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With the UK and the EU finally coming to a post-Brexit agreement, the wheels are now in motion for a new way of operating. This means that drivers, particularly those from the EU or that operate cross-border, will have upcoming changes to the way they have historically operated. Lindsey Thompson, Associate Director and Head of Search Driving UK, talks us through some of the most important Brexit developments that HGV drivers need to know.

 1)    Check your immigration status

Many drivers have been told that they need to apply for the EU’s Settlement Scheme after 31st December 2020, in order to continue living and working after the transition period ends on 30th June 2021.

“Drivers must prove their identity, work status and proof of permanent residence to be accepted on the EU’s Settlement Scheme, in order to continue legal employment within the UK. Employers will be able to verify this online as part of their compliance and right to work checks,” says Lindsey. “It’s free to apply, and you’ll need a passport or another form of approved EU identification.”

Until this 30th June cut off date, drivers can continue to use their passport or national identity card as usual, but should start the preparations for the Settlement Scheme if they want to remain living and working in the UK.

 You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme on the UK Government’s website.

2)    Get your paperwork

 “It’s important to make sure that you have the correct documents and paperwork if you intend to drive commercially as an EU driver, or into an EU country from the UK,” says Lindsey. “Don’t forget that this is also needed if you are a passenger or crew in a commercial vehicle.”

 HGV drivers wanting to cross international borders must now have:

  • a valid UK driving licence

  • an international driving permit (IDP) if you need one for the countries you’re travelling in

  • a valid Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card

  • a valid passport

  • healthcare documents

Your passport must also have no less than 6 months left, and be less than 10 years old on the day of travel.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for driving within most EU countries, as well as many other countries across the world.

“These can be purchased for around £5.50 from your nearest Post Office,” says Lindsey. “Not every country needs this, but around 140 do, so it’s definitely worth checking. There are also several types of IDP, so make sure you get the right one and don’t waste a fiver.”

A full list of countries that require an IDP, and what type, can be found on the UK Government’s website.

 3)    Obtain a Kent Access Permit

From 1 January 2021, a Kent Access Permit (KAP) is needed for lorries to drive through Kent and onto the EU, or enter Kent from the EU. KAP is the government’s system to manage driver documents, and a way of confirming that HGVs entering and exiting the country are abiding by EU import controls.

“These KAPs only last for 24 hours, and a new one is required each time your vehicle leaves the UK,” says Lindsey. “Failure to have the correct KAP can result in a fine of up to £300, so it’s really important that drivers make sure they have applied for this service before attempting to enter the county of Kent. It’s also worth noting that any vehicle weighing under 7.5 tonnes is except, and drivers doing domestic journeys that travel through or end in Kent will also not need a KAP.”

 The documents required for a KAP are:

  • an EU import document with a barcode (for example from an import declaration or Transit Accompanying Document)

  • Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission (ATA) or Transport Internationaux Routiers (TIR) carnets

 You can apply for a KAP on the UK Government’s website. 

4)    Be prepared for delays

This is a transitional period and therefore delays are likely as the border swells under the new paperwork requirements.

“There many be some unavoidable delays at the border whilst the new paperwork systems get up and running properly under full capacity. That’s why Search Driving are recommending that our drivers ensure they have a night kit when travelling,” says Lindsey. “You may not need it, but it helps to be prepared on a cold, dark night!”

It’s also worth checking what food you are allowed to bring cross-border, as there are much stricter regulations now that the UK falls outside of the EU.

5)    Don’t forget about healthcare

Most drivers, both UK natives and EU nationals, have a European Health Insurance Card, which is soon to be replaced by a new UK Global Health Insurance Card. However, getting the appropriate insurance that includes healthcare cover is still strongly advised.

“A driver’s health is extremely important, especially if they have the added stress of being stuck in queues and going through unfamiliar procedures,” says Lindsey. “Keep an eye on your hours and manage them accordingly. Make sure your insurance and healthcare cover is up to date, and leave copies of all important legal and medical documents with family or a friend, just in case you need them to hand in an emergency.”

If you need advice about the rules around driving jobs after Brexit, or want to discuss anything further with our Search Driving team, get in touch with us today. We can help with any paperwork or new Brexit requirements that may be needed.

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