Assessing an application for a taxi driver licence
To get a taxi driver licence (TDL) you need to pass the theory and practical taxi driver tests or have finished the necessary periodic training, send a medical if needed, a criminal records check and have the right to work in the UK.
Guidelines for assessment
When assessing your application, the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has a set of guidelines which it has to apply to make sure that there is a consistent approach.
The guidelines are based on the following criteria, that you:
- have held a full Category B (car) driving licence continuously for at least three years immediately before applying
- meet the necessary good repute rules
- meet the necessary medical rules
- have the right to work in Northern Ireland
If you are renewing your taxi driver licence you must have finished the necessary mandatory periodic training.
Car driving licence
Before you apply for a taxi driver’s licence you must have held a full Category B (car) driving licence continuously for at least three years. If you do not hold a Northern Ireland driving licence email your contact details to DVA at the email address in the link below for advice and guidance.
Taxi driver theory test and practical test
If you are applying for the first time or renewing your taxi driver licence more than two years after expiry, you will have to pass both the taxi driver theory and practical tests before an application will be accepted for consideration.
Read more about the tests in section five of 'Taxi Manual - all you need to know to be a taxi driver'
Criminal record check
Before you begin your taxi driver licence application you will need to apply for an enhanced disclosure certificate (EDC). This certificate details any convictions or other relevant information which may stop you getting a taxi driver’s licence. AccessNI will ask you for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) which is 861379 and it can only be used for an EDC for taxi driver licensing.
The process should flow like this:
- apply to AccessNI for an EDC
- note the reference number of your EDC application
- start your taxi driver application
- enter the AccessNI reference number when asked
- submit your taxi driver application
DVA’s Passenger Transport Licensing Division (PTLD) will then verify your application for an EDC check and AccessNI will begin to process it.
When your AccessNI check is finished, if you have no criminal history, you’ll receive a digital disclosure certificate. You can view the certificate from your nidirect account. To send a copy of your digital certificate to DVA, choose the share button on your nidirect account and include the email address in the link below.
When you share your disclosure certificate with the DVA, it’s only available to view for three days.
If the certificate shows a criminal history you’ll receive a printed certificate by post. This should be sent to DVA’s Passenger Transport Licensing Division:
It will only be returned if you send a prepaid self-addressed envelope, or it will be securely destroyed on your behalf.
If you have lived outside the UK within the last five years DVA may ask for a Certificate of Good Conduct.
The documents needed for your AccessNI check may differ to those which support your right to work in the UK.
For more information about the Access NI process and how to apply online go to AccessNI criminal record checks
By law, all taxi drivers need to be ‘fit and proper’ people to hold licences. Having a criminal record won't necessarily stop you from holding a taxi driver’s licence. However, if you have been convicted of a serious offence you may not qualify to hold a licence until at least three years have passed since the date of conviction or, in cases where there is a custodial sentence, release from prison.
Each conviction is considered on its own merit taking account of the penalty imposed and any mitigating reasons. Some examples of serious convictions relate to offences for drugs, firearms or explosives, burglary, fraud, sexual offences or any offence involving violence such as wounding or assault, common assault, threats to kill or harassment.
When you're applying, you must give details of any health condition likely to affect your fitness as a driver of a taxi.
You'll need a medical report from your GP in the following circumstances:
- if you’re a first time applicant
- if you’re over 45 years of age
- if you have a medical condition
If your medical report is filled in by a medical professional other than your own doctor and they don’t have access to your full medical records, your GP may be asked to give further information. This can delay your application.
Depending on your medical condition, your medical report may have to be referred to Occupational Health Service (OHS) or you may have to undergo further medical checks. A decision can’t be made on your licence application until all medical checks have been finished.
If you are a current licence holder the DVA will send you an electronic notification about four months before your licence is due to expire.
You should apply for your licence as soon as you receive this notification to avoid any delay. If you’ve a medical condition which may need additional tests, for example, if you have a heart condition and need to do a treadmill test, you can ask for a medical report to be sent to you early by contacting the DVA – passenger transport licensing division.
Medical reports can only be accepted if they're signed and dated by your GP no more than four months before the date of expiry of your licence.
Right to work
When applying for a taxi driver’s licence you must have a right to work within the UK. The Department for Infrastructure has to be satisfied that you have a right to work in the UK before a licence can be given.
To prove your right to work in the UK, you will need to give a Home Office share code which will prove your right to work View and prove your immigration status - gov.uk
If you are renewing a taxi driver’s licence from 1 September 2016 you must show that they have finished the necessary amount of taxi driver periodic training.
The training must have been delivered by a training provider approved by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) for this purpose and at least three and a hours must have been Disability Awareness training.
Amount of periodic training needed
|Date of taxi driver's licence expiry||Training needed|
|On or after 1 September 2020||35 hours|
Only approved courses taken at approved training centres will count towards periodic training. It will be up to you to decide which courses to do.
How to find training courses
Further details on courses and how to apply can be found on the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) website.