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What documents does an international driver need to have on the road?

>Being an international driver requires appropriate competences, qualifications and a lot of sacrifices. Each year, additional requirements come out that aim to unify the rules of international transport in the countries of the Community. They concern, among others, inspections, working conditions or even the required documentation. In this article, you will find out whether the driver card and transport license are the only documents an international driver is required to have.

Truck driver mandatory documents

Every driver is required to have a valid driver’s license for a given type of vehicle, OC (third party liability) insurance and a registration certificate. As for truck driver licenses and documentation, the requirements depend on the type of transport. Pursuant to the provisions of Art. 87 of the Road Transport Act, when carrying out road transport, the driver of a motor vehicle must carry and show, at the request of the authorized inspection authority, a driver card, record sheets, handwritten entries, tachograph printouts, an excerpt from the road carrier permit or an excerpt from their license. In the case of road transport of goods, documents pertaining to the transported load are also necessary.

Required driver documents depending on the load and type of transport

  1. Permit required for international road transport.
  2. Certificate required under the Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be used for such Carriage (ATP).
  3. Permit for the passage of a vehicle, with or without a load, with a weight, axle loads or dimensions exceeding the values ​​specified in separate regulations.
  4. Driver documents required for transporting animals.
  5. Documents required for the transport of waste.
  6. Certificate confirming that the vehicle meets the appropriate safety requirements or conditions for admission to road traffic.
  7. Documents pertaining to the cross-border movement of genetically modified organisms.
  8. Declaration specifying the weight of the container or body in the case of intermodal transport operations.

What cargo documentation is needed?

  1. Packing list
  2. Specification regarding the quantity, type and destination of the load
  3. Certificate of origin of the transported goods
  4. Sales documents, e.g. VAT invoice for the goods
  5. Documents confirming the weight of the goods
  6. WZ document (external release) confirming the release of goods from the warehouse

Driver documents required for customs procedures

The international driver must have the appropriate customs documentation. This is first and foremost:

  • SAD – Single Administrative Document, in which the customs declaration is made in the procedure of export and release for free circulation
  • EUR 1 – certificate of origin confirming the origin of the goods
  • T2L – a document confirming the EU customs status of goods
  • TIR carnet – customs transit document
  • ATA carnet – temporary export-import document for specific groups of goods
  • EKMT permit –allows for an unlimited number of journeys to be carried out between ECMT member countries

International transport – does an international driver need a passport?

If an international driver carries out transport outside the European Union, and more precisely outside the Schengen area, they must have a valid passport. In 2023, the Schengen Area – apart from EU Member States – includes Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. However, practice and driver experience show that it is worth having both an ID card and a passport with you. You should also remember that some countries do not accept European OC insurance in which case you need to have a Green Card with you.

The European Union and Schengen area – required driver documents

One can freely cross borders between countries in the Schengen area, without showing documents . However, it must not be forgotten that the regulations of individual countries require that you carry an identity card with you for identification purposes. This can be an ID card or passport. Thus, driver documents cannot be limited only to the driver’s license, because it is not considered an identity document.

If employing a driver with a Ukrainian passport, it is necessary to verify their temporary residence and work permit within 9 months from the date of entry into Poland. Pursuant to a special act, it was determined that extended national visas for international drivers from Ukraine entitle them to carry out transport in the Schengen area countries.

What documents should the driver have with them, and what can be online?

Significant changes have taken place in the law regarding the need to present physical documents and certificates during roadside checks. We are referring here to national regulations that apply to all Polish drivers. Are you wondering whether you need to carry a driver’s license and other driver documents in 2023?

As of October 1, 2018, the requirement to have a physical registration certificate and confirmation of the OC policy validity was lifted. In 2020, the driver’s license was added to the group of documents that are not required in a physical form. The police and other agencies have access to them in an electronic system. The driver is only required to present a document confirming their identity, i.e. an identity card or passport.

Driving without a driver’s license, registration certificate and OC – exceptions

The following persons are required to present a physical driver’s license, OC insurance policy and vehicle registration certificate:

  • foreign drivers who do not have a Polish driver’s license
  • people driving leased, rented and company cars
  • Polish drivers abroad

The work of an international driver is not limited only to driving trucks from point A to point B. It is essential that you make sure you have valid driver documents, complete customs and cargo documentation, or even observe working time restrictions. We hope that this article will help you avoid the unpleasantness associated with formalities that weren’t completely met.