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Drivers: documents, licences and permits

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

All UK and EU drivers need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in order to work. Drivers need to carry their Driver CPC qualification card while driving in the EU and 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.

Find out about exchanging a EU Driver CPC for a UK Driver CPC.

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 Regulation 1072/2009 ‘on common rules for access to the international road haulage market’.

UK drivers working for EU operators

Drivers who hold a UK Driver 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.

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, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK.

You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway if you have either:

  • a paper driving licence

  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Check if you need an IDP.

IDPs can be purchased over the counter at many UK Post Office branches. An IDP costs £5.50.

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.

UK drivers can operate in most EU member states without the need for a visa or a work permit, providing they do not spend more than 90 days in the EU within any 180-day period.

However, visa and work permit arrangements for undertaking paid work in the EU is a matter for individual member states, and operators should check with the relevant authority of each country in which they plan to undertake work before travelling.

Information about how to get a visa if you need one is on each country’s travel advice page.

Before 1 October 2021, EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals can enter the UK with a passport or national identity card.

From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards will no longer be accepted as a valid travel document and a passport will be required for entry to the UK. This will 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 will also continue to be accepted for travel to the UK. Further details on the new requirements and exceptions will be provided on GOV.UK.

There may be delays when applying for a UK visa as a professional driver.

UK haulier requirements: documents, licences and permits

Access to the EU

UK operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU. Up to 2 additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) may be undertaken within the EU following a laden journey from the UK, with a maximum of 1 cabotage movement within a 7-day period. It must be within the same EU country where you dropped off your goods brought into the EU.

Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators provided they follow a laden journey from Northern Ireland and are performed within a 7-day period.

Own-account operators (operators transporting their own goods) who are carrying goods for a commercial purpose are subject to these cabotage and cross-trade rules when operating in the EU.

Movements that do not count as cabotage/cross-trade:

  • driving an empty trailer from one EU country to another

  • only dropping off goods in the EU that you transported from the UK

  • only picking up goods in EU countries, which can then only be dropped off in the UK, not another EU country

Operator licensing: UK Licence for the Community

UK hauliers undertaking international work 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.

ECMT permits

UK hauliers who wish to undertake up to 3 cross-trade movements (moving goods between 2 countries outside the UK) may do so using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.

Find out about the ECMT application process.

Motor insurance Green Card

A Green Card is proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad. From 2 August 2021, UK drivers do not need to carry a Green Card when driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland.

Vehicle registration documents

Drivers need to carry vehicle registration documents when driving abroad. This can be either:

  • the vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one

  • VE103 to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad

UK or GB sticker

Vehicles registered in the UK must 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.

GB stickers must be replaced by UK stickers.

Drivers do not need a UK sticker to drive in most countries (except Spain, Cyprus and Malta) if their number plate includes a UK, identifier with the Union flag (i.e. the Union Jack).

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

EU haulier requirements: documents, licences and permits

Access to the UK

EU operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the UK, with up to 2 cabotage movements in the UK, provided they are performed following a laden journey from the EU, and within 7 days of unloading in the UK.

Community Licence

EU operators must be licensed by their own country of establishment and carry a True Certified Copy of the Community

Licence at all times.

Driver and vehicle documentation

EU operators doing business to, from or through the UK need to carry proof of motor insurance for their vehicle and trailer. A Green Card or other proof of motor insurance is recognised in the UK. However, green cards are not mandatory for EU drivers in the UK.

Cross-border responsibilities when moving goods


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.

Haulage company

The haulage company must ensure their operations have access to IT systems such as Goods 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 system 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.

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