Goods vehicle operator licensing

If you drive a goods vehicle which is more than 3.5 tonnes in weight and it is used to carry goods as part of a trade or business, you are required by law to have a Goods Vehicle Operator's Licence.

On 1 January 2018 the new financial standing levels for both Standard National and International operator licences came into force because of a change in the exchange rate.  The new rates are detailed below.

Types of operator licence

There are three types of operator licence:

  • Restricted Licence – for those who carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business - this licence covers all transport operations in the UK
  • Standard (National) Licence – for those who carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business and/or carry goods for hire or reward - this licence covers all transport operations in the UK - someone in, or employed by, the company must hold a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification
  • Standard (International) Licence – same as above except this licence covers transport operations throughout Europe

Cost of a licence

If you apply for a Restricted or Standard licence, you must pay a one-off £254.00 application fee. If your licence application is successful, you will then have to pay a licensing fee of £449.00 which covers a period of five years.

Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing fees Cost (£)
Application fee for a licence GV(NI)79 or for a (publishable) variation (GV(NI)81) 254
Application fee for a Restricted Licence for own-account operators 254
Fee payable for the issue of a licence 449
Fee payable for the continuation of an existing licence 449
Fee payable for the issue of an interim licence or direction 68

If you had an existing Standard (Hire or Reward) licence prior to 1 July 2012, you will need to apply for a new licence under the Goods Vehicles Act before the current one expires. You must pay the application fee of £254.00 when applying for your licence as well as the £449.00 grant fee. All fees are non-refundable.

Apply for a licence

To get a Restricted licence you will have to satisfy standards of fitness and finances. For a Standard licence you must show good repute, financial standing, establishment and professional competence. You must also advertise your operating centres, meet environmental standards and agree to a number of undertakings and conditions.

Change to financial standing from 1 January 2018

The law requires the Department for Infrastructure to be satisfied that goods vehicle operators have enough financial resources to run their businesses and maintain their vehicles properly.

On 1 January 2018 the new financial standing levels for both Standard National and International operator licences came into force.  The rates are calculated annually against the Euro exchange rate as required under Regulation EC 1071/2009.

The levels have increased in 2018 because of a change in the exchange rate. 

Standard Operator’s Licence

For: Previous rates Rates from 1 January 2018
First vehicle £7,850 £7,950
Additional vehicles £4,350 £4,400

Restricted Operator’s Licence

The rates of finance needed to support a restricted licence are not set by EC Regulations. From 1 January 2018 there is no change to the finance which must be available to support restricted licence applications and licences. 

For: Rate
First vehicle £3,100
Additional vehicles £1,700

Once you have identified the type of licence you need you can use the new Vehicle Operator Licensing (VOL) system to:

  • fill in your application online (then print, sign & post)
  • receive help and support with completing your application (almost 90% are currently incomplete when submitted, resulting in delays)
  • wait less time for complete application decisions
  • upload documents online, including bank statements

VOL Online Application

Before you start

You need:

  • a debit or credit card to pay any fees
  • your username and password if you’ve used the service before

You can register for the VOL service if you’ve not used it before.

Other ways to apply:

Download and fill in the application form GV(NI)79.

Send the completed application form along with the payment and all necessary supporting documentation to:

Department for Infrastructure (DfI)
Central Licensing Office
PO Box 180
Leeds
LS9 1BU

Once your application has been processed you will be sent a letter with your reference number and requesting any additional information if required.

You must not drive a vehicle until you have a licence. If necessary you can apply to the DfI for an interim licence, which is awarded on a discretionary basis.

Forms and guidance

Other goods vehicle operator’s licence forms and guidance are available here:

 Renew your licence

If you already have a current licence issued before 1 July 2012, you do not need to apply for a new one under the Goods Vehicles Act until your existing one is due to expire.

You will have to complete a licence checklist rather than a full application and pay the fee by the date your licence expires or you will no longer hold a valid licence.

Contact the DfI Central Licensing Office at least two weeks before the expiry date of your licence if you have not received the licence checklist or been asked to pay the fee.

Make changes to an existing licence

You can use the VOL service to check, change (vary) or update your goods vehicle operator’s licence. If you used the old self-service, sign in using the same details.

Make an objection, complaint or representation

If you wish to make an objection, complaint or representation in relation to an existing Goods Vehicle Operator Licence holder or a current application you can do so using the guide below.

For further information about Operator Licensing requirements please use the following number:

  • Phone: 0300 200 7831

 

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