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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The UK is leaving the EU. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit and will be updated if anything changes.

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You will not be able to move goods across EU borders or drive in the EU without the correct documents. Make sure you have the documents you need.

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 countries, Iceland and Norway 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, the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

If you work for a UK company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification

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.

You do not need to do anything else if you’re a UK driver working for a UK company.

You will still be able to drive to or through EU countries with your UK Driver CPC qualification for all international journeys that UK companies are allowed to make after a no-deal Brexit.

Example Your UK Driver CPC will be valid for a journey from the UK to Switzerland using an ECMT international road haulage permit after Brexit.

If you work for an EU company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification

Exchange your UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU one if you work for an EU company or want to work for one. You will then be able to work for both EU and UK companies after Brexit.

You need to exchange it before Brexit. Do it as soon as possible.

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, Sweden and Switzerland.

Apply to the relevant organisation in the country where you live and work to exchange your Driver CPC qualification. Check with them how long it takes to make sure you do it in time.

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, Iceland, 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. Check with them how long it takes to make sure you do it in time.

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.

If you’re an EU national working for a UK company

Exchange your UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU one if you think you might want to work for an EU company after Brexit. This will let you work for both EU and UK companies after Brexit.

You need to exchange your Driver CPC before Brexit. Do it as soon as possible.

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

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 Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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 country, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

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 6 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated the Driver CPC section to make it clearer that UK drivers working for a UK company will still need Driver CPC after Brexit, and will still be able to use their UK Driver CPC qualification for all international journeys that UK companies are allowed to make after Brexit.
  2. Updated the section on Driver CPC to make it clear that you need to exchange your UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU Driver CPC qualification before 31 October 2019 if you work for an EU company or want to work for one. Do this as soon as possible.
  3. 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.
  4. How to exchange a UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC.
  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 non-EEA countries who are ECMT members.
  6. Updated the guidance on applying for ECMT permits, as applications for 2019 permits closed at 11:59pm on Saturday 16 March 2019.
  7. Background to Operation Brock, the contingency plans to manage freight traffic on the major roads leading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
  8. Update on ECMT permits and clarification on the rules for Driver CPC and displaying GB stickers.
  9. Changes to vehicle number plate, registration document and insurance requirements for all UK lorry and goods vehicle drivers driving in the EU after Brexit.
  10. First published.