New Rules for Trailer Registration for UK Hauliers Heading to Europe

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For any HGV drivers that travel to Europe to do haulage work, the fact that a new ruling on the registration of trailers has recently come into effect is extremely important. At the end of March 2019, the UK ratified the UN 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which means that anyone planning to take a trailer abroad is required to register it with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) before doing so.

The Trailer Registration Scheme

The scheme is mandatory, so travel (towing a trailer) into any of the other countries that have also ratified the convention is now unlawful without having applied for (and received) registration. Drivers or fleet managers must organise it well in advance to avoid non-compliancy. For those who make a living from haulage work, this means understanding what CatID their vehicle and trailer fall in to and ensuring they are correctly registered.

While ratification of the convention is widespread, there are some European countries where registration is not required, which are:

Towing a trailer for haulage work around the UK and from the UK into Ireland is also exempt from the ruling. This being said, hauliers should regularly check the DVLA website for updates to ensure the situation has not changed.

If a driver needs to travel through other countries that have ratified the convention in order to get to the exempt countries, they must get registration.


As noted previously, this is a mandatory requirement for the following categories:

Any trailer with a gross weight of 750kg and over being used commercially
Those with a gross weight of 3,500kg and over being used for non-commercial purposes
As the wording of the second CatID suggests, if it is under 3,500kg and being used for non-commercial purposes, registration with the DVLA is optional.

Getting Registered

It’s a relatively quick and simple process to apply to register through the DVLA’s online portal. Information required includes:

Manufacturer’s name
VIN or chassis number
Unladen and gross weights
Credit or debit card for fee
Email address
The applicant will then be issued with a certificate in the mail as well as an email that provides the authority to obtain a special number plate. This number plate must be attached in a visible place and the certificate must be carried at all times to be presented to foreign authorities if requested.

Insurance: a Separate Issue

Insurance is an entirely separate issue and for travel into some EU and EEA countries a Green Card proof of insurance is required for both the trailer and the vehicle towing it. While this does not mean paying twice for insurance cover, it’s vital that two Green Cards are requested from the insurer in order to be compliant.

Particularly in the current times of uncertainly surrounding Brexit, it is highly important that those working within the haulage industry stay abreast of changing legislation to avoid falling foul of the law. This includes rulings like this most recent one, which will affect almost anyone doing haulage work in Europe.
About author: Desiree Michels

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.


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