Prepare for additional customs and border requirements below.
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Access to the EU
UK operators will be able to undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU. Up to two additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) may be undertaken within the EU following a laden journey from the UK, with a maximum of one cabotage movement with a 7-day period.
Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators provided they follow a journey from Northern Ireland, and are performed within 7-day period.
It is the trader’s responsibility to make customs declarations and provide the haulage company and driver with the correct documents. This can be done directly or via a third party (for example a freight forwarder, logistics company or customs agent).
The haulage company must ensure their driver has all the necessary customs information and documents and other paperwork.
The haulage company must also make sure that their drivers know what documents to present at each stage of the journey, including:
- on road pre-departure inspections – checks to demonstrate border readiness
- at ports or train terminals
- at customs posts
The driver must carry the information and documentation provided by the haulage company in the vehicle for the duration of the journey. This also includes information and documentation necessary to meet EU member state requirements. This is because each movement of goods from the EU to the UK is both an export movement for EU authorities and import movement for UK authorities.
It is vital that drivers know what information and documentation is needed, and where, when and how they will be presented and checked.
Drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs, vans & coaches must get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) before you cross the border into certain countries.
If you do, free COVID testing is available for drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs, vans and coaches at some haulier advice sites.
We strongly advise drivers and crew to get a negative test before entering Kent.
Drivers and crew using Dover and Eurotunnel will get fast-tracked past queues if they get tested and have a valid Kent Access Permit before arriving in Kent.
Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
All UK drivers will still need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in order to work. Drivers need to carry their CPC driver qualification card while driving in the EU.
Drivers working for UK operators
Drivers with current UK Driver CPC working for UK operators do not need to take any additional action with regard to qualifications to prepare for the end of the transition period. UK CPC will continue to be valid for drivers of all journeys that UK operators are entitled to undertake, whether as a result of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or on the basis of ECMT permits.
UK legislation currently allows EU drivers working for UK operators to continue doing so on the basis of CPC awarded by EU member states. If such drivers wish to have long-term certainty on their ability to work for UK operators, they should exchange their EU CPC for a UK CPC.
UK drivers working for EU operators
Drivers holding a UK-issued CPC who work for, or plan to work for an EU company (e.g. a UK driver working for a French or Irish haulier) should take action. This is because a UK-issued CPC may not be recognised as a valid qualification by EU employers.
Drivers who hold a UK-issued CPC working or wanting to work for EU businesses should check with the relevant organisation in the country where they live and work to find out what they need to do. Apply to the relevant body in an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country to exchange a UK Driver CPC.
Operator licensing: Community Licence and the UK Licence for the Community
UK hauliers undertaking international work will continue to need the relevant operator licence.
Hauliers with a Community Licence should have received a replacement ‘UK Licence for the Community’. A copy of the new UK Licence for the Community should, in all circumstances, be carried on board all vehicles when working in the EU.
Check for updates: gov.uk/transition
Visas, passports and identity cards
UK drivers need at least 6 months on a UK passport to travel to the EU. Drivers can check if they need to renew their passport here.
Before 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can enter the UK with a passport or national identity card, as they do now.
From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need a passport to travel to the UK.
This will not apply to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals whose rights are protected by the withdrawal agreements, including those covered by the EU Settlement Scheme and frontier workers. They will still be able to use national identity cards for travel until 31 December 2025 at least.
UK drivers can continue to operate in the EU without the need for a visa, providing they do not spend more than 90 days in the EU within any 180-day period.
Information about how to get a visa if you need one is on each country’s travel advice page.
A Green Card is proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad. UK drivers are required to carry a Green Card as proof of insurance cover when driving in the EU (including Ireland), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Andorra.
UK drivers and operators should ensure that they have Green Cards for all vehicles and trailers that may be operated in the EU. Contact motor insurance providers 6 weeks before travel to get a Green Card for vehicles and trailers.
Drivers will need to carry extra Green Cards if they:
* are towing a trailer (one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer)
* have 2 insurance policies covering the journey (one card for each policy)
* have multi-vehicle or fleet insurance (one for each vehicle on the policy)
Vehicle registration documents
Drivers will need to carry vehicle registration documents when driving abroad. 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
Drivers do not need a GB sticker if their number plate includes the GB identifier on its own or with the Union flag.
Vehicles registered in Great Britain or Northern Ireland do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
Drivers must display a GB sticker clearly on the rear of vehicles and trailers if their number plate has any of the following:
- a Euro symbol
- a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
- numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier
When driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, drivers must display a GB sticker no matter what is on their number plate.
Inland border facilities (IBFs) are UK government sites where customs and document checks can take place away from port locations.
IBFs will act as a Government Office of Departure (for outbound journeys) and as Government Office of Destination (for inbound journeys). Hauliers can start and end journeys at IBFs when moving goods in and out of the UK.
