Permits to travel to or through European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) member countries, and the rules you have to follow.
- Check if you need ECMT permits
- Apply for permits
- Rules for using the permits
- Lost, damaged or stolen permits
- If you give up your operator licence
ECMT permits allow you to transport most types of goods (or drive an empty vehicle) through ECMT member countries.
You need to follow rules about using your ECMT permits, including your drivers carrying the right documents.
Check if you need ECMT permits
You can use ECMT international road haulage permits for journeys between 43 ECMT member countries:
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.
A limited number of ECMT permits are available. However, you can usually make journeys to 40 of these 43 countries without an ECMT permit.
EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
You only need your UK Licence for the Community if your journey is between the UK and an EU country, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
You do not need an ECMT permit.
Cross-trade jobs in the EU
You can use your UK Licence for the Community to carry out 2 cross-trade jobs (moving goods between 2 countries) in the EU.
You need an ECMT permit if you want to carry out a third cross-trade job. The ECMT permit will let you carry out 3 cross-trade jobs between any ECMT country.
Cross-trade jobs between EU and non-EU countries
You need an ECMT permit if you want to carry out a cross-trade job between the EU and a non-EU country. The non-EU country must be an ECMT member country.
Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine
You do not usually need any permits to transport goods to, through or from Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.
However, you need to get a bilateral road haulage permit if you’re travelling:
- through Turkey to another country
- in Ukraine using a Euro III or Euro IV vehicle
Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia or Tunisia
You can get bilateral road haulage permits instead of ECMT permits if your journey involves Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia or Tunisia.
Unlike ECMT permits, many more of these permits are available.
Armenia, Azerbaijan or Bosnia and Herzegovina
You must have an ECMT permit to transport goods to, through or from Armenia, Azerbaijan or Bosnia and Herzegovina.
If your journey also includes any other ECMT countries, you should:
- use your ECMT permit for the journey
- not apply for separate bilateral permits - you cannot use a bilateral road haulage permit at the same time as an ECMT permit
What you cannot use ECMT permits for
You cannot use ECMT permits:
- to travel through ECMT countries to countries that are not in the scheme
- for cabotage (loading and unloading goods for hire or reward between 2 points in a country by a vehicle that’s not registered in that country)
Cyprus is not part of the ECMT scheme. You cannot use an ECMT permit to transport goods through Cyprus to ECMT countries.
To apply for an ECMT permit, you must:
- have a vehicle operator licence for Great Britain or a vehicle operator licence for Northern Ireland
- have Euro VI or Euro V emissions standard vehicles (depending on the type of permit you’re applying for)
Apply for permits
Annual permits for 2021
You can no longer apply for annual ECMT permits for 2021.
You’ll have an email to tell you if you’ve been allocated an annual ECMT permit if you applied. They’ve been allocated based on a set criteria.
You must pay the permit fee within 10 working days if you’ve been allocated a permit.
You’ll get the permits by first class post.
Short-term permits for 2021
You can request short term (30-day) ECMT permits to carry out a third cross-trade job (moving goods between 2 EU countries) in January and February 2021.
Email DVSA to request short-term permits.
DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
You need to include:
- your operator licence number
- the journey destination
- proof that you’ll be travelling to this country in January or February 2021 (for example, a contract to import and export, or evidence of recent or regular to the country)
- how many permits you need -the start and end date
- which type of vehicle you’ll use (Euro V or Euro VI)
You have to pay a non-refundable £10 application fee for each permit.
You then have to pay for the actual permit. It costs:
- £10 per permit for short-term permits
- £123 per permit for an annual ECMT permit
Rules for using the permits
You must carry your UK Licence for the Community during any journeys to or through EU countries when you’re using an ECMT permit.
You can use an ECMT permit to make an unlimited number of journeys within:
- a calendar year, if you have an annual permit
- 30 days of the start date on the permit, if you have a short-term permit
You have to return to the UK after every third journey.
You can only use your original permit. You cannot:
- make copies of it
- transfer it to other vehicle operators or businesses
- use it in more than one vehicle at a time
Do not laminate the permit, as it may be stamped at checkpoints.
If you have 10 ECMT permits, you can have a maximum of 10 vehicles making journeys to or through ECMT countries at once.
When a vehicle returns to the UK, you can use the same permit to make another journey during the period it is valid for, or you can move the permit to another vehicle on your operator licences. That vehicle can then make journeys to or through ECMT countries.
If you have more than one vehicle operator licence
You can use an ECMT permit for a vehicle assigned to any of your operator licences. It’s not allocated to a specific operator licence.
You’re not allowed to transfer a permit to another business entity, for example, a sister company.
Sign in to your Vehicle Operator Licensing account
Rules for the vehicles and trailers
You cannot use ECMT permits you’re allocated:
- for unaccompanied trailers or semi-trailers
- with vehicles of a lower Euro emissions class to that shown on the permit (for example, you cannot use a Euro VI permit in a Euro V vehicle, but you can use a Euro V permit in a Euro VI vehicle)
Get an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ for vehicles and trailers
You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of compliance’ in your vehicle and trailer. They must confirm the vehicle meets the correct Euro emissions standard and the trailer meets the technical safety requirements.
