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Updated Guidance on International HGV Driver Documents

Updated Guidance on International HGV Driver Documents

11 February 2021

The Government has issued a checklist of documents required by drivers and passengers of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) that cross international borders.

It’s compulsory to carry certain documents in a commercial vehicle carrying goods between countries. These include:

  • a valid UK driving licence
  • an international driving permit (IDP) if you need one for the countries you’re travelling in
  • a valid Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card
  • paper copies of vehicle and trailer insurance (green cards)
  • a valid passport
  • healthcare documents

Separate guidance has been issued about the HGV and trailer documents required, and the rules about taking food and drink into EU countries for your own use.

From the Government website:

Driving licences and international driving permits

You will need to carry your UK driving licence with you. You must have the right category of licence for the vehicle you’re driving. You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

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

Check with the embassy of the country you will be driving in.

You will not need an IDP to drive in Ireland if you have a UK driving licence.

Driver CPC for lorry drivers

You need a Driver CPC qualification to drive a lorry professionally in the UK, the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You must carry your Driver CPC card (sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’) with you.

If you work for a UK company and have a UK Driver CPC card

-You can still use your UK Driver CPC card to drive to or through EU countries for all international journeys that UK companies are allowed to make.

-If you work for an EU company and have a UK Driver CPC card

-Your UK Driver CPC card may no longer be recognised in EU countries.

Check with the relevant organisation in the country where you live and work to find out what you need to do.

Drivers’ hours documents and tachographs

If you drive a goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes on international journeys you must follow the rules on drivers’ hours and tachograph use.

You must have:

-tachograph charts and any legally required manual records for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days

-the driver’s digital smart card, if you have one

If you’ve been sick or taken other time off in the 28 days before your journey carry a form (called an ‘attestation form’) from your employer.

Vehicle and trailer insurance (green cards)

A ‘green card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad.

You should carry one for the vehicle you’re driving in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland.

You will need to carry more than one green card if:

-you have fleet or multi-car insurance - you’ll need a green card for each vehicle

-your vehicle is towing a trailer - you’ll need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries)

-you have 2 policies covering the duration of your trip, for example, if your policy renews during the journey

You must carry a physical copy of your green card when driving abroad. Electronic versions of green cards are not acceptable.

Make sure your employer has got green cards

Make sure your employer either:

-contacts their vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you travel to get a copy

-prints green cards their insurance providers electronically send to them (this does not need to be printed on green paper)

When you will have to show your green cards

-You will need to show green cards if you’re involved in an accident.

-You may need to show green cards at police checks and at the border when:

-you enter the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway

-move between the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

-This will depend on the border authorities of each country.

-Find out more about vehicle insurance.

-If you’re involved in a road accident

Contact your insurance provider if you’re involved in a road accident in the EU.

Any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurance provider of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway where the accident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.

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


You must have a valid passport - even if you’re a passenger or crew member.

Check the expiry date and the entry rules of the countries on your route.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to:

-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.


You can work in the EU without a visa if do not spend more than 90 days in the EU within any 180-day period.


You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU country.

You can continue to use an EHIC. If you apply for a card now, you’ll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC.

GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. If you’re visiting those countries, make sure you have travel insurance with health cover.

Leave photocopies of all medical, insurance and legal documents as back-up with family or friends in case you need copies outside of your company’s normal business hours.

Check your HGV is ready to cross the border (Kent Access Permit)

Use the service to check your HGV is ready to cross the border to make sure you have the right paperwork to cross the Great Britain-EU border. You can do this for all ports in Great Britain.

You must use the service for HGVs travelling via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel to get a ‘Kent Access Permit’ before you enter Kent.

As the driver, you’re responsible for doing the check, but it can be done on your behalf by your manager.

You can be fined £300 if you do not use the service to check an HGV is ready to cross the border when you travel via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.

The full guidance is available on the Government website.


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