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Detailed guide: Carry out international road haulage from 1 January 2021

Department For Transport

October 16
06:25 2020

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This page explains what goods vehicle operators need to do to carry out international road haulage from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

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Carry the right operator licence

From 1 January 2021, the operator licensing requirements for journeys to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will change.

The Community Licence will be phased out and replaced with a UK Licence for the Community. The new licence and certified copies will be issued automatically and must be carried when driving abroad.

You will still need a ?standard international operator licence.

Get the right permits

From 1 January 2021, you may need an ECMT or other additional permits for international journeys to and through EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Further details will be provided later in 2020.

Find out how to apply for ECMT permits and when to do it.

Register your vehicle trailers

You must register these types of trailers before you drive to or through most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway:

  • commercial trailers weighing over 750kg
  • non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg

Register your trailer to take it abroad now.

Abnormal load trailers

You now need a keepers certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad. Keep the certificate in the vehicle to show at border crossings.

Some countries measure abnormal loads differently from the UK. Check with each country youre travelling through to find out if the load youre transporting counts as abnormal there.

Apply for a keepers certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad now.

Vehicle registration documents

Your drivers will need to carry your vehicle registration documents when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either:

  • the vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
  • a VE103 to show youre allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad

Check an HGV is ready to cross the border

Youll be able to use the check an HGV is ready to cross the border service to prove that an HGV has the right EU import and commodities documents for the goods its carrying before it crosses the GB / EU border.

You must use this service for HGVs travelling via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel to get a Kent Access Permit before they enter Kent.

You can be fined 300 if you do not use the service when you travel via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.

It will be optional to use the service for all other GB ports.

The service will be fully operational by December 2020.

Display GB stickers

Display a Great Britain (GB) sticker on the rear of the vehicle and trailer, even if the vehicle has a number plate with the Euro symbol or a GB national identifier.

You do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.

Vehicle and trailer insurance

A green card is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. Your drivers should plan to carry one for the vehicle theyre driving in the EU and EEA from 1 January 2021.

Your drivers will need to carry multiple green cards if:

  • you have fleet insurance - youll need a green card for each vehicle
  • their vehicle is towing a trailer - they will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer (separate trailer insurance is needed in some countries)
  • there are 2 policies covering the duration of the trip, for example, if the policy renews during the journey

Contact your vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you need green cards.

More about vehicle insurance.

What to do if your vehicle is involved in a road accident

If your drivers are involved in a road accident in an EU country they should in the first instance contact their insurer.

From 1 January 2021, any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.

You may not get compensation in some countries if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced.

Get legal advice if you need more information about this.

What lorry and goods vehicle drivers need to do

Find out what your drivers need to do to drive professionally in the EU from 1 January 2021.

Published 25 February 2020
Last updated 16 October 2020 +show all updates
  1. New information on Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service and updates to operator licence information.

  2. First published.

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