If your permit application is successful, request a certificate from your vehicle or trailer manufacturer, or contact DVSA for advice.
DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
Get an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for vehicles and trailers
You must carry an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for your vehicle and trailer.
If your permit application is successful and you do not already have a certificate, apply online to get one.
Apply for an ECMT certificate of roadworthiness.
Before you start
To apply for an ECMT certificate of roadworthiness, you need:
- your username and password if you’ve used the service to manage your vehicle operator licence before (you can register in the service if you’ve not used it before)
- the vehicle registration number (number plate)
- the trailer registration number or ID number from DVLA (if you’re applying for a trailer)
- the vehicle or trailer type and make
- the certificate of compliance number (leave this blank if you do not have the number)
- vehicle identification number (VIN)
- engine type and number
Meet the ECMT Quality Charter
You must meet the ECMT Quality Charter requirements.
If you have a standard international operator licence
You already meet the requirements of the charter if you have a standard international operator licence
If you have a restricted or standard national operator licence
If you have a restricted or standard national operator licence you need to:
- have a transport manager
- give proof you have the higher levels of financial standing needed for a standard international licence
You can also apply for a standard international licence to show you meet the ECMT Quality Charter.
Fill in the ECMT log book before a journey
Each ECMT permit comes with a log book.
Before you start a journey, fill in the permit’s log book (in pen, not pencil) with a full record of all the journey’s details.
If you make a mistake, cross it out. Make sure the mistake is still readable, as it may need to be checked.
What drivers need to carry during journeys
The driver will need to carry these documents for all of the outward and return journey:
- the ECMT permit
- the ECMT permit log book (plus the issued translation sheets)
- the ECMT certificate of compliance for the vehicle and trailer (plus the issued translation sheets)
- a certificate of roadworthiness for the vehicle and trailer (plus the issued translation sheets)
The driver must show the documents at checkpoints when asked.
Find out how different countries carry out checks.
Check what other vehicle documents and driver documents the driver needs to carry on international journeys.
It’s illegal to not have the right documents for the journey. Your driver can be fined for not carrying them.
Send journey records to DVSA
If you have an annual ECMT permit, you must send the original (top sheet) for each completed page of the ECMT log book to DVSA within 2 weeks of your return to the UK.
You must send the complete ECMT log book to DVSA within 2 weeks of the permit’s expiry date.
International Road Haulage Permits Office
386 Harehills Lane
Lost, damaged or stolen permits
Contact DVSA straight away if you lose or damage a permit, or if one is stolen.
You should also tell the police if a permit is stolen.
DVSA International Road Haulage Permits Office
Telephone: 0330 678 1117
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
If you give up your operator licence
Send your ECMT permits and log books to DVSA if you apply to give up (‘surrender’) your vehicle operator licence.
From: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain
Published 26 November 2018
Last updated 22 January 2021
Updated the 'Check if you need ECMT permits' section to make it clearer when you need ECMT permits, and what other options there are for other types of permits.
Updated why you need ECMT permits in 2021, and how to buy short-term (30-day) permits to use in January and February 2021 if you want to make a third cross-trade movement.
Updated to confirm that emails have been sent to tell applicants if they’ve been allocated an ECMT permit for 2021.
Removed the link to apply for ECMT permits for 2021 as the application period has ended. Updated the section on what happens next if you applied.
Added a link to the service to apply for ECMT permits for 2021. The deadline to apply is 11:59pm on 20 November 2020.
Added information about preparing to apply for ECMT permits for 2021 between 2 November and 20 November 2020.
Changed the date that you can complete most international journeys without an ECMT permit from 31 December 2019 to 31 July 2020. This is because the European Commission has extended a temporary set of measures.
Added a link to the service to buy ECMT permits for November and December 2019.
Updated information about buying permits for journeys until 31 December 2019. You'll be able to buy these permits from 30 August 2019 - you only need to buy them if you’ll be travelling to non-EU or EEA countries through the EU or EEA.
Added information about how to prepare for Brexit, which includes a link to a new guide about how to carry out international road haulage after Brexit.
Updated to confirm you can continue to use your EU Community Licence until 31 December 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and that you would need an ECMT permit to transport goods through EU or EEA countries to non-EU or EEA countries who are ECMT members. Added information about how to apply for short-term ECMT permits for April 2019.
Updated the guidance on applying, as applications for 2019 permits closed at 11:59pm on Saturday 16 March 2019.
Added information about how to apply for a further allocation of ECMT permits the UK has secured, if you have not already applied for a 2019 permit.
Added information about the UK government working to put arrangements in place with individual EU member states, updated information about what happens next if you applied for an ECMT permit for 2019, and added information about how to get an ECMT ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ for vehicles and trailers.
Updated the guidance on applying, as you can no longer apply for ECMT permits for 2019. Applications closed on Friday 18 January 2019.
Extended the deadline to apply for 2019 permits from 11:59pm on 21 December 2018 to 11:59pm on 18 January 2019, and added information about short-term permits.
Added guidance on meeting the ECMT Quality Charter.