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Driving a minibus

To drive a minibus which has between nine and 16 passenger seats you will normally be required to hold Passenger-Carrying Vehicle (PCV) entitlement D1. If you drive a minibus for an organisation under the minibus or community bus permit scheme, you do not need PCV entitlement.

Exemption from having PCV entitlement D1

More information about minibus and community bus permits is contained at the link below:

Driving licence held before 1 January 1997

If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you may have entitlement to drive minibuses on a 'not for hire or reward' basis, provided your licence hasn’t been medically restricted. This entitlement, category D1 with restriction code 79 (nfhr) is displayed on your licence, is valid throughout the United Kingdom, and for temporary visits to other EEA countries.

If your licence has been medically restricted, or if you are aged over 70, you must meet the higher medical standards to have your minibus entitlement reissued. If your minibus entitlement is not renewed, you may still be able to drive minibuses in certain circumstances.

'Not for hire or reward' generally means that you cannot accept any payment, either cash or in kind, made by or on behalf of the passengers that gives them the right to be carried in the vehicle.

Licences without minibus entitlement

If your driving licence does not indicate that you are allowed to drive minibuses, you may be permitted to drive a minibus within the United Kingdom on behalf of a non-commercial organisation, if you meet all the following conditions:

  • you have a full car licence
  • you have held that licence for at least two years on aggregate
  • your are aged over 21 years
  • you receive no payment or consideration other than out of pocket expenses

The minibus you are allowed to drive in these circumstances must not weigh more than 3,500 kgs excluding any specialist equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers (not more than 4,250 kgs with specialist equipment). You are not permitted to tow a trailer.

You will only be allowed to drive minibuses under these circumstances within the United Kingdom.

Vehicle category descriptions

The descriptions of the vehicle categories which appear on your driving licence may be found on the link below:

Medically restricted licences

For more information about how medical conditions and disabilities affect your licence, you can use the link below:

Licences that will be accepted abroad

All entitlements on Northern Ireland licences will be accepted at face value during temporary visits to other EEA countries. You should be aware however, that minibuses operated under the permit scheme, and used for hire or reward, cannot be driven outside the UK unless the driver has passed the appropriate PCV driving test (either category D1 or D).

Drivers who become permanently resident in another EEA country may find that their entitlement to drive minibuses solely on a 'not for hire or reward' basis may not be acceptable. Advice should be sought from the licensing authority of the new country.

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