British lorry drivers carrying out EU-bond journeys as of 1st January 2021 will need to have a variety of documents on hand, and ensure that they are valid for the required time. Here’s our guide on all the docs you’ll need:
Passports need to be valid for 6+ months
All drivers, passengers and crew members need a valid passport to travel to the EU. 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 required 6 months. This means that such 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.
Drivers can use their current UK licence to drive the categories of the vehicle for which it is entitled in all EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries. However, they might need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries.
International driving permit (IDP)
Drivers might need an IDP to drive in some EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries (but not for Ireland).
They will need:
- a 1926 permit to drive in Liechtenstein
- a 1949 permit to drive in Spain, Iceland, Malta and Cyprus
- a 1968 permit to drive in all other EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland
Drivers can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office, it costs £5.50. To be eligible to get an IPD, they must be a GB or Northern Ireland resident, have a full UK driving licence and be 18 or over.
If a driver already has an IPD, it might not be accepted in some countries after 28 March 2019. You can check if the country you are visiting will still accept your 1926 or 1949 permit after this date. (The type of the permit is written on the front of the document.)
Tachograph and CPC card
Drivers must comply with EU rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs if they are driving a goods vehicle within the EU. UK drivers will still be able to operate in the EU with a UK-issued Driver CPC when driving vehicles covered by an ECMT permit.
>>> Check out our guide on how to get an ECMT permit HERE. <<<
UK nationals working for EU companies and driving in the EU and EEA will need a Driver CPC issued by an EU or EEA country. Drivers can exchange their UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC. To do this, drivers must apply to the relevant body in an EU or EEA country.
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.
This includes these countries in the EU, EEA and Europe:
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.
Drivers’ hours’ documents and tachographs
Drivers still must follow the EU rules on drivers’ hours and tachograph use if they drive goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes on international journeys. Nothing changes about this.
Drivers still must have tachograph charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days; and the driver’s digital smart card, if they hold one.
In some countries, drivers are legally responsible for their loads, whether or not they know of the contents.
The British government recommends leaving photocopies of all medical, insurance and legal documents as back-up with family or friends in case you need copies outside of your company’s normal business hours.
In some EU and other countries, the vehicle must carry warning equipment, such as visibility clothing and warning triangles and spare bulbs.
Warning! As the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid up to 31 December 2020 so drivers had better make sure to have an appropriate travel insurance.
Drivers must be able to prove that they are operating within the rules for cabotage. They must have documents providing:
- name, address and signature of the sender and haulier
- place and the date of taking over of the goods and the place designated for delivery
- name and address and signature of the international consignee with the date of delivery
- common description of the goods, method of packing, number of packages and their special marks or numbers
- gross mass of the goods or their quantity otherwise expressed
- number plates of the motor vehicle and trailer
Green light from the ‘Check an HGV is ready to cross the border’ service
Hauliers also need 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 it’s carrying before it crosses the GB / EU border.
Kent Access Permit
Lorry drivers who leave the UK via the Eurotunnel or the port of Dover must have a Kent Access Permit (KAP). It will be digitally issued to drivers who receive a ‘green’ or ‘amber’ result from the “Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border” service.
>> Check out our guide on how to get a Kent Access Permit HERE <<<
The permit will be valid for 24 hours to cover a single trip and it must be obtained before the driver reaches the county of Kent.