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Source: Fotolia / Grecaud Paul

For general information on the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and on the agreements reached between the EU and the United Kingdom, please click on the link to the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Frequently asked questions about the impact of Brexit on the transport sector:

After the end of the transition period, i.e. as of 1 January 2021, British airlines no longer considered Community air carriers within the meaning of the Passenger Rights Regulation and are treated like other air services providers from non-EU states. The EU Passenger Rights Regulation will now only applies to flights with UK airlines when an aircraft of the airline starts from an EU airport and no longer - as was the case in the past - when the UK airline enters into EU territory and lands there.

The Montreal Convention, on the basis of which, among other things, compensation claims may be made for death or injury to passengers, delay and damage or loss of baggage on international flights, is generally not affected by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. The United Kingdom remains a contracting party to the Convention even after its withdrawal from the EU. However, Regulation (EC) No. 2027/97 on air carrier liability for the carriage of passengers and their baggage would no longer apply to the United Kingdom in a ‘no-deal scenario’. This Regulation extends the scope of the Montreal Convention to include air transport operations within an individual Member State. However, this would only lower the level of protection for flights within the UK; international flights operated by British air carriers would still be covered by the Montreal Convention.
See the website (German only) of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

Brexit affects high-speed trains, freight trains and shuttle trains for passenger cars and HGVs through the Channel Tunnel and rail services between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Given that checks already take place on rail services through the Channel Tunnel, we believe that it is unlikely that there will be any other traffic-related impacts for travellers. However, on the French and British sides, customs controls will be introduced. Customs clearance is also being introduced in the rail freight sector as a result of the new external EU borders. For customs-related questions, you can find more detailed information by clicking on the link to the customs authorities.

To further ensure that rail services continue to operate without disruption in the Channel Tunnel, the European Parliament and the Council quickly agreed a contingency regulation in November 2020, providing for the continuing validity of safety certificates and safety authorizations for railway undertakings and rolling stock as well as licences of train drivers in cross-border trail transport between the United Kingdom and the EU to the Calais-Fréthun border-crossing station in France if they have been issued by UK authorities. This contingency measure expired on 1 April 2022.

A cross-border agreement between France and the UK (in accordance with Art. 14 of Directive 2012/34) on mutual recognition of the railway undertaking licence or operating licence was signed by FR and UK and entered into force on 31 March 2022, before the expiry of the contingency measure.

As a finalized transnational agreement (in accordance with Art. 10.9 (a) of the Rail Safety Directive 2016/798) for mutual recognition of uniform safety certificates has not yet been reached, but Channel Tunnel services must still be ensured, DB Cargo UK has concluded corresponding contractual agreements (in accordance with Art. 10.9 (b) of the Rail Safety Directive 2016/798) with DB Cargo France and Eurotunnel.

In this way, all arrangements have been made to enable DB Cargo UK to continue to provide services on the French rail network to Calais-Fréthun after the expiry of the contingency measures on 1 April 2022.

Brexit has only had minor consequences for shipping. No substantial delays in transport of goods and passengers occurred. Required regulatory and administrative adjustments were initiated in good time, for example regarding mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates. Instead of EU legislation, many areas are now directly subject to international rules, like those in the Paris MoU for port state controls

It is still mandatory for holders of UK certificates of competency, maritime radio operator’s certificates and certificates of proficiency for service on tankers who want to work on board vessels flying the German flag to have a valid endorsement attesting recognition, which will be issued upon request by the German shipping administration. Endorsements attesting recognition issued before 31 December 2020 remain valid until the date stated in the document. Even after 31 December 2020, requests for issuance of a new endorsement attesting recognition still have to be submitted, as usual, to the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency.

The comprehensive Agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU provides that EU transport operators holding a valid EU Community licence may still undertake transport operations to and from the United Kingdom. Moreover, they may undertake up to two cabotage operations within seven days of unloading in the United Kingdom. The current EU rules on social legislation in the road transport sector have been incorporated into the Agreement. Current information on the social legislation amended in August 2020 can be found here.

With their UK professional drivers’ qualification, documented by the entry of code 95 into a UK driving licence or a UK driver qualification card in accordance with Directive 2003/59/EC, last amended by Directive (EU) 2018/645, UK drivers may carry out transport operations to and through Germany.

Occasional services in the commercial carriage of passengers by road between the EU and the United Kingdom are guaranteed by the Interbus Agreement. Regular services and special regular services between the EU and the United Kingdom will be ensured after the entry into force of the Supplementary Protocol to the Interbus Agreement (this is not yet the case). The relevant arrangements in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement will apply until this Protocol enters into force.

From the date of withdrawal, the UK type approval authority is no longer an EU type approval authority within the meaning of the relevant provisions. For this reason, motor vehicles that are to be placed on the market after the date of withdrawal require a type approval issued by an EU authority. In early January 2019, Regulation (EU) 2019/26 “complementing Union type approval legislation with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union” entered into force. Under this regulation, manufacturers holding a type approval issued by the United Kingdom can submit an application to an EU 27 type approval authority for an EU type approval. Special arrangements are applicable for Northern Ireland, and the EU type approval legislation will continue to apply there for the time being.
If you have any further questions on motor vehicle type approval, please contact the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

If they only use the roads temporarily, holders of a UK driving licence may do so in Germany with their driving entitlement issued in the UK if they possess a driving licence in accordance with the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968. This also includes, among other things, credit card format driving licences issued after 18 January 2013. Otherwise, the driving licence must be accompanied by a translation or an International Driving Permit in accordance with the aforementioned Convention.

If driving licence holders take up residence in Germany, their UK driving licence will have to be converted into an EU/EEA driving licence after a maximum of six months. Under driver licensing law, a person is deemed to have taken up residence in Germany if they live here for at least 185 days a year. The question as to when this period commences in any given case, especially in the case of Brexit, should be settled with the local driver licensing authority.

Holders of a UK driving licence wishing to convert it into a German driving licence may currently do so without having to take a theory or practical driving test. Germany will enter into a corresponding reciprocal agreement with the United Kingdom.

  • Drivers of vehicles registered in Germany – as in the past – have to carry the registration certificate (part I) when using UK roads. According to our understanding, this will withdrawal of the United Kingdom, as the United Kingdom has also acceded to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968 and would thus have to recognize the registration certificate (part I) issued in Germany, since the certificate complies with the conditions established in Chapter III of the Convention. For this reason, they do not need an International Certificate for Motor Vehicles in accordance with Article 4 of the International Convention relative to Motor Traffic of 24 April 1926.
    In addition, since the day of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, they have to carry a Green International Insurance Card to prove that they have insurance cover. Such an insurance card can usually be obtained from the motor liability insurers. It is recommended that you contact the respective competent authorities in the United Kingdom prior to entering the country in order to verify the specific requirements under UK law after the withdrawal.
  • Drivers of vehicles registered in the United Kingdom will have to carry an official registration certificate with certain minimum information or an International Certificate for Motor Vehicles when using German roads. In addition, as of the day of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, they must carry a Green International Insurance Card to prove that they have insurance cover.
    However, in any case, the use of the road in the other country must be only temporary, in accordance with the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968. In all other cases, for instance if residence is taken up, the provisions of the country in question regarding the mandatory registration in that county have to be complied with.
  • Both the agreement of 1926 and the agreement of 1968 are multilateral agreements under international law to which both the United Kingdom and Germany are parties.

The United Kingdom has informed us that European parking cards (blue cards) for persons with disabilities issued in Germany will continue to be recognized. In return, Germany has announced that holders of British blue badges will be granted the same concessions as German citizens if the badge is correctly put on display.