Temporary UK Visas for HGV (fuel) Drivers

We have had a fair number of enquiries recently about the visas for HGV Fuel Drivers, so thought it may be useful to address some of the questions in the following article.

As you may be aware, the UK has recently suffered some difficulties with the supply of fuel, which has led to shortages and the closure of some petrol stations, with long queues at others. Part of the problem has been that, although the fuel is in the country, there is a shortage of HGV drivers to move the fuel from the relevant depot to the petrol stations. This has been greatly exacerbated by Brexit, as the industry has in the past used EU drivers to fill in any gaps.

Temporary Visas

The government’s response has been to bring in the military to help temporarily and to commit to training new drivers, as well as to offer a temporary visa that makes it easier for foreign lorry drivers to work in the UK. This visa allows successful applicants to work on a temporary basis.

Eligibility – Who can apply and what do you need?

Although this visa was not announced as such, and many have received the impression that it would be open to HGV drivers from anywhere in the world, it is actually targeted at EU migrant workers, who prior to Brexit would not have required a visa to come to the UK. The eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must be a non visa national (those who do not need to apply for a visa but are granted visas on arrival, as opposed to visa nationals who need one)
  • Applicants must hold an EU/EEA/Swiss licence to drive a HGV fuel tanker
  • Applicants must be issued with a HGV Fuel Driver Endorsement Letter by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – it is currently not very clear how applicants can obtain this
  • Applicants must arrive for the purposes for taking employment as a HGV Fuel Driver between the 1st and the 15th of October 2021

Note: In short this visa is for EU nationals who would usually be the ones holding the right licence. The government is keen to stress that this current criss “has nothing to do with brexit!”

How to apply

Applying for this visa is quite straightforward, as there is no application form, but the applicant needs to apply for this visa on arrival at the border, with their national passport and endorsement letter.

Applicants cannot go through the e-gate and must go to an Immigration Officer at the counter.

Duration of Visa

This visa was initially supposed to be valid for three months, ending on Christmas Eve, but has now been extended until the 21st of March 2022.

Effectiveness of this solution

Due to the very restrictive nature of this visa (that it is only available to EU Licence holders – as EU licenses are quite similar to the UK ones), it is doubtful that enough EU nationals will be enticed (reportedly not many have applied so far), as they will be temporarily uprooting themselves to come here and will have to apply for a visa to do so when they are able to go to other EU countries without a visa and their pay and working conditions are better. It is also not clear how easy and quick it is to get the endorsement letter.

We hope that clears up some of the misunderstandings that have arisen and answers the frequently asked questions on the new HGV Fuel Driver Visas.

Please feel free to share and comment to raise awareness of these issues. Also, if you have been affected by any of these immigration rule changes and need a quick chat with a UK Immigration Solicitor, do not hesitate to contact Tito Mbariti for a free one-off, no-obligation general immigration advice consultation via either phone, WeChat, Facetime or Skype. 

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