Guidance

Drive in the EU after Brexit: lorry and goods vehicle drivers

What UK lorry and goods vehicle drivers need to do to drive professionally in the EU if there's a no-deal Brexit.

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This page tells you what to do if there’s a no-deal Brexit. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.

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Driving licences and international driving permits

You will still need to carry your UK driving licence with you.

You might also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

The types of IDPs you need will depend on the countries you will drive through.

You will not need an IDP to drive in Ireland if you have a UK driving licence.

You can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office.

They cost £5.50 and you must:

  • be a Great Britain or Northern Ireland resident
  • have a full UK driving licence
  • be 18 or over

Driver CPC for lorry drivers

You need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification to drive a lorry professionally in the UK and other EU and EEA countries.

You will still need Driver CPC to drive professionally in the UK after Brexit. You must still complete your Driver CPC periodic training by your deadline.

The UK will still recognise Driver CPC qualifications from EU countries after Brexit.

The EU will not recognise UK Driver CPC qualifications after Brexit.

If you work for an EU company or want to work for one

Consider exchanging your UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU Driver CPC qualification before Brexit. This will make sure you can still work for EU and UK companies after Brexit.

The way you do this will depend on how the country where you live and work recognises Driver CPC. Some countries:

  • use a Driver CPC card (like the UK does) - this is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card or ‘DQC’
  • add code 95 to the driving licence

Some countries recognise either method.

Countries that use a Driver CPC card

These countries use the Driver CPC card as proof that drivers have the qualification:

Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg (for non-resident drivers only), Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

Apply to the relevant organisation in the country where you live and work to exchange your Driver CPC qualification.

Countries that use code 95 on the driving licence

These countries add code 95 to driving licences as proof that drivers have the qualification:

Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg (for resident drivers only), Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Slovenia.

Exchange your UK driving licence for a driving licence in the EU country where you live and work so that your Driver CPC qualification is exchanged. Check with the relevant organisation in the country to find out if you need to take any extra steps.

If you do not live in the EU country where you work, your employer may be able to get you a ‘driver attestation certificate’. They will not be able to do this until the UK has left the EU.

Passports

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling after a no-deal Brexit.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You can use a tool to check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting.

It usually takes 3 weeks if you need to renew your passport. There’s a premium service if you need it sooner.

These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.

Visas

You will not need a visa for short trips, according to European Commission proposals. You could stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, or to work or study.

Check back for updates.

When the rules are confirmed, information about how to get a visa if you need one will be on each country’s travel advice page.

Travel to Ireland will not change, even if there’s a no-deal Brexit. You’ll continue to be able to travel and work there in the same way as before.

Healthcare

You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card may not be valid if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Insurance and road accidents

A ‘green card’ is proof you have motor insurance cover when driving abroad. You’ll need to carry one for the vehicle you’re driving if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

You’ll need to carry multiple green cards if:

  • your vehicle is towing a trailer - you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries)
  • you have 2 policies covering the duration of your trip, for example, if your policy renews during the journey

Make sure your employer contacts your vehicle insurance provider at least one month before you need green cards.

What to do if you’re involved in a road accident

You may need to bring legal proceedings in the EU or EEA country against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle if there’s a no-deal Brexit. At the moment you can make a claim via a UK-based claims representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

You might not get compensation if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or the driver cannot be traced. This will vary from country to country.

Get legal advice if you need more information about this.

What to do if you run a haulage company

Check what extra things you need to do to prepare to carry out international road haulage after Brexit if you’re also a goods vehicle operator.

Published 14 January 2019
Last updated 9 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. Removed information about what haulage companies need to do after Brexit. This information has been moved to a new guide, which is linked to. Added information about how lorry and goods vehicle drivers can stay up to date with what they need to do to prepare for Brexit.
  2. How to exchange a UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC.
  3. 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 non-EEA countries who are ECMT members.
  4. Updated the guidance on applying for ECMT permits, as applications for 2019 permits closed at 11:59pm on Saturday 16 March 2019.
  5. Background to Operation Brock, the contingency plans to manage freight traffic on the major roads leading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
  6. Update on ECMT permits and clarification on the rules for Driver CPC and displaying GB stickers.
  7. Changes to vehicle number plate, registration document and insurance requirements for all UK lorry and goods vehicle drivers driving in the EU after Brexit.
  8. First published.