Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021: lorry and goods vehicles drivers
What UK lorry and goods vehicle drivers need to do to drive professionally in the EU from 1 January 2021.
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.
For current information, read:
You can also read about the transition period.
Driving licences and international driving permits
You will still need to carry your UK driving licence with you.
You may also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some EU and EEA countries from 1 January 2021.
The type of IDP that you may need will depend on the countries you will drive through.
You will not need an IDP to drive when visiting Ireland if you have a UK driving licence.
You can get an IDP over the counter at the Post Office.
An IDP costs £5.50 and drivers must:
- be a Great Britain or Northern Ireland resident
- have a full UK driving licence
- be 18 or over
Driver CPC for lorry drivers
You need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification to drive a lorry professionally in the UK, the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
If you work for a UK company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification
You will still need Driver CPC to drive professionally in the UK. You must still complete your Driver CPC periodic training by your deadline.
You do not need to do anything else if you’re a UK driver working for a UK company.
You will still be able to drive to or through EU countries with your UK Driver CPC qualification for all international journeys that UK companies are allowed to make.
If you work for an EU company and have a UK Driver CPC qualification
Exchange your UK Driver CPC qualification for an EU one if you work for an EU company or want to work for one from 1 January 2021.
The way you do this will depend on how the country where you live and work recognises Driver CPC. Some countries:
- use a Driver CPC card (like the UK does) – this is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card or ‘DQC’
- add code 95 to the driving licence
Some countries recognise either method.
Countries that use a Driver CPC card
These countries use the Driver CPC card as proof that drivers have the qualification:
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg (for non-resident drivers only), Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Apply to the relevant organisation in the country where you live and work to exchange your Driver CPC qualification. Check with them how long it takes to make sure you do it in time.
Countries that use code 95 on the driving licence
These countries add code 95 to driving licences as proof that drivers have the qualification:
Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg (for resident drivers only), Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Slovenia.
Exchange your UK driving licence for a driving licence in the EU country where you live and work so that your Driver CPC qualification is exchanged. Check with the relevant organisation in the country to find out if you need to take any extra steps. Check with them how long it takes to make sure you do it in time.
If you do not live in the EU country where you work, your employer may be able to get you a driver attestation certificate.
You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.
On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
- have at least 6 months left
- be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
It usually takes 3 weeks if you need to renew your passport. There’s a premium service if you need it sooner.
These rules do not apply to travel to Ireland. You can continue to use your passport as long as it’s valid for the length of your stay.
You will not need a visa for short trips, according to European Commission proposals. You could stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, or to work or study.
Check back for updates.
When the rules are confirmed, information about how to get a visa if you need one will be on each country’s travel advice page.
Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021. You’ll continue to be able to travel and work there in the same way as before.
You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.
Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card may not be valid from 1 January 2021.
Read advice on buying travel insurance with the right cover.
Vehicle and trailer insurance
A ‘green card’ is proof that you have motor insurance cover when driving abroad. You should plan to carry one for the vehicle your driving in the EU and EEA from 1 January 2021.
You will need to carry multiple green cards if:
- you have fleet or multi-car insurance – you’ll need a green card for each vehicle
- your vehicle is towing a trailer or caravan – you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries)
- you have 2 policies covering the duration of your trip, for example, if your policy renews during the journey
Make sure your employer contacts their vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you need green cards.
More about vehicle insurance.
What to do if you’re involved in a road accident
If you’re involved in a road accident in an EU country you should in the first instance contact your insurance provider.
From 1 January 2021, any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurance provider 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 will 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.
GB stickers and number plates
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 and a GB national identifier.
You do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
Check an HGV is ready to cross the border
You’ll 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 it’s 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. It is the responsibility of the driver to do the check, but this can be done on their behalf by their manager.
You can be fined £300 if you do not use the Check an HGV is ready to cross the border 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.
What to do if you run a haulage company
Find out what you need to do to carry out international road haulage from 1 January 2021.
Last updated 14 December 2020 + show all updates