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Despite the UK-EU trade deal struck on Christmas Eve 2020, British drivers will still need more documents when carrying out international transportation tasks in the EU or beyond. The UK Government has nonetheless published information on what docs are required.

The list is as follows:

Documents for drivers

1. Valid passport and visa

All drivers, passengers and crew members need a valid passport – it can be a burgundy EU/UK passport or the new blue UK passports. As the British government recommends, passports should have at least 6 months remaining from your date of travel. If you renewed your passport early, extra months would have been added to your new passport. These extra months will not count towards this so some passport holders will need to have more than 6 months remaining in order to travel.

No British resident needs a visa for entry into any EU member states if they hold a British passport. But they may need a visa if they are travelling beyond the EU. You can check the visa regulations on the government’s site.

2. Tachograph and CPC card

British drivers working for a British company can still use their UK Driver CPC card to drive to or through EU countries for all international journeys that UK companies are allowed to make.

3. Driving licence

UK driving licences are accepted in the EU but drivers need to carry their licences with themselves.

British drivers do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

Documents operators must provide for drivers

1.Documents about vehicle and trailer registration

As for the vehicle:

Drivers need to have the vehicle’s log book (V5C) and the VE103 document to prove they are allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad (if it applies).

As for the trailer:

From 28 March 2019, carriers must register commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg before they can travel through countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Those countries are as follows:

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.

Trailers making international journeys will need to be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), they must display their own registration plate (separate from the vehicle towing them). They also must be able to present the Trailer Registration Certificate to a foreign authority on request.

Registration happens at the DVLA and carriers need to know the manufacturer, the chassis number, the permissible maximum mass, the unladen mass of their trailer.

Carriers do not need to register trailers used in Spain, Cyprus or Malta. However, they need to register trailers if they drive them through any country listed above to reach these destinations.

2. Certificates for specialist vehicle approvals

Those carrying out special transportation tasks including transportation of dangerous goods; perishable food or sealed load compartments for quicker border crossings under the TIR system, should be able to provide their certificates allowing these tasks.

3. MOT certificate or letter about the delay of an MOT exam

As MOTs have been extended due to coronavirus in the United Kingdom, some vehicles might not have a paper about a valid MOT certificate. While the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has updated its electronic records, it has not provided paper documents. Therefore, drivers should carry a copy of the letter by DVSA explaining their vehicle’s MOT has been extended. 

The government recommend drivers carry the following 3 documents about roadworthiness:

4. International road haulage permits

UK Licence for the Community

Drivers who make international journeys for hire or reward within the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, need a UK License for the Community that can be used in the following 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.

ECMT international road haulage permits

In its latest advice for international hauliers, the UK Department for Transport has stressed that hauliers will still require ECMT permits to make transports to and from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Moldova and Montenegro.

5. Green cards

A ‘Green Card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. Drivers should carry prints of green cards the vehicle’s insurance providers electronically send to them. Drivers may have to carry several green cards in the following cases:

  • They have fleet insurance – drivers need a Green Card for each vehicle
  • The vehicle is towing a trailer – drivers need one green card for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer 

6. Goods insurance

In some countries, you may need to produce a certificate of insurance for the goods carried to avoid paying a premium, recommends the government website.

7. Documents for the customs procedure and the „Check an HGV” service

Although the UK is delaying customs procedures and checks on goods incoming goods, France has already started checking lorries at Calais. To check whether a company has prepared all the customs documentations needed, the British government has set up a service called  “Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border” which asks drivers whether applicable customs documentation is held. The required documents can be the following:

  • Movement Reference Number (MRN) for the EU customs import declaration
  • Transit Accompanying Document
  • ATA Carnet or TIR Carnet

For commodities, the Service will ask whether particular documentation is held for example:

  • Export Health Certificates
  • Phytosanitary Certificates
  • Catch Certificates
  • Documentation for certain restricted goods e.g. CITES goods

8. Kent Access Permit

All lorry drivers (both British and non-British drivers) who carry out international transportation tasks from the UK to the EU via the county of Kent to cross the Channel need a Kent Access Permit (KAP).

By the time drivers arrive at the county of Kent, they need to have the KAP. To get it, drivers need to receive a green light from the “Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border” service.

Here is what information drivers need to provide to receive a permit:

  • the expected date and time of arrival of the HGV in Kent
  • the registration number (front number plate) of the HGV
  • custom-ready documentations: – an EU import document with a barcode (for example from an import declaration or Transit Accompanying Document) AND – Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission (ATA) or Transport Internationaux Routiers (TIR) carnets.

The “Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border” service will ask whether applicable customs documentation is held, for example:

  • Movement Reference Number (MRN) for the EU customs import declaration
  • Transit Accompanying Document
  • ATA Carnet or TIR Carnet

For commodities, the Service will ask whether particular documentation is held for example:

  • Export Health Certificates
  • Phytosanitary Certificates
  • Catch Certificates
  • Documentation for certain restricted goods e.g. CITES goods

9. Safety and security exit declarations

A safety and security EXS declaration is required from 1 January 2021. The requirement can usually be done via the customs export declaration, which contains information to meet safety and security requirements.

Where an export declaration is not submitted before departure, a standalone EXS may be needed into the ECS of that country” – the British government explains.

A standalone EXS declaration will be required if:

  • an empty container is being moved under a transport contract (a transport contract, or contract of carriage, is an agreement between a carrier and shipper or passenger, setting out each party’s duties and rights)
  • the goods have remained in temporary storage for more than 14 days
  • the goods have remained in temporary storage for less than 14 days but the import safety and security declaration details are unknown or where the destination or consignee details change
  • the goods are moved under transit using a Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) or Transit and Safety and Security Declaration (TSADs) – TSADs cannot be used to meet safety and security requirements in GB from 1 January 2021

A standalone EXS declaration will not be required if empty pallets and containers are moved out of GB not under a transport contract.

For joint safety and security EXS declarations and customs export declarations, and for standalone safety and security EXS declarations, the submission can be made on CHIEF/Customs Declaration Service. There will still be the option to submit EXS declarations through community system provider (CSP) systems or third-party software providers.

10. Entry summary declarations

For accompanied freight, the haulier is responsible for submitting the entry summary declaration – also known as the safety and security ENS declaration – into the member state’s ICS at the first point of entry to the EU.

The deadline for lodging the ENS declaration for goods moving by road is at least one hour before arrival.


Photo credit: Richard Hoare / Geograph UK

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