Anyone driving in mainland Europe is required to carry a vehicle registration document. That’s easy if you are in a vehicle you own, but what if it’s hired or leased?
The hire or lease company which owns the vehicle won’t provide the vehicle registration document. Instead, what should happen is they will issue a VE103 document to the driver of the vehicle. This contains details of the vehicle taken from the V5, along with the name and address of the hirer.
This is the only acceptable substitute for the V5C, and enables the authorities to verify that the person driving the vehicle has permission to do so. Photocopies of the V5C or letters of authority are not accepted.
The penalties and inconvenience resulting from failing to carry a valid VE103 document can be considerable, warns the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA). Drivers caught without the correct documentation can face long delays which can be time consuming and costly. The consequences will vary according to the country, but a driver may be fined and the vehicle could be impounded.
The BVRLA has been told of drivers being stuck at border control for four days while the VE103 document is sent through to them. There are even examples as close to home as Dublin where drivers have encountered issues following minor parking infringements.
BVRLA Director of Member Services Nora Leggett says:
“Whether it’s because they are not aware of the rules, or they decide to take the risk, there are drivers who travel abroad in a leased vehicle without the correct VE103 documentation. And we aren’t just talking about company cars; there are a significant number of commercial vehicles that leave the UK without a VE103 too. It is essential that businesses understand their responsibilities and educate drivers to avoid significant disruption.”
What do you need to do? If you are planning to take a hired van abroad, you must arrange this in advance with your hire company. That includes driving into the Republic of Ireland in a vehicle hired in mainland UK.
There will be an additional fee, in return for which the hire company will normally provide you with a VE103B document plus European insurance and breakdown cover. You should also check whether any extra equipment is required, such as reflective yellow (hi viz) vests or breathalysers.
European use is not normally included in hire agreements. Anyone taking a hired vehicle abroad without the agreement of their hire company may also find that they do not have insurance or breakdown cover.