Permits to travel to or through European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) member countries, and the rules you have to follow.
New rules for January 2021
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
Check what else you need to do during the transition period.
ECMT permits allow you to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through ECMT member countries.
You might need ECMT permits for journeys to or through the EU from 1 January 2021.
- Check if you need ECMT permits.
- Check if you’re eligible to apply.
- Apply for ECMT permits.
- If you get permits, get an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ for your vehicle or trailer from its manufacturer.
- Apply for an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for your vehicle or trailer.
You will need to follow rules about using your ECMT permits, including your drivers carrying the right documents.
Check if you need ECMT permits
You need an ECMT permit to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through the EU (except Cyprus), Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK to these 13 countries:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Cyprus is not part of the ECMT scheme. You cannot use an ECMT permit to transport goods through Cyprus to ECMT countries.
You might need ECMT permits for journeys to or through the EU from 1 January 2021. You should apply for these in case they’re needed. This page will be updated if anything changes.
What you do not need ECMT permits for
You do not need ECMT permits for journeys in 2020 entirely within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. You can still use your EU Community Licence for international road haulage until 31 December 2020.
You can transport some types of goods without ECMT permits. Check pages 11 and 13 of the ECMT user guide for the list.
What you cannot use ECMT permits for
You cannot use ECMT permits:
- to travel through ECMT countries to countries that are not in the scheme
- for cabotage (loading and unloading goods for hire or reward between 2 points in a country by a vehicle that’s not registered in that country)
To apply for an ECMT permit, you must:
- have a vehicle operator licence for Great Britain or a vehicle operator licence for Northern Ireland
- have Euro VI or Euro V emissions standard vehicles (depending on the type of permit you’re applying for)
Apply for permits for 2020
You can buy 30-day permits if you plan to travel through the EU (except Cyprus), Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland in 2020 to one of these countries:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey or Ukraine.
How to buy the permits
Email DVSA to buy the permits.
DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
You need to include:
- your operator licence number
- the journey destination (it must be either Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey or Ukraine)
- proof that you’ll be travelling to this country in 2020 (for example, a contract to import and export, or evidence of recent or regular to the country)
- how many permits you need
- which type of vehicle you’ll use (Euro V or Euro VI)
Apply for permits for 2021
You need to apply for permits for 2021 by 11:59pm on 20 November 2020.
Permits will only be allocated after the application period has ended. They are not allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
To apply, you need:
- your username and password to manage your vehicle operator licence
- a debit or credit card to pay the application fee
When you sign in, select the Permits tab to apply.
Before you start
You need to know:
- which countries you’ll need to transport goods to or through in 2021
- the number of international trips you made in 2019 (an outward and return trip counts as one trip)
- the percentage of international trips you made in 2019
- if your journeys include transit (passing through one or several EU countries, without collecting or delivering goods in the EU, before reaching a non-EU destination such as Switzerland)
- if your journeys include cross-trade (moving goods between 2 ECMT member countries)
- the emissions class of the vehicle you’ll be using the permits in (most permits are for Euro VI vehicles only, but a small number will be available for Euro V vehicles)
- which sector you mainly transport goods in
The sectors you can choose from are:
- food products
- mail and parcels
- raw materials and waste
- refined fuels
- transport and machinery
- unrefined fuels
- other non-metallic mineral products
- none of these sectors (you’ll be able to select this if you do not transport goods mainly in one of the other sectors)
It’s illegal to make a false statement to apply for a permit. Your operator licence can be taken away, suspended or restricted, and permits can be temporarily or permanently taken away from you.
What happens next
- DVSA will allocate permits after the application period has ended. They will be allocated based on a set criteria.
- You’ll get an email telling you if you’ve been allocated a permit.
- You must pay the permit fee within 10 calendar days if you’re allocated a permit.
- You’ll get the permits by first class recorded delivery.
You have to pay a non-refundable £10 application fee for each permit.
