.
Driver CPC for lorry drivers
Lorry drivers need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification to drive in the EU and EEA.
The UK will continue to recognise Driver CPC qualifications from EU countries after EU Exit.
The EU may not recognise UK-issued Driver CPC qualifications after EU Exit.
Anyone in possession of a UK Driver CPC, and currently working or planning to work for an EU company, may want to exchange their UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC before the UK leaves the EU. Apply to the relevant body in an EU or EEA country to exchange a UK Driver CPC.
Exchanging a UK Driver CPC will ensure that drivers can continue to work for both UK and EU companies after the UK leaves the EU.
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 12 April 2019, if 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 will not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 12 April 2019 as Ireland does not 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 12 April 2019. From that date, if 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.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, it is recommended that you display a GB sticker on the rear of your vehicle, irrespective of whether you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.
Vehicle registration documents
From 12 April 2019, if 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 12 April 2019, if there is no EU Exit deal, there may be changes in the:
- need to carry insurance Green Cards for both vehicles and trailers 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 to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel
There are contingency plans to manage freight traffic on the major roads leading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. These plans, activated in times of cross-Channel disruption, are known as Operation Brock. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Operation Brock may be activated if there are significant delays at the border between Dover and Calais.
Before you travel, check if delays are possible at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel and check if Operation Brock is active. If Operation Brock is active, check online for advice and look out for road signs telling you where to go.
Plan ahead if you travel during Operation Brock.
- 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