Assessing an application for a taxi driver licence

To get a taxi driver licence (TDL) you need to complete the required theory and practical test or periodic training, submit a medical if required, 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 requirements
  • meet the necessary medical requirements
  • have the right to work in Northern Ireland

Renewal taxi driver licence applicants must have completed 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 CLSAccounts@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk for advice and guidance.

Taxi driver theory test and practical test

First time applicants or those renewing their taxi driver licence more than two years after expiry 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 can only be used in relation to 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 required
  • submit your taxi driver application

PTLD will then verify your request for an EDC check and AccessNI will begin to process it.

When your AccessNI check is completed, 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 address taxidriverlicensing@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk. Please note, 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:

PTLD County Hall

Castlerock Road, Waterside

Coleraine

BT51 3HS

It will only be returned if you provide a prepaid self-addressed envelope, otherwise it will be securely destroyed on your behalf.

If you have resided outside the UK within the last five years we may request 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

Good repute

The law requires that all taxi drivers are ‘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 be eligible 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 factors. 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.

Health

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 completed 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 completed.

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 granted.

To prove your right to work in the UK, your application must include original documents from Lists A and B of Annex A in the 'Guidance for the Department for Infrastructure to prevent illegal working in the taxi sector in Northern Ireland' and also be available to go to an interview in Passenger Transport Licensing Division in Coleraine.

Periodic training

Drivers renewing a taxi driver’s licence from 1 September 2016 must show that they have completed the required amount of taxi driver periodic training.

The training must have been delivered by a training provider authorised by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) for this purpose and at least 3.5 hours must have been Disability Awareness training.

Amount of periodic training needed

Date of taxi driver's licence expiry Training needed
1 September 2016 - 31 August 2017 7 hours
1 September 2017 - 31 August 2018 14 hours
1 September 2018 - 31 August 2019 21 hours
1 September 2019 - 31 August 2020 28 hours
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 attend.

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.

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