You then have to pay for the actual permit. It costs:
- £10 per permit for short-term permits (for use in 2020)
- £123 per permit for an annual ECMT permit (for use in 2021)
Rules for using the permits
You can use an ECMT permit to make an unlimited number of journeys within:
- a calendar year, if you have an annual permit
- 30 days of the start date on the permit, if you have a short-term permit
You have to return to the UK after every third journey.
You can only use your original permit. You cannot:
- make copies of it
- transfer it to other vehicle operators or businesses
- use it in more than one vehicle at a time
Do not laminate the permit, as it may be stamped at checkpoints.
ExampleIf you have 10 ECMT permits, you can have a maximum of 10 vehicles making journeys to or through ECMT countries at once.
When a vehicle returns to the UK, you can move the permit to another vehicle on your operator licences. That vehicle can then make journeys to or through ECMT countries.
If you have more than one vehicle operator licence
You can use an ECMT permit for a vehicle assigned to any of your operator licences. It’s not allocated to a specific operator licence.
You’re not allowed to transfer a permit to another business entity, for example, a sister company.
Rules for the vehicles and trailers
You cannot use ECMT permits you’re allocated:
- for unaccompanied trailers or semi-trailers
- with vehicles of a lower Euro emissions class to that shown on the permit (for example, you cannot use a Euro VI permit in a Euro V vehicle, but you can use a Euro V permit in a Euro VI vehicle)
Get an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ for vehicles and trailers
You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ in your vehicle and trailer. They must confirm the vehicle meets the correct Euro emissions standard and the trailer meets the technical safety requirements.
If your permit application is successful, request a certificate from your vehicle or trailer manufacturer, or contact DVSA for advice.
DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
Get an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for vehicles and trailers
You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for your vehicle and trailer.
If your permit application is successful and you do not already have a certificate, apply online to get one.
Before you start
To apply for an ECMT certificate of roadworthiness, you need:
- your username and password if you’ve used the service to manage your vehicle operator licence before (you can register in the service if you’ve not used it before)
- the vehicle registration number (number plate)
- the trailer registration number or ID number from DVLA (if you’re applying for a trailer)
- the vehicle or trailer type and make
- the certificate of compliance number (leave this blank if you do not have the number)
- vehicle identification number (VIN)
- engine type and number
Meet the ECMT Quality Charter
You must meet the ECMT Quality Charter requirements.
If you have a standard international operator licence
You already meet the requirements of the charter if you have a standard international operator licence
If you have a restricted or standard national operator licence
If you have a restricted or standard national operator licence you need to:
- have a transport manager
- give proof you have the higher levels of financial standing needed for a standard international licence
You can also apply for a standard international licence to show you meet the ECMT Quality Charter.
Fill in the ECMT log book before a journey
Each ECMT permit comes with a log book.
Before you start a journey, fill in the permit’s log book (in pen, not pencil) with a full record of all the journey’s details.
If you make a mistake, cross it out. Make sure the mistake is still readable, as it may need to be checked.
What drivers need to carry during journeys
The driver will need to carry these documents for all of the outward and return journey:
- the ECMT permit
- the ECMT permit log book (plus the issued translation sheets)
- the ECMT certificate of compliance for the vehicle and trailer (plus the issued translation sheets)
- a certificate of roadworthiness for the vehicle and trailer (plus the issued translation sheets)
The driver must show the documents at checkpoints when asked.
It’s illegal to not have the right documents for the journey. Your driver can be fined for not carrying them.
Send journey records to DVSA
If you have an annual ECMT permit, you must send the original (top sheet) for each completed page of the ECMT log book to DVSA within 2 weeks of your return to the UK.
You must send the complete ECMT log book to DVSA within 2 weeks of the permit’s expiry date.
International Road Haulage Permits Office
386 Harehills Lane
Lost, damaged or stolen permits
Contact DVSA straight away if you lose or damage a permit, or if one is stolen.
You should also tell the police if a permit is stolen.
If you give up your operator licence
Send your ECMT permits and log books to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.