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Taking goods abroad? What documents and equipment do you require for your international journey?

26 May 2014

If you intend to transport goods outside of the UK, then you will require a certain number of documents for yourself, the vehicle and the items. It’s vital that you have everything to hand before you travel, as it could save you valuable time and money whilst the goods are in transit. Some of the documents are compulsory in certain countries, so you could run into difficulties if you cannot produce them when required.

Driver Documentation

Whoever will be driving the lorry should take certain documents and items with them. Whichever country you are travelling to, you will require a valid passport. Some countries have specific rules on how long this must be valid for when entering the country, such as three or six months, so it’s important to ensure there is long enough left before it expires. Within the EU you will not need a visa, but in some non-EU countries it’s necessary. It’s important to check the requirements ahead of your travel date, as there could be a delay in receiving the documents.

You must have a valid driving licence that covers the class of vehicle you will be driving. An International Driving Permit is used in conjunction with your UK licence and enables any official to easily check that your licence is valid.

For drivers who are operating a vehicle that is more than 3.5 tonnes there are EU rules that apply on the hours you can drive and cover the use of a tachograph. You could be asked to supply your tachograph charts, and manual records if necessary, for up to 28 days previously at any point on your journey. If you have been off sick or taken holidays in the past 28 days, you should have an Attestation Form as proof. The tachograph clock should be set to the time of the registration country.

Before you travel, you should check that you have appropriate medical insurance as well as a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will provide access to state healthcare within the EEA. It is also your responsibility to be aware of any differences in speed limits or highway rules.

Vehicle Documents

The lorry that is being used must display a valid UK tax disc. If this will expire during the journey, you should also take the new disc. For vehicles owned by you, you need to carry the V5 vehicle registration documents. Hired vehicles should have a VE103 to prove that you can take it out of the country. If the vehicle is not owned by you, you should have some written proof that you can use it.

As a minimum, all vehicles must have third-party insurance and you need to ensure that it is valid in the appropriate countries. In some countries they will also require a Green Card. This provides proof that the vehicle has third-party cover. The vehicle must also display a GB sign.

There are also certain pieces of equipment that you should carry within the vehicle. In some countries these are compulsory, whereas in others they could simply come in useful in case of an emergency. These include: warning triangles; fire extinguisher; reflective jacket; first aid kit; snow chains; spare bulbs.

Documents for Goods

It is also vital that you carry the right documentation for the goods that you are carrying, whether they are transported on pallets or other forms of packaging. If you don’t, you could incur additional costs or be unable to travel through borders. Depending on the type of goods you are transporting, you may require insurance documents for them.

Goods that are being transported through the EU will require a Community Licence, which allows the transport of goods internationally. You will need to hold a CMR Note, which is a contract to transport the goods between the carrier and supplier. In some non-EU countries you will need an EUR Form or T Form, which reduces the need to pay additional duty when entering the country. A TIR Carnet is required in some non-EU countries, which avoids the need for customs checks.

If you are carrying certain types of goods on used wooden pallets or other containers, you will require additional documents. An ATP Certificate covers perishable goods that are carried on refrigerated transport. An ADR Certificate is necessary if you are transporting dangerous items that could harm the environment or people.

By preparing yourself in advance for an international journey, you can prevent any delays occurring. Not having the correct documents could cause you serious problems when crossing between countries.

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