Are you ready for Brexit?


This information is correct at the time of publication. Some information is due to change as trade deals evolve so please check here.

The UK has left the EU, and as we transition to our new relationship from 1 January 2021, there will be a series of actions hauliers and commercial drivers will need to take to prepare. Trade Agreement talks are ongoing, however, regardless of the deal reached with the EU:

  • UK and EU hauliers and commercial drivers will need to ensure they have new documentation required to cross the border and operate in the EU
  • Hauliers may require new vehicle and driver documentation, and will also be reliant on traders to provide them with correct customs documentation

Driver and vehicle documentation

Drivers and their vehicles will require new documentation to operate in Europe from 1st Jan 2021.

Customs and border controls

If you work with customers that export goods, there are steps you will need to take.

Traffic management

Check if your vehicle is ready to cross the border before you travel.

Passports

How to check if you need to renew your passport prior to 1 January 2021.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions for hauliers.

Driver and Vehicle Documentation

Drivers and their vehicles will require new documentation to operate in Europe from 1st Jan 2021. The Department for Transport (DfT) released its official guidance titled ‘Transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021: guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers‘.

While Trade Agreements are ongoing, and regardless of the deal reached with the EU, UK hauliers:

  • May need a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) or other additional permits for journeys to or through the EU. ECMT applications close on 20 November 2020
  • Must register their vehicle trailers before they drive to or through most EU countries
  • Must hold a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad
  • Must carry their vehicle registration documents when driving abroad for less than 12 months
  • Must 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 or a GB national identifier
  • Must carry a ‘green card’ when driving abroad as proof of motor insurance cover

Find out more on here.

Customs and Border Controls

1. Check if you should follow this step by step

You should follow different guidance if you’re:

 

2. Find out how to declare goods from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021, you’ll need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU. These rules currently apply to exporting goods to the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You can make the declarations yourself, but most businesses use a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.

3. Make sure you have an EORI number starting with GB

You need an EORI number that starts with GB to export goods from 1 January 2021.

Click here to get an EORI number.

4. Find out if you can charge VAT at 0%

From 1 January 2021, you can charge customers VAT at 0% (known as ‘zero rate’) on most goods you export to the EU.

Check if you can zero rate your goods for VAT here.

5. Check if the EU business you’re exporting to is ready

The EU business importing your goods will also need to prepare for 1 January 2021.

Before sending the business your goods, check they can make the necessary import customs declarations. They’ll also need a licence or certificate to import some types of goods.

If you work with customers that export goods, encourage them to use the Check How to Export Goods tool on gov.uk.

You can also read guidance on moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.

Traffic Management

To help prepare UK hauliers for travel post-Brexit, GOV.UK is launching a “Check an HGV is ready to cross the border” service.

The ‘Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service’ will provide advice on documentation that HGVs over 7.5 tonnes will need when exporting freight from the UK to the EU after December 31 2020. The service will also generate a ‘Kent Access Permit’ for those who confirm either that they have – or will obtain en route – the necessary customs documentation.

You must use this service if travelling via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, to get a ‘Kent Access Permit’.

The service will be ready early December.

Passports

The UK Government has created a useful checker for UK travellers to see if they need to renew their passport in order to continue crossing the border into the EU. Simply by answering five easy questions, you will be able to determine if your passport will still be valid come 1 January 2021.

To check if you need to renew your passport prior to 1 January 2021, click here.

Frequently asked questions

What Operator Licence will I need to drive in Europe?

From 1 January 2021, the operator licensing requirements for journeys to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will change.

The Community Licence will be phased out and replaced with a UK Licence for the Community. The new licence and certified copies will be issued automatically and must be carried when driving abroad.

You will still need a standard international operator licence.

For more information, click here.

Will I need any permits to drive in Europe?

From 1 January 2021, you may need an ECMT or other additional permits for journeys to or through the EU. You should apply for these in case they’re needed. You can apply for ECMT permits for 2021 between 2 November and 20 November 2020. Find out how to apply for ECMT permits and when to do it.

As a driver you will also 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. Further detail on this will be available later in 2020. 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

For more information, click here.

Will I need to register my vehicle’s trailer?

You must register these types of trailers before you drive to or through most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway:

  • commercial trailers weighing over 750kg
  • non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg

Register your trailer to take it abroad now.

To learn more on how to register your trailer, click here.

What other documentation do I need?

Your drivers will need to carry your vehicle registration documents when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either:

  • the vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
  • a VE103 to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad

A ‘green card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. Your drivers should plan to carry one for the vehicle they’re driving in the EU and EEA from 1 January 2021.

Your drivers will need to carry multiple green cards if:

  • you have fleet insurance – you’ll need a green card for each vehicle
  • their vehicle is towing a trailer – they will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer (separate trailer insurance is needed in some countries)
  • there are 2 policies covering the duration of the trip, for example, if the policy renews during the journey

Contact your vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you need green cards.

More about vehicle insurance.

For more information, click here.

Will I need to display a GB sticker even if my vehicle has a number plate with the Euro symbol or a GB national identifier?

Yes, you need to 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 or a GB national identifier.

You do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.

For more information, click here.

Will I have to do anything different if my vehicle is involved in a road incident?

From 1 January 2021, any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU or EEA country where the incident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.

You may not get compensation in some countries if the incident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced.

For more information, click here.

Will I need a visa to drive abroad?

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.

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.

For more information, click here.

Will I need to renew my passport before to drive abroad?

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.

For more information, click here.

Will I need to do anything with my UK driver CPC qualification to drive in Europe?

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.

For more information, click here.