Regular Services to the UK (includes Northern Ireland)

Background Regulation

As part of the EU – UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement regular services between EU Member States and the UK will continue. On the island of Ireland these services are permitted to include cabotage. Cabotage is the pick-up and set down of passengers in a country that is not the operators Member State of establishment. For example, an Irish operator picking up passengers Newry for set down in Belfast as part of a Dublin – Belfast service.

International travel is conditional on the possession of a Community licence. In the Republic of Ireland these are issued by the Department of Transport, please see for further information.

Carriers are required to carry a certified true copy of their Community licence on board each of their vehicles. This is in order to facilitate effective controls by enforcement authorities, especially those outside the Member State in which the carrier is established.

The EU – UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement defines the different types of coach and bus service allowable under the Agreement:

Regular services means passenger transport services supplied at specified frequency along specified routes, whereby passengers may be picked up and set down at predetermined stopping points;

Special regular services means services by whomsoever organised, which provide for the transport of specified categories of passengers to the exclusion of other passengers, in so far as such services are operated under the conditions specified for regular services. Special regular services shall include:

  1. the transport of workers between home and work, and
  2. the transport of school pupils and students to and from the educational institution.

The fact that a special regular service may be varied according to the needs of users shall not affect its classification as a regular service;

Note regarding closed-door tours: Please know that that closed-door tours to the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) no longer require an EU authorisation. Interbus Waybills will be required. The Interbus Agreement defines a closed door tour as: “closed-door tours, that is to say services whereby the same bus or coach is used to carry the same group of passengers throughout the journey and to bring them back to the place of departure. The place of departure is in the territory of the Contracting Party in which the transport operator is established.”

Click here for more information on Interbus Occasional services


Apply for a new Authorisation or to vary an existing authorisation: Six months

Renew an existing Authorisation:

If your authorisation expires:

  • up to and including 30 June 2021, it will take up to 4 months to renew your authorisation
  • on or after 01 July 2021, it will take up to 6 months to renew your authorisation

Special Regular Services

All special regular services to the UK will need to be authorised from 01 July 2021. As above, it can take up to 6 months to have an Authorisation issued.

Apply for an Ireland – UK Authorisation

Please note that all applications for an UK Authorisation must be forwarded to all other jurisdictions for approval.

To make a complete and valid application for an UK Authorisation you must supply the following:

  • A completed application form, signed and dated
  • The appropriate fees (fees to be advised)
  • Timetable
  • Drivers rota
  • Fare structure, please note that fares must be given in Euros and the currency for all other countries
  • Copy of valid Community Licence
  • Copy of valid Tax Clearance Certificate
  • A complete map of the proposed route, and maps clearly showing each individual stop

If the proposed Authorisation includes pick-up and set down of passengers solely within the Republic of Ireland, a National Licence may be required in addition to the Authorisation.

Amendment of an Authorisation

An application to amend an Authorisation is required to change any of the following:

  • The route
  • Stopping places
  • Timings at stopping places
  • Any part of the timetable
  • Operational dates
  • Operational days
  • Fares

The application form is the same as that used to apply for a new authorisation.


Fees for Ireland – UK Authorisations are available here.