Staying Legal While Operating Vans in Europe and EEA
- Created: 01 June 2022
On 21 May 2022 a rule change occurred that means more fleet owners of vans and light commercial vehicles who use their vehicles for EU and International trade or hire will need to apply for an operator licence (O Licence).
Prior to this date, only vans and light goods vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes were required to apply for the licence; however, from the May deadline, all vans based in England Scotland or Wales, with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of more than 2.5 tonnes that carry goods for hire or reward in the EU, EEA or Switzerland will need a standard international goods vehicle operator licence.
The rules will also apply to smaller commercially-trading vans and cars which tow trailers and have a gross train weight (GTW) of more than 2.5 tonnes.
How to get an O licence – Appoint a Transport Manager
Firstly, you will need a Transport Manager who can make sure the vans and drivers are operating correctly. A Transport Manager (TM) makes sure that all van drivers have valid driving licences and that they do not speed or break any other motoring laws.
The TM is also responsible for making sure the vehicles are taxed, insured, MOTd and that they receive regular maintenance. The TM must also ensure that vans are loaded safely and are not overloaded.
To become a TM you or a member of your team will need to achieve a professional qualification known as the Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). Alternatively, you can hire someone with the CPC.
Once you or an appointed member of staff is recognised as the Transport Manager you will be able to apply for your O Licence
Proof of Financial Standing
Another key element of gaining your O Licence is the requirement to prove a minimum amount of funds available per van. The amount as at May 2022 is £1,600 for the first van plus £800 per each additional vehicle.
When you apply for your O Licence, you will need to upload documents as evidence of your financial standing. This could include company bank or building society statements, credit card accounts, opening balances (for start-ups), details of an overdraft facility, invoice finance agreements or audited accounts
Interim Licence for immediate use
The Gov.UK website says that it can take up to nine weeks for an application to be processed. If you need to make immediate journeys abroad to trade, you can select the option for "time limited interim authority" which is effectively an interim O Licence that will cover you until you receive the full O Licence.
If you transport goods for hire or reward, or for your own business use, between a two points in the UK and the EU or EEA, you will need to make 'posting declarations'. This rule came into force in February 2022.
Posting declarations include details of each commercial journey, including registering the details of the operator, the driver, the driver's employment details, the dates of travel and the vehicle used for the journey. Drivers will need to carry a copy of the information that has been declared for the journey.
You will need to create an account on the EU portal to make the declarations.
Keeping things simple with iVan insurance
While the rules surrounding the operation of a fleet of vans in Europe just got more complex, we can safely say that by coming to iVan you will simplify how you get your fleet van insurance or any driver van insurance.
We will search our network of top insurers to find you the best deal on your commercial vehicle cover, so that you can concentrate on the other aspects of your business that take up your precious time.
Get a quote with iVan today.