EU Community Licence changes from 1st January 2021 and the new requirements

EU Community Licence changes from 1st January 2021 and the new requirements

by | Dec 2, 2020

The transition period for Brexit ends on the 31st December 2020, and while a trade deal has not yet been concluded there are changes that you will experience as a goods vehicle operator. The EU Community Licence is going to be phased out and replaced with a UK Licence for the Community. If you are a Standard International Licence holder you will automatically be issued a UK Licence for the Community for use from 1st January 2021. This new Licence issued does not guarantee the legal right for UK goods operators to do business to, from, and within the EU. Depending on the negotiated trade deal between the EU and the UK this may mean that you will also have to apply for ECMT Permits to travel to or through the EU as well. Further details regarding this will be updated and added to the government website as negotiations between the EU and UK are concluded. So – what does this mean for you?

ECMT Permits – what are they?

ECMT permits allow you to transport most types of goods or drive an empty vehicle through the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland to these 13 different ECMT member countries.[1] If you are looking to carry out a journey to Armenia this year through EU countries for example, then you need to apply for a 30-day permit.[2]

Do you need an ECMT permit?

There are no changes to the ECMT member countries from before Brexit, however, you may have to apply for an ECMT permit to travel to countries within the EU from 1st January 2021 after we leave the transition period. For example, if you want to travel to France from the UK from 1st January 2021 you may also have to apply for an ECMT permit. Greater detail about this will be announced and put online as negotiations with the European Union continue.

Do you need to apply for an ECMT permit to continue transporting your goods to EU countries this year?

No, you do not need to apply for any additional permits this year. Your EU Community Licence is still valid to be used until 31st December 2020. This means that if you are carrying out journeys that are entirely within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK then you do not need to apply for an ECMT permit, but you may have to on 1st January 2021. Please note this only applies if you are already a holder of a valid Standard International Operator’s Licence; you cannot carry your own goods or goods for hire and reward to EU countries if you do not have this licence.

How much will it cost you if you must apply for an ECMT permit in addition to having a Standard International Licence?

The prices for ECMT permits are:

  • £123 per permit for an annual permit (you must apply for a permit for each vehicle)
  • £10 per permit for short-term permits (30-days)
  • Renewal fee of Standard International Licence every 5 years: £401
  • Please note that the deadline to apply for ECMT permits this year has passed but there will be further updates on the governments page linked below for when and if you need to apply for one. [3]

Do you need any additional permits this year as an EU Operator to carry out cabotage?

You may continue to carry out cabotage in EU countries until the end of this year 31st December 2020, however subject to the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU there may be additional permits or licences required.

So to conclude..

There are a lot of changes that you are likely to experience as a goods operator as we leave the transition period on 31st December 2020. Most of these changes, however, are yet to be concluded through negotiations between the EU and the UK, which are ongoing. The prices and the requirement for ECMT permits should be emphasised as something that you may require from 1st January 2021 but that is not legally the case yet. It is unclear yet what conclusions will be drawn from these negotiations in terms of what will be the new requirements to carry out journeys carrying goods for hire and reward or your own goods within the EU but rest assured that you can continue as you are with your EU Community Licence until the end of the year (31st December 2020).

[1] The 13 countries are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
[2] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ecmt-international-road-haulage-permits?utm_source=b1a7ace3-5e09-4870-97ff-5ed2cef41e5a&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily
[3] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transporting-goods-between-great-britain-and-the-eu-from-1-january-2021-guidance-for-hauliers?utm_source=e0d6d570-84a0-4080-94ba-012b0c57fa68&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily#drivers-documents-licences-and-permits