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"Brexit: What Could Change for UK Hauliers?"

Brexit: If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK hauliers and commercial drivers who operate in the EU will need, correct documentation to travel to, from and through the EU.

Here is some more specific information about these new documents for drivers, vehicles, customs and cargo that will be required.

Driver Documents

International Driving Permits (IDP) in Selected Countries

In 24 out of the 27 EU countries, you will still be able to use UK photocard driving licences after Brexit. However, in France, Italy and Cyprus, you will also need to show an International Driving Permit.

  • In France and Italy, you will need a 1968 IDP
  • In Cyprus, you will need a 1949 IDP

Additional IDP’s may be required if a driver doesn’t have a photocard licence. All IDP’s should be checked that they are still valid where they need to drive as some may need to be replaced and each type of IDP is only valid for a certain amount of time.

IDP’s are available to purchase over the counter at UK Post Offices.


To travel to most countries in Europe, drivers should have at least 6 months left on their passport. Extra months may be added to expiry dates if the current passport was renewed before the previous one expired.

If drivers have a passport for over 10 years, any extra months may not count towards the 6 months needed. For short trips to the EU, drivers will not need a visa as they can stay for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

ECMT Permit

Most journeys between the UK and the EU will continue as normal after Brexit and an ECMT permit won’t be required until at least 31 May 2020. However, some journeys made during the transition period will.

Hauliers will need an ECMT permit if they:

  • Make 3 cross-trade journeys: hauling goods from one EU country to another during one single trip
  • Need to transit the EU to no-EU countries

ECMT permits need to be accompanied by an EMCT logbook (issued with the permit), ECMT certificate of compliance and an ECMT certificate of roadworthiness, both regarding vehicles and trailers.

Tachograph Driver Card

It is required that drivers of goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes on international journeys comply with EU rules on drivers’ hours and tachograph use.

They must be able to produce tachograph charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days, as well as the digital smart card if they have one.

Community Licence and Licence for the Community

Drivers holding a Community Licence will be able to carry on using this after a no-deal Brexit for the transitional period until 31 July 2020. If drivers apply for or renew their Community Licence after a no-deal Brexit, they will receive a UK Licence for the Community.

It is required that a copy of the Community Licence or Licence for the Community has to be carried on board all vehicles when working in the EU. These new documents will not be valid for journeys through the EU to countries outside the EU and EEA, they will require ECMT permits instead.

UK drivers who carry their own goods, operating on their own account, or have vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, including vans, do not need to hold a Community Licence or Licence for the Community.

Vehicle Documents

  • A GB sticker fixed to the rear of the vehicle and trailer
  • A vehicle Logbook (V5C) or a vehicle on hire certificate (VE103) to use a hired or leased vehicle
  • Motor Insurance Green Cards

A Green Card is an international certificate of motor insurance accepted in 48 countries, part of the Green Card scheme.

You may require multiple Green Cards if you:

  • Have a trailer attached to your vehicle; one Green Card for the vehicle and one for the trailer, you may even have to have separate trailer insurance too
  • Are a commercial operator and have fleet insurance; Green Cards will be required for each vehicle
  • Have 2 insurance policies covering the duration of the journey, like if you renew your policy during the trip

Drivers will need to carry Green Cards for their vehicle and trailer when driving in the EU, unless otherwise advised.

  • A trailer registration plate displayed, and vehicle registered with DVLA

Commercial trailers weighing over 0.75 tonnes and non-commercial trailers weighing over 3.5 tonnes need to be registered with the DVLA before travelling abroad. They do not need to be registered when travelling between the UK and Ireland.

The keeper of the trailer needs to ensure that the trailer displays registration plates and that the driver carries DVLA trailer registration papers. A keeper’s certificate is required for an abnormal load trailer taken outside the UK and this should always be kept when they go abroad.

Customs and Cargo Documents

Your exporter is responsible for providing documents for the cargo you are carrying, and they will be needed to take goods across the border. You will need additional documents if you are transporting high risk goods, animals, plants or other controlled products.

Some EU countries may impose different requirements on their side of the border and by not complying with these, it could result in delays or penalties. Make sure you check local custom processes for France, Holland, Spain and Belgium.

For more information about Moving Goods from the UK into the EU, click here, and vice versa, click here. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.