Changes to the international vehicle operator licence rules May 2022

09/06/20225 minutes read

Those transporting goods for hire or reward in the EU may be affected by the new rules affecting the vehicle operator licence. 

The changes apply to those operating light commercial vehicles or cars with trailers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) between 2.5 and 3.5t.

If you feel these changes may apply to you or your fleet, here’s what you need to know.


Key points:

  • On 21st May 2022, vehicle operator licence rules changed.
  • An operator’s licence may be needed for transporting goods in EU member states.
  • Those operating vans or cars with trailers may be affected.



Where do the changes apply?

The changes apply to those transporting goods outside of the UK:

  • EU
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway



Who do the changes apply to?

The changes apply only if the following conditions are met.

Generally, the changes apply if you are transporting goods for reward or hire in a light goods vehicle with a GVW between 2.5 and 3.5t. This might apply if you are operating vehicles such as:

  • Vans or other LCVs
  • Vans towing trailers
  • Cars towing trailers

The changes do not usually apply if:

  • You only use your vehicles in the UK.
  • You are transporting goods on a non-commercial basis.

If you’re not sure whether the rules apply, the government recommends seeking legal advice. Full information about the rules and exemptions can be found via the government website.



What do you need to do?

If the requirements apply to you, you will need to:

  1. If possible, add the relevant LCVs or vehicles to your international goods vehicle operator licence. If you’ve reached your limit of vehicles, you may need to apply to increase your vehicle limit.
  2. If you do not already have a standard international goods vehicle operator licence, you’ll need to apply for one. The government website outlines several criteria that need to be met, for example, ensuring you have a transport manager – whether that’s you, someone in your team, or someone contracted externally – as well as proof of your financial standing.



What are the penalties if you fail to follow the rules?

If you do not have a valid operator’s licence, your vehicle could be impounded and scrapped after 21 days unless you or your employer appeal to the local Traffic Commissioner.

Drivers will need to carry a certified copy of your UK Licence for the Community during international journeys. This is a document that you will get as standard as part of any application.


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