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.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.