Common EU licensing schemes

  • An operating licence for road transport is currently granted under a common EU scheme of regulation. After 2020 transport undertakings established in the United Kingdom no longer meet this requirement.
  • The carriage of goods in the EU is subject to possession of a Community licence issued by the competent authorities of the state in which the holder is established. Hauliers established in the United Kingdom may no longer have access to the internal EU road haulage market. Certain other international agreements may substitute to some extent, but cabotage operations will no longer be possible.
  • The international carriage of passengers by coach buses is subject to a Community (EU) licence issued by the competent authorities under a common EU regulation. UK issued licences will be longer valid. In the absence of bilateral reciprocity, the UK may refuse to recognise EU operators licences.
  • There is a common EU Community licence covering access to the international bus and coach market. This covers regular scheduled services, special regular services and occasional services. Operators may carry out cabotage (carriage of passengers within the country by the third country operator) under EU rules subject to certain conditions
  • The UK is part of the inter-bus agreement which was entered by EU as a whole with certain other Eastern European states. This is intended to afford access for occasional services in the EU by UK operators such as coach holiday tours et cetera. Cabotage would not be permitted.

Hauliers Licence

  • Under the common EU regulation, international carriage in the EU is subject to a Community (EU) licence. Driver attestation is required in the case of a third-country national. A certificate of professional competence is required for road transport operators and managers. Persons engaged in the operation must hold a certificate of professional competence issued by an EU state competent authority.
  • An EU Community licence allows EU hauliers access to international journeys for hire and reward operations within the EU. This includes trade between EU countries and transit across EU countries. It also allows for limited cabotage which is the haulage of goods within a country as a foreign haulier, within the EU.
  • There is a wider European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit scheme that extends hauliers rights to carry goods to 43 countries party to that scheme. The scheme is more limited than the EU rights.
  • After Brexit haulier’s licence in the EU or UK may no longer enjoy recognition in the other jurisdiction. In the absence of an alternative arrangement, hauliers may not be able to access the other market with their existing licence.
  • The area of road transport licence is the subject of discussion in the EU UK future partnership negotiations.

Drivers CPC

  • Drivers who drive professionally must hold a certificate of professional competence (CPC). Certificates of professional competence on the part of drivers are issued on an EU wide basis under a common Directive. Certificates of professional competence issued by the United Kingdom or an approved centre in the United Kingdom may cease to be valid on Brexit.
  • Certificates issued are recognised throughout the EU allowing drivers to operate without additional qualifications. Goods under 3.5 tons including vans and hauliers operating on their own account carrying their own goods do not require an operator’s licence or a certificate of professional competence.
  • The EU wide driver certificate of professional competence will revert to being on a national basis in the UK.  It appears likely that a UK issued CPCs will continue to allow a UK bus driver to provide services in the EU under the inter-bus agreement  when the UK has re-joined as an independent member. The UK CPC may not be recognised by other EU states and drivers may need to acquire a new CPC qualification from another EU state.
  • After 2020  drivers who are UK nationals and do not have a long-term residence in another EU state and who work for in EU haulier with a Community licence must have driver attestation. This is issued by the authorities of the state of establishment of the haulier for each driver who is a non-national non-long-term resident

Possible Relieving Measures

  • States may choose to recognise UK operators’ licenses and authorisations on the same basis as EU licences. If they do not do so, UK hauliers may be able to use ECMT permits or other existing pre-harmonisation bilateral agreements between the EU and other states may apply. It is likely that the UK and EU states (especially Ireland) will seek to put in place bilateral agreement in most conceivable circumstances
  • The Vienna Convention on Road traffic and the Geneva Convention on Road traffic may enable UK drivers to continue driving in the EU. They may require an international driving permit for the country to be visited.
  • EU countries that ratify the Vienna Convention can require UK traders to be registered when travelling in their territory. In the UK, this would require traders to be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and display their own registration plate.
  • The UK proposes to maintain the certificate of professional competence (CPC) scheme. In the absence of bilateral agreements or comprehensive EU wide agreement, the certificates may not be recognised in the EU.
  • The UK will require continued compliance with the ECMT Quality Charter and the European agreement concerning the work of crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport (AETR).
  • UK hauliers have been requested to consider the need for permits under ECMT to haul goods internationally.

Driving Licences

  • Prior to and separate to common EU road traffic licences and standards, the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road traffic and the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road traffic provided for the international recognition of driving licences. The United Kingdom recently ratified the Vienna Convention with a view to its coming into force after 2020.
  • A UK issued Vienna Convention international driving permit will be recognised in all EU states Norway and Switzerland. The UK has arranged to make international driving permit is available through the post office or by mail order
  • In the case of EU and non-EU licence holders visiting the UK after Brexit, the UK does not require visiting motorists to hold a separate international driving permit. At present were non-EU licence holders come to reside in the UK, on a temporary basis their licences continue to be recognised for 12 months before the holder is required to take a driving test or exchange the licence, where agreements exist.
  • EU licence holders can drive under EU licence until they expire or reach the age of 70 after coming to the UK. In the case of EU licence holders who have passed their test in an EU state, the UK has indicated it will continue to exchange the licence, as is currently the case.


  • At present minimum mandatory standards on vehicle insurance are provided pursuant to EU directives. This facilitates the free movement of vehicles within the EU. The directives remove the former general green card international certificate of insurance requirement.
  • In the event of Brexit, a green card certification may be required pursuant to an international agreement.
  • UK motorists may be required to carry a green card as proof of third-party motor insurance within the EU. In the absence of the EU affording mutual recognition and equivalent requirement may be applied to EU states. It will remain a mandatory insurance requirement that travels in the EEA is a minimum term of motor insurance policies Motor insurance companies will provide green cards were required.
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