Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit: lorry and goods vehicle drivers
What truck and lorry drivers from the UK may need to do to drive in the EU and EEA when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020).
Requirements for UK goods vehicle drivers driving abroad from 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)
From 28 March 2019, lorry and truck drivers from the UK will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA.
This includes registering certain trailers with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and carrying a trailer registration certificate.
In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK lorry and truck drivers may also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EUand EEA.
Some of these requirements may change depending on the terms that the UK leaves the EU. Bookmark and revisit this web page or sign up for email alerts to stay up to date.
Community licences and ECMT permits
Currently, UK lorry drivers carrying out international journeys must have a standard international operator’s licence along with a community licence for journeys to, from or through the EU and EEA.
Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.
If there is no EU Exit deal
EU and EEA countries may not recognise UK issued community licences from 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) if there is no EU Exit deal.
European Commission has proposed steps to allow UK hauliers to continue transporting goods into the EU and EEA without permits until 31 December 2019. The European Parliament and Council need to agree and adopt this proposal. Until this happens, you should continue with your contingency plans.
Under the proposal, we now expect that hauliers will not need an EMCT international road haulage permit to do most business in the EU.
ECMT permits will allow UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK issued community licences are not recognised and the Commission proposal is not agreed. ECMT permits will also allow UKoperators to complete any journeys not covered by the Commission proposal. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.
There are limited numbers of annual and short term ECMT permits available.
Haulage in the Republic of Ireland
Regulations were passed in Parliament in November 2018 which confirmed that the UK government does not require Northern Ireland hauliers to carry permits when on international journeys to, or through the Republic of Ireland.
This is in keeping with the UK government’s position in the Road Haulage and Trailer Registration Act that we will not introduce permits on the island of Ireland without the consent of the Government of Ireland.
If you have a Northern Ireland operator’s licence, you will not need an ECMTpermit for a journey to the Republic of Ireland.
If you have a Great Britain operator’s licence, you should apply for an ECMTpermit if you plan to drive in the Republic of Ireland from 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), and no agreement is in place.
Apply for ECMT permits
The UK has secured more annual and short-term ECMT permits for 2019. There are permits for Euro V and Euro VI vehicles.
If you have not already applied for ECMT permits for 2019, you can apply until 11:59pm on 16 March 2019.
Do not apply again if you’ve applied for 2019 permits before. Your previous application will automatically be considered when the extra permits are allocated.
Register for updates on GOV.UK and via DVSA email alerts.
From 28 March 2019, you must register commercial trailers weighing over 750kg and non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg before they can travel to or through most EU and EEA countries.
Prepare for trailer registration
More about trailer registration.
Driver CPC for lorry drivers
Lorry drivers need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification to drive in the EU and EEA.
The UK will continue to recognise Driver CPC qualifications from EUcountries after EU Exit.
The EU may not recognise UK-issued Driver CPC qualifications after EU Exit.
Anyone in possession of a UK Driver CPC, and currently working or planning to work for an EU company, may want to exchange their UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC before the UK leaves the EU. Apply to the relevant body in an EU or EEA country to exchange a UK Driver CPC.
Exchanging a UK Driver CPC will ensure that drivers can continue to work for both UK and EU companies after the UK leaves the EU.
Prepare for lorry Driver CPC
Determine if you should exchange your UK Driver CPC for an EU or EEA Driver CPC.
Check who needs Driver CPC to drive a lorry, bus or coach.
Driving licences and international driving permits
On 28 March 2019, the type of international driving permit (IDP) that some countries outside of the EU and EEA recognise will change.
On 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may need an IDP in addition to your UK driving licence to drive in EU and EEA countries.
If you hold a UK driving licence you should not need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) as Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.
Prepare for IDP changes
Driving licence exchange for UK nationals living in the EU
If you are a UK licence holder living in the EU or EEA you should exchange your UK driving licence for a local EU driving licence before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020). From that date, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may have to pass a driving test in the EU country you live in to be able to carry on driving there.
More about exchanging your UK driving licence.
Number plates and national identifiers
Under international conventions, GB is the distinguishing sign to display on UK-registered vehicles when driving outside of the UK.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, it is recommended that you display a GBsticker on the rear of your vehicle, irrespective of whether you currently have a number plate which includes the GB identifier.
More about displaying number plates, flags, symbols and identifiers.
Vehicle registration documents
From 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you should continue to carry your vehicle registration documents with you when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either:
- your vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
- a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use your hired or leased vehicle abroad
More about vehicle registration documents for international road haulage.
Vehicle insurance and road traffic accidents
From 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, there may be changes in the:
- need to carry Green Cards in the EU and EEA
- way to make an insurance claim when involved in a road traffic accident in an EU or EEA country
- Driving abroad
- Foreign travel advice
- Going and being abroad – EU Exit guidance
- Importing, exporting and transporting – EU Exit guidance for your business
- Passenger travel to Europe by air, rail or sea after Brexit
- Passport rules for travel to Europe after Brexit
- Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit: all drivers
- Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit: bus and coach drivers
- Trailer registration
- Transport – EU Exit guidance
- UK nationals in the EU: guidance for UK nationals living in the EU
Last updated 5 March 2019 + show all updates