Guidance

UK Licence for the Community for international road haulage

Get a UK Licence for the Community to transport goods by road to or through the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and the rules you have to follow.

You need an UK Licence for the Community if you make journeys for hire or reward within the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The UK Licence for the Community has replaced the EU Community Licence.

It’s a single permit that covers trips between these countries. It also allows transit traffic through these countries to and from non-EU countries - but you need extra permits for the non-EU countries.

The UK Licence for the Community also allows you to carry out a limited number of haulage jobs inside an EU country (called ‘cabotage’) or between 2 EU countries (called ‘cross-trade’).

There are no limits on the number of available licences.

If you had an EU Community Licence before 2021

You should have received your replacement UK Licence for the Community by 31 December 2020 if you had an EU Community Licence.

Destroy your old EU Community Licence

You should destroy your old EU Community Licence.

If your UK Licence for the Community has not arrived

Email the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if your replacement licence has not arrived. You need to give your operator licence number.

Eligibility

You must have a standard international vehicle operator licence for Great Britain or standard international vehicle operator licence for Northern Ireland to apply for a UK Licence for the Community.

Where you can use the licences

You can use UK Licences for the Community in the 27 EU countries and 4 other countries:

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.

Apply for licences

Call DVSA get a licence. You need your vehicle operator licence number.

DVSA customer service centre
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

UK Licences for the Community are valid until the 5-yearly renewal date of your operator’s licence.

Fees

There’s no fee for UK Licences for the Community if you have a standard international vehicle operator licence.

Rules for using the licences

You can only use licences that have been issued to you. You cannot transfer them to another operator or company.

The licence includes:

  • an office copy - you must keep this at your main office so that it can be inspected by enforcement agencies
  • certified copies - you can get a certified copy for each of the vehicles authorised by your standard international vehicle operator licence

Certified copies of the licences are not specific to any one vehicle.

What to do when you make journeys

You must carry a certified copy of your UK Licence for the Community in your vehicle when transporting goods in or through EU countries.

You must also carry a certified copy if you’re transporting goods using another type of permit.

The driver must show it to any enforcement officer when asked to.

It’s illegal to not carry the certified copy or show it to enforcement officers when asked to.

Check what other vehicle documents and driver documents the driver needs to carry on international journeys.

Lost, damaged or stolen licences

You must tell DVSA if your documents are lost, damaged or stolen.

DVSA customer service centre
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you give up your operator licence

You need to return the office copy and certified copies to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.

Published 31 December 2020
  1. Step 1 Apply for operator licences and permits

    1. Check if you need a vehicle operator licence
    2. Apply for a vehicle operator licence

    You'll need other licences and permits, depending on the countries you're driving to or through.

    1. Check which licences and permits you need
  2. Step 2 Register and get approval for your vehicle

    You may need to register your trailer to drive through or to the EU if it weighs over 750kg.

    1. Register your trailer to take it abroad

    You’ll need to get specialist vehicle approvals to transport any of the following:

  3. Step 3 Make sure your driver is eligible to drive abroad

  4. Step 4 Check the rules for the goods you're carrying

    1. Find out what you need to do if you're exporting your own goods

    There are rules for transporting certain goods. Your driver may need to follow set routes or stop at specific check points. Check the rules for:

    1. Find out what you need to apply for if you’re moving goods temporarily out of the UK

    If you're transporting goods outside the EU they must have been cleared by customs (given ‘permission to progress’). The exporter can tell you if this has happened.

  5. Step 5 Make sure your driver has the right export documents

    Your driver will need copies of:

    • any export licences
    • the road consignment note (‘CMR note’)
    • the Movement Reference Number (MRN) from the export declaration - if you're moving goods out of the EU
    • the MRN and the Local Reference Number (LRN) - if you're moving goods under the Common Transit convention (CTC)
    • the ATA Carnet document - if you're moving goods out of the EU temporarily
    • the TiR Carnet document - if you’re moving goods in a sealed load compartment with a seal number

    The exporter should be able to give all of these to you.

    You'll also need to have a customs seal approval certificate for the vehicle if you’re moving goods in a sealed load compartment. You'll get this when your vehicle passes the TiR test.

    You may need to use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to move goods through some ports.

    1. Check how to move goods through ports that use the GVMS
  6. Step 6 Find out what vehicle documents your driver needs to carry

  7. Step 7 Check you are ready for the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead

    You may need to attend an inland border facility if you're leaving from the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead.

    1. Check whether you need to attend an inland border facility
  8. Step 8 Check local road rules

    1. Check the road rules for European countries on the AA website
    2. Check travel advice for countries outside Europe

    When you have your documents, insurance and any extra equipment you need, you can transport goods abroad.