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.

Guidance on driving minibuses

On the 12 April 2018, the following important information was released on the driving of minibuses:

The purpose of this guidance is to set out the driver licensing requirements for minibuses.  It outlines requirements for:

  • those who drive small buses capable of carrying up to 16 passengers (minibuses)
  • exemptions including for those who volunteer their services without receiving any payment and those who drive in a personal or private capacity - that is people who are using the minibus to transport their own family
  • those who drive buses as a less important part of their employment (full time drivers or casual drivers)
  • those who wish to hire a minibus
  • insurance 

Consultation on minibus driving licence requirements PDF 480KB 
Questions that are often asked PDF 145KB

Driving licences issued before 1 January 1997

If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you may have entitlement to drive minibuses on a voluntary basis (limited to social purposes on behalf of a non-commercial body), provided your licence hasn’t been medically restricted. This entitlement, category D1 with restriction code 79 (nfhr) is displayed on your licence. It is valid throughout the United Kingdom.

'nfhr' stands for 'not for hire or reward' which  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.

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.

Licences without minibus entitlement

If your driving licence does not show 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 
  • your are aged over 21 years
  • you receive no payment or consideration other than out of pocket expenses
  • you are driving on a voluntary basis
  • you are driving for social purposes

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

Descriptions of the vehicle categories which appear on your driving licence:

Medically-restricted licences

Information is available about how medical conditions and disabilities affect your licence:

Driving a minibus abroad

You might be able to drive a minibus abroad. Contact the licensing authority in the country you are visiting for more information.

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