ECMT international road haulage permits

Permits to travel to or through European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) member countries, and the rules you have to follow.

About the permits

You can apply for European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) international road haulage permits for journeys between ECMT member countries.

You can use ECMT permits for:

  • journeys between member countries, including laden or empty transit journeys
  • third-country journeys to other ECMT countries which would otherwise be prohibited under certain bilateral agreements

Some goods can be transported without an ECMT permit. Check chapter 2 (‘Liberalised transport’) of the ECMT user guide to find out if your goods are exempt in the countries you intend to travel to or through.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

You might need ECMT permits to transport goods in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) from 11pm on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) if the UK leaves the EUwithout a deal.

European Commission proposal

The 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 UK government now expects most operators will not need an ECMT permit to do most types of business in the EU.

This proposal has not yet been agreed and adopted by the European Parliament and Council. Until this happens, you should continue with your contingency plans.

Arrangements with individual EU countries

The UK government is also working to put arrangements in place with individual EU countries. The government is confident these will be in place before exit day if we have no deal with the EU.

These arrangements would allow you to continue to operate internationally without an ECMT permit.

Stay informed

Sign up for road freight email alerts and DVSA email alerts to stay up to date.


To use an ECMT permit, you must:

Where you can use the permits

You can use ECMT permits in 43 countries. These include:

  • EU and EEA countries (except Cyprus)
  • 15 other countries

ECMT member countries

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.

If you’re a Northern Ireland vehicle operator

If you have an operator licence from the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, the UK government expects you will not need an ECMTpermit to drive to or through Ireland.

The European Commission proposal would allow Northern Ireland operators to transport goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland. If the proposal is not agreed, the UK government will seek an agreement with Ireland to allow continued access for Northern Ireland hauliers to Ireland without the need for ECMT permits.

The UK government has stated it will not require Irish hauliers to have ECMTpermits to operate in Northern Ireland.

Apply for 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 from 5 March 2019 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 – even if you were not previously allocated a permit. Any extra applications you make will be rejected.

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.

Permits will only be allocated after the application period has ended. They are not allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Apply now

You’ll be able to apply for permits for 2020 later in 2019.


You have to pay £10 to apply for each individual permit.

If you’re allocated annual permits, you have to pay £123 for each individual permit. Each permit lasts until 31 December 2019.

If you’re allocated short-term permits, you have to pay £10 for each individual permit. Each permit lasts for 30 days.

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 can only use your original permit. You cannot:

  • make copies of it
  • transfer it to other vehicle operators or businesses

Do not laminate the permit, as it may be stamped at checkpoints by competent authorities.

You must only use a permit in one vehicle at a time.

ExampleIf you have 10 ECMT permits, you can have a maximum of 10 vehicles making journeys to or through ECMT member 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 member countries.

If you have more than one vehicle operator licence

The ECMT permit is not allocated to one of your specific operator licences. You can use a permit for a vehicle assigned to any of your operator licences.

What you cannot use ECMT permits for

You cannot use ECMT permits:

  • to travel through ECMT member countries on journeys to non-ECMTmember countries
  • for cabotage
  • for unaccompanied trailers or semi-trailers
  • with vehicles of a different Euro emissions class to that shown on the permit

ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ for vehicles and trailers

You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ in your vehicle and trailer. Certificates must confirm the vehicle meets the correct Euro emissiona 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

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, email DVSA to request a certificate.

DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office

Meet the ECMT Quality Charter

You must meet the ECMT Quality Charter when you use ECMT permits.

If you have a standard international operator licence, you already meet the requirements of the charter.

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 before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) to show you meet the ECMT Quality Charter.

Fill in the short-term permit before a journey

You need to write in the ‘valid from’ and ‘valid to’ dates on your permit before the journey.

Fill in the ECMT log book before a journey

Each ECMT permit comes with a log book.

Before you start a journey, you must fill in the permit’s log book with a full record of all the journey’s details. Use a permanent ink pen.

If you make a mistake, cross the words out neatly. Make sure the mistake is still readable, as inspectors and competent authorities need to check them.

What to do when you make 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
  • the ECMT certificate of compliance for the vehicle and trailer
  • a certificate of roadworthiness for the vehicle and trailer

The driver must show the documents at control checkpoints when asked to do so.

Find out how different ECMT member countries carry out inspections

Check what other vehicle documents and driver documents the driver needs to carry on international journeys.

It’s illegal to not have the right documents for your journey. You can be fined for not carrying them.

Send journey records to DVSA

The ECMT log book contains a duplicate (carbon copy) of journey records.

You must send the duplicate records to DVSA within 2 weeks of the end of the calendar month the journey ended in.

International Road Haulage Permits Office
Hillcrest House
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.

DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
Telephone: 0330 678 1117
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

If you give up your operator licence

You need to return your ECMT permits and log books to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.

Published 26 November 2018
Last updated 5 March 2019 

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