How to apply for an ECMT permit

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Hauliers may need ECMT permits for some journeys to or through the EU from 1 January 2021. The Government advises that firms should apply for these now in case they’re needed. 

Permits are transferrable between vehicles and between operator licences held by the same operator but must be carried in the vehicle when it is travelling on an international journey.


A detailed summary of the ECMT application process is available on the Government’s DfT website.
Key points for applications: 
•    Application for permits opened on November 2.
•    You will need a Vehicle Operator Licensing (VOL) account to apply. It is advised that you check that you can log into your VOL account and your contact details are up to date.


The digital application system sets out all the information you need to apply for an ECMT permit but you may find it helpful to consider the points below before you start your application:
•    To apply for a permit, you must hold a valid Standard International or Restricted Goods Operator Licence. You will still be required to have a valid Operator’s licence in all scenarios. A restricted licence allows you to carry your own goods, but not other people’s goods.
•    If you choose to apply under your Restricted Goods Operator licence, you will need to comply with the International Quality Charter. This is liable to include having a Transport Manager and increased financial standing. The most straightforward way to demonstrate this is to upgrade your restricted licence to a standard licence before using an ECMT permit.
•    If you have more than one Operator Licence (for example, because you have multiple bases), decide which of your current valid Standard International or Restricted Goods Operator licence(s) you wish to use when applying for an ECMT International Road Haulage Permit. Each licence can apply for ECMT permits. Base this decision on your actual business requirements.


What information do I need to apply for a permit?


When you apply for a permit you will need to decide how many permits you need, and which Euro class permit you are applying for. You can only apply for one type of Euro class on each operator licence. Only a small number of Euro V permits will be available.


You will also need to provide information about your business, this is so that your application can be scored if demand for permits exceeds the number available. Read about how the allocation process works.
You will be asked to provide information about the types of journeys you make and whether you travel to or through countries that restrict the use of ECMT permits.


Application fee
When applying for annual ECMT permits, there is a non-refundable application fee of £10 per permit. If you are allocated and accept a permit, you will need to pay an additional issuing fee of £123 per permit.


Use of criteria to allocate permits
The below criteria are only used if a permit application window is oversubscribed.
•    exhaust emissions level of your vehicle (Euro V or VI)
•    number of annual international journeys
•    proportion of your haulage that is international
•    the goods you carry


According to the DfT and DVSA, these criteria have been selected to ensure that the UK get the maximum number of permits possible, while being fair and equitable to UK hauliers.
The regulations also provide for the use of random selection in addition to the above criteria. This element is used to distinguish between multiple permits applied for by an individual operator and to ensure permits are allocated across a greater spread of the haulage sector.


The application process may also ask you about the type of journeys you make; this information is not used to score applications but means that if market access rules are confirmed, the DfT and DVSA will be able to identify hauliers who may still need ECMT permits for certain journeys.


Verification of business operations
Your permit application will ask for details of your business operations. You may be contacted to verify the information you have provided so you must be able to demonstrate that the information is accurate. If you do not, you may lose any permits you have been allocated and may be prosecuted. DVSA will undertake an assessment of applications and supporting records.


Exhaust Emissions Level    
Most permits are for use only in Euro VI vehicles. The government has decided, in consultation with industry, to make a small proportion of permits available for use in Euro V vehicles. You can only application for one type of permit per operator licence. Permits cannot be used in Euro IV vehicles.


Why is this criterion being used?
ECMT permits may only be used by vehicles of specific vehicle emissions standards. The total number of ECMT permits available to UK hauliers depends on the emissions standard of the vehicle used. To maximise the number of ECMT permits for UK hauliers following Brexit, the majority of permits available can only be used by vehicles of the Euro VI emissions standard.
A maximum of 10% of the UK’s quota of permits will be for use in Euro V vehicles in 2021. You will have the choice when applying whether you want to apply for Euro V or Euro VI permits. As there are very limited numbers of Euro V permits you should only apply for this type of permit if you have no access to a Euro VI vehicle.


What do I need to do?
Decide whether you want to apply for Euro V or Euro VI permits and how many permits you need. If you don’t know the emissions standard of your vehicle, you can find this out directly from your vehicle manufacturer or from the DVSA.
You should only apply for the number of permits you need. Permits are transferrable between vehicles and between operator licences held by the same operator but must be carried in the vehicle when it is travelling on an international journey. The number of permits required is likely to be roughly equal to the maximum number of vehicles you have working in the EU at any one time. If you apply for more than this then you are reducing the number of international journeys that can be made per permit, so are reducing your chances of being allocated a permit.


Number of international journeys made during 2019
You will be asked to provide the annual number of international journeys made using the operator licence you are applying for permits under. This is to measure how frequently an operator hauls goods internationally and therefore how often a permit is expected to be used. For this application window, you should use the 12-month period 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2019. This is because COVID 19 has substantially impacted international haulage movements during 2020. DVSA will check the data you provide.


For further detailed information on the application criteria and process visit the Government’s website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-road-haulage-permits-ecmt-permits-2021/international-road-haulage-permits-ecmt-permits-2021