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Current information on transport of relief supplies to Ukraine and of refugees in buses and coaches

In the context of the military conflict in Ukraine, many aid organizations, local authorities, associations and private initiatives are currently organizing transports of humanitarian relief supplies to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries that are providing aid to support the Ukrainian people. Accordingly, we would like to share the following information to support the planning and implementation of relief transport operations:

General information:

Given the security situation and the overcrowding at the border-crossing points to Ukraine, the Federal Foreign Office has issued a travel advisory warning against privately organized transport operations to Ukraine. However, we would ask anyone who decides to travel to Ukraine on their own responsibility to note the information and instructions provided by the competent local authorities. Please take valid travel documents with you. We also advise you to take some cash with you, ideally in foreign currencies such as euros or dollars.
Fill your vehicle’s fuel tank and take plenty of drinking water and provisions, as well as one or more spare canisters of fuel.
Please remember that the mobile communications network and power supply may fail at short notice and without prior warning. As a result, we recommend that you take printed road maps and a power bank, flashlights and batteries.
German nationals should register in the Elefand crisis prevention list (https://krisenvorsorgeliste.diplo.de/signin). Emergency number for urgent emergencies only: +49 30 5000 0.

Driving times and rest periods (social regulations) – Transporting relief supplies

Transport operations in emergencies only:

Under Art. 3 point (d) of the relevant EU Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, vehicles, including vehicles used for non-commercial transport of humanitarian aid, used in emergencies or rescue operations, are exempted from the provisions on driving times and rest periods.

It must be examined for each individual case whether all criteria for the exemption apply. This applies in particular with regard to whether the specific journey must brook no postponement or delay due to compliance with the prescribed rest periods. Road safety in general must not be compromised when making use of this exemption. It should be noted at this point that, irrespective of potentially relevant exemptions, every operator and every driver must check prior to the start of the specific journey whether the physical requirements are met and the transport service can be performed safely.

Please note:
The transport of relief goods is becoming more and more organized. Therefore, emergency situations as are mandatory for making use of the exemption under Article 3(d) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 are likely to become less frequently.

In the absence of an emergency situation, all the usual rules on driving times and rest periods must be complied with and no exemption can be granted. Before starting the journey, it must be carefully checked whether the requirements for the exemption under Article 3(d) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 are (still) met.

If you have any questions on this or any doubts arise, please contact the authority responsible for you in your federal state.All of the above-mentioned criteria for the exemption must apply. In particular, the specific journey must brook no postponement or delay due to compliance with the prescribed rest periods. If you have any questions on this, please contact the authority responsible for you in your federal state.

You can find a list of these authorities at the following link: Federal authorities responsible for legislation affecting mobile workers.

Driving times and rest periods (social regulations) – Transporting refugees in buses and coaches

In principle, the above statement with regard to the exemption under Article 3(d) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 is applicable.
However, in the light of recent events it should be clearly restated that the growing degree of organization of refugee transports make the existence of an emergency situation more and more unlikely. In the absence of such emergency situation, driving and rest periods must be fully respected in accordance with the relevant rules laid down in Regulation (EC) No 561/2006.

An emergency situation within the meaning of the exemption under Article 3(d) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 CAN in principle NOT be deemed to exist where there is no imminent danger for the persons being transported, for example in cases where refugees are already in a safe country and are to be transported only within that country or from there to another safe country.


In all other cases, the following applies:
In the absence of an emergency, the rules on driving times and rest periods remain unchanged.

If you are uncertain in individual cases, please also contact the authority responsible for you in your federal state using the contact details in the above link.

For coordination purposes, we also recommend that you get in touch with recognized aid organizations at short notice.

HGV tolling

In Germany, no tolls must be paid for the transport of donated food, clothes, blankets etc. You can find more information on the requirements for this exemption from tolls and its practical implementation (proofs, deactivating the OBU, possible registration of vehicles with Toll Collect for a limited period of time) in this fact sheet.

Please note that buses and coaches are generally not subject to tolling in accordance with section 1(2)(1) of the Federal Trunk Road Toll Act (BFStrMG).

Ban on truck driving on Sundays and public holidays:

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) has asked the federal states to grant exemptions from the ban on truck driving on Sundays and public holidays. These exemptions are to apply to transport operations towards the Ukrainian border for direct or indirect support of emergency relief for the Ukrainian people (including directly necessary unladen journeys).
All federal states have implemented the request by the BMDV and have granted relevant exemptions applying until 26 June 2022.
Please bear in mind that the ban on truck driving on Sundays and public holidays generally does not apply to the carriage of refugees from Ukraine in buses and coaches.

Professional Driver Qualification:

The German Professional Driver Qualification Act ist not applicable to non-commercial transports for humanitarian aid. Accordingly, aforementioned transports can be carried out without driver qualification card respectively without the Community code 95.


Road haulage legislation/market access:

Article 1(5)(e) of Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 states that the carriage of medicinal products, appliances, equipment and other articles required for medical care in emergency relief (in particular for natural disasters) and unladen journeys made in conjunction with such carriage do not require a Community licence and are exempt from any carriage authorisation.


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