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. 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

Prepare to export goods from Great Britain to the EU from 1 January 2021. The process for exporting goods to the EU will change. Businesses in England, Wales and Scotland need to complete the following actions to continue exporting to EU countries from 1 January 2021:

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

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, until then you can check out the preview demo here.

Passport checks

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