Checks for the following movements will be carried out at IBFs:
- Common Transit Convention (CTC), also known as Transit
- ATA carnet
- Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) carnet
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Hauliers may need to go to an IBF if they have:
- entered the UK or plan to exit the UK via Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead and need:
- to start or end a CTC movement
- CITES checks
- an ATA carnet or TIR carnet stamped
- been directed there because they are not border ready
- been directed there for a document or physical inspection of their load
A list of IBF locations and functions can be found in the Haulier Handbook
Hauliers and drivers of HGVs, LGVs, vans & coaches can visit advice sites for:
- a COVID test, which they need to cross into France, Denmark and the Netherlands
Also for in-person advice on
- new rules and documents needed to move goods between the UK and EU
- how to prepare for the changes
- how to use the new Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service
- advisory border readiness checks upstream of ports, and support on next steps to get ready
Drivers will continue to need the correct category of driving licence for the vehicle they are driving. Drivers can check the driving categories on their licence.
You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have:
- a paper driving licence
- a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man
UK hauliers who wish to undertake up to three cross-trade movements (moving goods between two countries outside the UK) may do so using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.
Find out about the ECMT application process.
HGV drivers or designated hauliers must use the Check an HGV is ready to cross the border service to get a Kent Access Permit (KAP) if they are using the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel. This is to prevent traffic congestion in Kent by ensuring that HGVs are not held up at ports.
Congestion may still occur if HGV drivers reach the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel without the correct documentation. The Kent Resilience Forum has plans in place to deal with this. Kent Police will decide when to activate parts of the plans, depending on the level of any congestion.
There will be traffic management between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20. HGVs crossing the Channel via Dover or Eurotunnel must use the coastbound carriageway. Depending on the level of congestion, HGVs may be held between junctions 8 and 9 until congestion at the ports ease.
Other traffic will use a two-way contraflow on the opposite carriageway. HGVs that are not travelling internationally or are carrying fish/shellfish or day-old chicks and are displaying a valid prioritisation permit can use the contraflow. HGV drivers may be fined £300 if they use the contraflow when they should not.
When there is active traffic management, depending again on the level of congestion, HGV drivers may be asked to follow road signs to Manston Airport (if heading to Dover) or to Sevington. Prioritisation permits for fish/shellfish or day-old chicks will be issued at Ebbsfleet.
If travelling through Kent in early 2021, be aware that there is potential for disruption if there are delays at the border. HGV drivers should plan their journey to ensure that they can take breaks and, in particular, overnight rest periods before entering Kent. This will minimise the risk of hitting drivers’ hours limits. If required, there is a pre-agreed plan to relax drivers’ hours to assist with congestion.
HGV drivers should ensure they have enough food and water in case of delays at the border. HGV drivers can find out about motorway service areas along their route to help plan their journeys.
Kent County Council has introduced a HGV parking ban in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Maidstone, Swale and Thanet until 1 July 2021. This is to address anti-social parking in residential areas. The ban will not apply to drivers taking their short 45 minute breaks in safe locations. The County Council will not target HGVs that are parked up on industrial estates or in lay-bys, and not causing an obstruction or nuisance for enforcement action.
Map of traffic management sites in Kent
The Short Straits routes via Kent are particularly vulnerable to disruption, and this area is the focus of most traffic management plans. There are also plans for local traffic disruption at ports outside of Kent.
Portsmouth Port traffic management
A traffic management plan called Operation Transmission is in place to manage freight away from the entrance to Portsmouth International Port. To prevent delays and avoid cancellations to travel plans, follow the signage directing hauliers to the nearest triage point. At the triage points, documents can be checked in advance and entry to the port granted. Triage points are open 24/7. Hauliers should only travel to the port if they have a valid Brittany Ferries booking and the correct paperwork.
Humber ports traffic management
Highways authorities have a localised traffic management scheme on the A160. This will only be implemented if there is out-of-the-ordinary and disruptive queuing traffic at Killingholme or Immingham ports. The routes will be well signposted. Further information will be available from the Humber Local Resilience Forum. Hauliers travelling from the Humber ports must have the correct paperwork and make sure that ferry sailings are booked in advance.
Reusable packaging is packaging that is designed to be reused multiple times to protect sensitive items or equipment from damage during transportation. It is not intended for resale and for imports eligible for a relief on customs duties. These items include plastic or metal cages, crates or frames.
To claim import relief the packaging must have been previously exported or used to import goods.
To import and export reusable packaging an electronic customs declaration can be made. Or, where there is an available facilitation, a declaration by conduct or an oral declaration can be made to the temporary admission or free circulation procedures.
The Haulier Handbook can be viewed here
Once you’ve completed all of these requirements, you are ready to start your journey and collect the goods.