The essentials of international road haulage

The vehicle and driver documentation you will need when driving abroad

Vehicles must meet technical and regulatory requirements to be legal for use on the roads in the country in which they are registered.

If you or a member of your staff drives any vehicle on roads of another country, the technical requirements of the country where the vehicle is driven do not generally apply where they conflict - eg, whether a vehicle is left-hand or right-hand drive. However, you may have to display a sign indicating that your vehicle is different to those on the road.

You should check local regulations for other variations, eg some countries require you to carry warning triangles, reflective jackets, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and/or snow chains for use in case of roadside incidents. You should also check that your insurance is recognised and suitable for all countries on your planned route. You can check local regulations by contacting the British embassies of the countries through which you are driving.

A UK-registered lorry, coach or bus must have the following:

  • current vehicle tax disc
  • vehicle registration certificate (V5C) or plating/replating certificate as appropriate - if the vehicle is rented or leased, you should be given a photocopy of the relevant forms
  • valid insurance certificate or cover note
  • valid MOT, passenger service vehicle or goods vehicle test certificate if appropriate
  • valid reduced pollution certificate - if needed

In addition, the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic has general rules about vehicle drivers. These include the requirement that they must have passed the appropriate driving test and carry a valid driving licence. The Convention also lays down rules for safe driving, such as speeds, distance between vehicles, priorities at junctions, overtaking, etc.

When driving outside of the UK, you should make sure that you or your drivers carry either originals or certified copies of all relevant documents

Note: Do not laminate or otherwise change copies or documents.