Logistics expertise 27.03.2024

Essential HGV drivers’ documents for driving to Europe

Photo HGV Driver Documents

As a freight forwarder or transport company, you need to ensure your drivers carry the correct documents, especially with cross-border logistics and when shipping to EU countries. If your drivers don’t have the correct documentation, it could delay your delivery and cost money.You could also suffer prohibitions, be fined, or even prosecuted.

 We will discuss what documentation your drivers need to carry and how to ensure you don’t suffer delays because of paperwork.

TIMOCOM can help you streamline your processes and avoid delays.


The importance of having the right HGV drivers documents

You must legally carry certain documents when you drive an HGV to Europe from the UK or vice versa. There are several reasons for this such as ensuring you are allowed to be in the country and for your own safety. Your vehicle can be stopped for a roadside check and if you do not have the correct documentation, it could cause an immediate prohibition or delayed prohibition. An immediate prohibition means you are not allowed to drive your vehicle until the problem is fixed, which could cause significant delays to your business.

If you don’t follow drivers’ hours and tachograph rules you can be fined, prosecuted or have the vehicle immobilized.


Which items must be carried by law when driving an HGV?

There are numerous truck driver requirements, including what drivers’ documents must be carried. When you are driving an HGV in Europe as a UK driver and vice versa you must carry the following:


When travelling between countries, you must have a valid passport. Your passport must be less than 10 years old and valid for 6 plus months.


If you are British and travelling beyond the EU, you must have the correct visa. Even since Brexit, you can be in the EU without a visa but you must not spend more than 90 days there within any 180 day period.

Driving licence

You will need a valid UK driving licence and for UK drivers transporting goods internally by road, you need either a standard international operator licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

This means you can carry goods in the UK and internationally.

Tachograph and Drivers’ hours documents 

If driving time rules apply to you, you must register each trip on your tachograph and the records must be kept for at least a year by your employer. During roadside checks or on a company’s premises, your tachograph can be checked.

If you have not followed the tachograph rules then you may get a fine but you can also be prosecuted or have the vehicle immobilised. Even though the UK is no longer part of Europe, they still abide by the EU’s laws on drivers’ hours and tachographs. Regarding drivers hours, you must carry your drivers’ hours documents to show you haven’t worked over the legal limit. Under the Working time Regulations 1998, drivers are limited to a maximum of 48 hours a week.

A record of your driving hours and rest breaks must be kept to ensure road safety otherwise you may receive a verbal warning, a fixed penalty, or be prosecuted.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card

You must carry your CPC card or driver qualification card when you are driving a lorry, bus or coach professionally. The Driver CPC is enforced in all EU states and if you don’t carry it, you can get a fixed penalty.

AETR rules

European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) rules apply if the vehicle weighs more than 3.5 tonnes and is being driven to, through, or from a country that follows the AETR rules.

The AETR rules apply to countries outside of the EU including the UK., Turkey, Switzerland, among others.

International driving permit

You may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for some countries. There are three types of IDP:

  • 1926

  • 1949

  • 1968

You may need more than one IDP depending on the countries you are travelling to. Most EU countries will not require these.

Healthcare documents

You should carry any healthcare documents such as travel insurance to ensure your safety, should anything happen when you are driving abroad.


Additional documents for HGV drivers

There are some documents you may need if you are undertaking road haulage travelling to certain countries. You should check before embarking on transporting your goods, to ensure you have the correct documentation.


Do I need a CMR document?

La Convention relative au contrat de transport international de marchandises par route (CMR) is a consignment note. It acts like a terms and conditions policy that confirms the carrier has received the goods. It is a document that is used if there is any discrepancy with the collection or delivery.

You must carry a CMR note on all international journeys when carrying commercial goods.

How many copies of CMR are required?

There are four copies of a CMR note. The trader, carrier, and person travelling with the goods all need a copy as well as having an administration copy.

Green card

UK drivers don’t need a green card to drive in the EU, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, or Switzerland. You do need a green card if you have a fleet of vehicles or if you are towing a trailer.

You need your green card if you are in an accident, at police checks, or at borders.

UK stickers

All British vehicles previously had to have a GB sticker on their truck or trailer. From September 2021, you must have a UK sticker to travel on European roads to comply with the driving requirements in Europe.

Vehicle registration documents

You must have the logbook in the vehicle.

Trailer registration documents

Some trailers need to be registered to be towed in certain countries such as Germany. Any commercial trailers over 750kg may need this.

Insurance documents

It is useful to carry any vehicle or trailer insurance documents in case of an accident.

Carrying dangerous goods

In addition to the other documents, if you are transporting dangerous goods, you will need an ADR certificate. The vehicle needs to have an ADR test to carry dangerous goods. If you do not carry this, you can get a Hazchem prohibition which means you need to fix any issues before you can continue.


HGV drivers’ documents

You must ensure your drivers carry the correct documentation otherwise you could face delays, additional costs, or you can even be prosecuted. It’s important to be able to track your vehicles to be aware of any delays, so that you can react quickly to avoid delays or additional costs.

With TIMOCOM you can track your vehicles in real time. You can plan routes in advance to ensure you have the correct documents to avoid any issues.

Get your free trial of TIMOCOM today to streamline your operations. 

Tram Trinh Thanh

Marketing Manager Northern Europe

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