Prepare for additional customs and border requirements below.
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Drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs, vans & coaches – You may have to test negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) and carry specific forms before you cross the border into certain countries.
Find out more about COVID-19 testing requirements for hauliers here on GOV.UK guidance titled ‘Get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test if you’re an HGV or van driver’.
Hauliers arriving in England from the EU outside the Common Travel Area, may have to take a COVID-19 test if they are staying for more than 2 days. You may not need to take a test if you will be in England for 2 days or less. As the situation changes regularly, it is advised that hauliers should check the most up to date COVID requirements prior to attempting any international journey.
This applies to drivers and crews of HGVs and drivers of vans and other light goods vehicles. It applies to both UK-based and non-UK hauliers. Free COVID testing is available for drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs and vans at many UK haulier advice sites.
Find out more here for GOV.UK guidance titled ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer practice for international hauliers’ for further up to date details for Hauliers and drivers. We strongly advise drivers and crew to get a negative test before entering Kent.
Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
All UK and EU 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 and the UK.
Drivers working for UK operators
Drivers with a current UK Driver CPC working for UK operators do not need to take any additional action regarding qualifications. A UK Driver CPC is valid for drivers of all journeys that UK operators are entitled to undertake, either on the basis of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or on the basis of ECMT permits.
EU drivers can work for UK operators with a Driver 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 Driver CPC for a UK Driver CPC.
To do this you’ll need to send your EU Driver CPC card to DVSA if you want to exchange it for a GB Driver CPC card or to the DVA if you live in Northern Ireland. : Driver CPC training for qualified drivers: If you have a licence from another country – GOV.UK
Given the UK is a third country, UK nationals may need a “third country driver attestation” in case they do not meet the conditions set out in Reg 1072/2009 “on common rules for access to the international road haulage market”.
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: UK Licence for the Community
UK hauliers undertaking international work will continue to need the relevant operator licence.
A copy of the 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/brexit
Visas, passports and identity cards
UK drivers need a passport to travel to the EU, it must be valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave the EU.
In some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.
Drivers can check if they need to renew their passport at Check a passport for travel to Europe
EU, EEA ,and Swiss national identity cards are not accepted as a valid travel document and a passport is required for entry to the UK.
This does not apply to those EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 or otherwise have protected rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.
Gibraltar identity cards issued to British citizens and Irish passport cards also continue to be accepted for travel to the UK.
Further details on the new requirements and exceptions is provided on Visiting the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Information about how to get a visa if you need one is on each country’s travel advice page at Foreign travel advice
Driving licences and international driving permits
Drivers 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
Motor insurance Green Card.
A Green Card is proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad.
As of the 2nd August 2021, UK drivers have not needed to carry a Green Card when driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland.
If travelling through these to other countries then a Green card may still be required. Information regarding if you need to carry one is available on each country’s travel advice page at Foreign travel advice
NB. Proof of insurance must still be carried in every vehicle.
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 vehicle on hire certificate to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad. Link – Taking a vehicle out of the UK: For less than 12 months
GB or UK sticker
Since 28 September 2021, vehicles registered in the UK have had to display the letters ‘UK’ when driven abroad (excluding Ireland).
UK identifiers can either be incorporated in vehicle number plates (along with the Union flag) or as a separate sticker.
Drivers do not need a UK sticker to drive in most countries (except Spain, Cyprus and Malta) if their number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (i.e. the Union Jack).
When driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, drivers must display a UK sticker no matter what is on their number plate.
Vehicles registered in Great Britain or Northern Ireland do not need to display a UK sticker to drive in Ireland.
Drivers must display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of vehicles and trailers if their number plate has any of the following:
- a European flag symbol
- a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
- numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier
UK operators will be able to undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU.
Cabotage – the transport of goods or passengers between 2 places in the same country by a transport operator from another country for the purposes of hire and reward, this is heavily restricted in the UK and abroad.
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.
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 international road haulage permits application process.
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 operations have access to IT systems such as Good Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) and GB safety and security (S&S GB) – this can be done by registration and will require the haulier to have a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
The driver should have all the necessary customs information and documents and other paperwork for the route they intend to use. If the haulier intends to use a third party to complete the S&S GB entry, they will need to have put this in place via the
third-party software or the community service provider (CSP).
The haulage company must also make sure that their drivers know what documents to present at each stage of the journey, including:
- at ports or train terminals
- at customs posts
Note: Depending on your route, some or all of these documents may be submitted digitally in advance.
Please ensure you understand the process for the route you are using
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, and vice versa.
It is vital that drivers know what information and documentation is needed, and where, when and how they will be presented and checked.
Rules for drivers and personal food and drink
Drivers travelling to and from the EU should be aware of the rules about what personal food, drink and plants they can take with them. These rules apply to items carried on their person, in luggage or in the vehicle.
Drivers cannot take products containing meat or dairy (e.g. a ham and cheese sandwich or coffee with milk) into (now) or out of the EU (from 1 July 2022).
Almost all plants and plant products, including fruits, vegetables, flowers and seeds, require a phytosanitary certificate before being allowed into the EU.
If drivers have banned items with them, or they are not carrying the necessary certification, they will need to use, consume, or dispose of them at or before the border.
Failure to do so may result in them being seized and destroyed with a risk of costs and penalties.
Find out about:
On 31/12/20 the UK Government introduced a new IT platform called the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to support the Pre-Lodgement model for imports, both Standard and Arrived Export models and to facilitate Transit movements.
Currently this applies to the following routes:
- goods from the EU (not including Ireland) to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
- goods from Ireland to Great Britain — a goods movement reference is only required if you’re moving goods under the Common Transit Convention using a Transit Accompanying Document
- goods from Great Britain to the EU — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
- goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – a goods movement reference is required for all movements into Northern Ireland ports using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service
- goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain – a goods movement reference is only required in the following circumstances:
- Common Transit Convention movements
- TIR and ATA Carnet movements
- movements from the Republic of Ireland to Great Britain through a Northern Ireland port
- movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain under a customs special procedure or on a list of goods where specific international processes apply
The benefits of the GVMS is that it:
- Enables declaration references to be linked together so that the person moving the goods (e.g. a driver) only has to present one single reference (Goods Movement Reference or GMR) at the frontier
- Allows the linking of the movement of the goods to declarations, enabling the automatic arrival/departure of goods within HMRC systems.
- Automate the Office of Transit function, marking the entry of goods into NI or GB
- Allow notification of the risking outcome of declarations (held or cleared) in HMRC systems to be sent to the person in control of the goods by the time they physically arrive in NI or GB
As of January 2022, full customs controls have applied to all goods moving between the EU and GB. Except for the temporary exemption for non-transit goods from Ireland (ROI) to GB.
You will need to get an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) starting with GB to register for GVMS if you’re a UK or non-UK based haulier.
This includes if you’re:
- an independent driver transporting goods and doing your own customs paperwork
- a company that sub-contracts to pick up goods on behalf of another business
- a logistics business, hired to transport goods and complete customs processes on behalf of another business
- a large retail business, that transports and declares your own goods.
If you’re not registered and attempt to move goods through a GVMS border location, you won’t be able to:
- board the ferry or shuttle
- cross the EU/GB border
- clear your goods through customs.
Inland border facilities (IBFs) are UK government sites where Customs and documentary checks can take place away from port locations.
IBFs act as an Office of Departure (for outbound journeys) and as Office of Destination (for inbound journeys).
Checks for the following movements are 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)
- Other forms e.g. C108, Duplicate lists etc. – check with your trader what you need to carry
- Stays at an IBF are time limited to 2 hours. An IBF app is available for smartphones on the google play store and the app store.
NB: not all hauliers will need to attend an IBF. For example: if you are starting / ending a CTC movement at the premises of an Authorised Consignor / Consignee and already have a validated TAD, you do not need to attend an IBF.
Dwell times at IBFs are 2 hours, after this time you may incur extra charges. It is important to note that IBFs are also not:
- Truck stops/rest points for drivers – drivers should check the amount of driving time left on their tachographs when entering an IBF to minimise risk for having to find a place (elsewhere) for the mandatory rest breaks while also wanting to attend the IBF
- Places to initiate customs formalities (go elsewhere for those services – there are no customs agents on site)
- Mandatory for every export – if you already have all your paperwork for both sides and permission to progress (P2P) from CHIEF then you don’t need to attend an IBF.
A list of IBF locations and functions can be found at: Attending an inland border facility (IBF) – GOV.UK
Hauliers and drivers of HGVs, LGVs, vans & coaches can visit advice sites for:
- A COVID test (not at all sites, check first), if needed – Check if you need to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test
- Find out about the rules and documents needed to move goods between the UK and EU
- Complete a free border readiness check to ensure they have the correct documentation to cross the EU border
Congestion may occur if HGV drivers reach the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel without the correct documentation or because of delays or other reasons (e.g. bad weather). 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.
Note: HGV drivers no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.
Traffic management arrangements involving the M20 movable barrier may be deployed if required. Signage will direct hauliers as necessary if that occurs. If travelling through Kent, 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 reaching drivers’ hours limits.
HGV drivers should ensure they have enough food and water (see bringing personal food into EU countries) in case of delays at the border.
The Short Straits routes via Kent are particularly vulnerable to disruption, and this area is the focus of most traffic management plans.
Highway Authorities with high volume ports may also have localised traffic management schemes.
During normal business these will only be introduced if there is abnormal traffic disruption and hauliers should follow local traffic signs if these are implemented.
Empty vehicles or vehicles carrying reusable packaging are allowed to cross borders using oral declarations.
GVMS is still a requirement for oral or by conduct declarations, so a GMR is required for an empty commercial vehicle, except for empty vehicles travelling from Ireland to GB.
If the empty vehicle or vehicle carrying reusable packaging is travelling under a transport contract, then a safety and security declaration (EXS) will also be required.
If you are carrying packaging, you will need to check with the importer and/or exporter:
- whether it meets the reusable packaging criteria
- whether you have the authority to make a declaration by conduct on their behalf on import
- whether the declaration is for the free circulation procedure or temporary admission
- check the rules in GB (and the EU) about swap body containers
- check the rules about machinery mounted on HGVs to facilitate loading and unloading
These items include plastic or metal cages, crates or frames.
At GB entry locations you can make a declaration by conduct for all reusable packaging. The declaration by conduct will generally be by disembarking from a vessel.
At EU entry locations, the haulier should check whether the packaging is EU or GB origin as this will impact which formalities you need to follow.
On export the declaration by conduct will be made by driving across the boundary of a port.
Further details are available in the Haulier Handbook
Once you’ve completed all of these requirements, you are ready to start your journey and collect the goods.