Taxi vehicle test
You must do a taxi licence test before you can drive your vehicle as a taxi on public roads. You need to apply online for a taxi licence at least six weeks before a taxi licence is needed.
Applying for a taxi licence
You can apply for a taxi vehicle licence (TVL) or make changes to an existing licence online. Paper applications are no longer accepted.
If you're applying for a first time taxi licence, you need to pass a taximeter test before your application will be accepted.
During this period of high demand, if you’re applying for a taximeter for the first time you should email your details to the address at the link below putting ‘priority taximeter test’ in the email subject line.
Taxi vehicle licences
The Department for Infrastructure has given extensions to licences for vehicles with a licence expiry date between 10 March 2020 and 31 May 2021.
These extensions effectively exempt vehicles from the roadworthiness test and allows continued use of the vehicle, for the period of the licence, without the need for a vehicle test to be conducted and as under licence rules.
Vehicles that have already received a free licence extension will receive a reminder before the licence expiry date to allow time for applicants to apply online and book their PSV test date.
You can run a taxi without a sealed taximeter between 24 November 2021 and 31 May 2022 in the circumstances listed below, as long as you’ve made an application for a taximeter test.
(a) the seal has been broken to make possible the calibration of taximeter fare rates
(b) the seal has been broken to make possible the change of set days
(c) a new taximeter has been fitted and has not yet been inspected, tested and sealed in line with the taximeter legislation
You should apply for a taximeter test as early as possible.
All taximeters must be tested and sealed by 01 June 2022 before a Class A or B taxi can stand or ply for hire or reward or carry passengers for hire or reward. If you have a Class A or B taxi with an unsealed taximeter after 31 May 2022, you will be refused a taxi licence at the annual inspection.
Booking taximeter tests
At present, an examiner cannot travel on-board a taxi to do the test. The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has developed a temporary enhanced taximeter test to try to maintain social distancing.
Taximeter tests are being carried out temporarily at Airport Road West in Belfast and within Campsie Industrial Estate in Londonderry, Lisburn and Ballygawley.
You can apply for a taximeter test online at the following link:
Directions to test centres
- Airport Road West, Belfast – (DVA taximeter test – Google Maps).
- Campsie Industrial Estate, Londonderry – (DVA taximeter test North West – Google Maps).
Any vehicle used to carry passengers for payment must undergo a taxi licence test that is more detailed than the annual MOT test. If your vehicle is constructed to carry eight passengers or less plus the driver, it is classed as a taxi.
If you have vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, they are classed as buses.
If you have passenger transport vehicles, you must make sure they are licensed before being used on public roads as taxis. Applications for taxi licences should be made at least six weeks before a taxi licence is needed.
Whilst most vehicles used to transport passengers for payment are genuine and meet the legal rules, some are illegal.
Legal rules (general)
Any vehicles you present for a taxi licence test will be given a roadworthiness (MOT type) inspection that will include:
- a maximum of eight passenger seats
- a suitable fire extinguisher mounted and readily available for use
- a suitable spare wheel and the tools to fit it - a post puncture repair kit is acceptable where the original vehicle has not been given the facility to carry a spare wheel
- if a Class A taxi, a roof sign with a yellow background to the front and rear
- if a Class B taxi, a roof sign with a white background to the front and a yellow background to the rear
- a Class B taxi should show the wheelchair accessibility logo on the roof sign and on the wheelchair access door
- a permanent top and two doors located on each side
- valid taxi insurance
- if Class A or B an approved taxi meter fitted and sealed by the DVA (see taximeter test section above for more information)
The inspection will also look at axle weight, the tyre load capacity, and the seating plan format. This is not an exhaustive list. For more information you can contact any DVA test centre.
You can find more information on the new taxi licence test rules, including information on grandfather rights and M1 type approval, in the taxi manual below:
- Taxi Assessment Guide (Class A and D only)
- Taxi Assessment Guide (Class B only)
- Taxi Inspection Manual
Rules for Class C Taxis can be found further down this page.
COVID-19 screens/ partitions fitted to buses or taxis
If you are a driver or operator you may consider fitting some form of partition or screen to protect drivers and the public.
Any such alteration must satisfy certain rules for your vehicle to pass its annual inspection.
Your screens will also be checked in other areas, such as how they affect the driver’s view of the road, condition, security, and whether there are any sharp edges or protrusions likely to injure a passenger.
Screens/ partition rules
Screen/ partition material
- the partition/ screen must be made of safety glass or safety glazing and should display a suitable approval marking
- without a suitable approval marking, documentary evidence from the glazing maker/ supplier that confirms the material used is suitable for use in motor vehicles, must be produced
- this evidence must confirm that the glazing complies with the acceptable type approval standards for glazing and safety glazing, including rigid and flexible plastic glazing used in motor vehicles
Foldable plastic screens don't meet the ‘material’ or ‘air bag’ rules below
- there should be no rigid framing or supporting structure surrounding the screen
- the partition/ screen must be suitably secured for use in normal driving conditions (it is acceptable for these screens to be fixed with Velcro and/ or quick release push buttons)
- the material must not pose a fire risk
- the partition/ screen must be transparent and not adversely affect the driver’s view of the road or distort or impair the view from interior or exterior mirrors
If the fitment of any screen affects the original seating capacity this will be taken into consideration during annual inspection and, where affected, the maximum seating capacity authorised for the vehicle may be reduced.
More rules for taxis fitted with an air bag system
- where your vehicle is fitted with an airbag system (may be identified via markings or labels on the steering wheel, front dash board, B-posts, seats, head rests, trim panels, roof and so on) you must produce documentary evidence from the original vehicle maker, Type Approval Test House, authorised Dealership, authorised distributor, or professional vehicle converter that confirms the screen or partition is suitable for fitment in the vehicle and will not adversely impact on vehicle’s safety systems, such as the airbag deployment
- the documents must be vehicle specific and include make, model and registration number
Class A, B and D
Taxis need to be constructed and certified to meet European M1 type approval rules, or the same M1 national approval rules. If you have a converted van or altered cars, they will not be licensed for the first time unless they have had an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test and been formally IVA certified (before registration) to meet with M1 approval rules (Class B taxis may need to keep to other Voluntary IVA rules Individual Vehicle Approval test).
The M1 confirmation is carried out by the Passenger Transport Licensing Division (PTLD). If your vehicle has been identified as not meeting the rules it will not be cleared for inspection.
Class B specification
Class B taxis need to be wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). Before buying a vehicle for use as a Class B taxi you should make sure it meets the rules below.
If your taxi meets the rules below you will be able to take a test: previously licenced as a Class B taxi or marked as “M1 WAV” in the registration certificate (V5c) next to “Vehicle Category”.
If neither of the above apply, you will need to give DVA some extra documentary evidence confirming the specification of the vehicle. DVA are able to accept the documents below.
A certificate of conformity (CoC). This must show that the vehicle was built with the wheelchair features. This will be available from the vehicle maker.
A national low volume approval certificate (for example, SUB-MAC). Where the approval number relates to a wheelchair accessible vehicle, the approval number will need to be checked with the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), to make sure the wheelchair features were included at the time of approval.
An Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate. This must confirm that the vehicle had the wheelchair features fitted at the time of the inspection.
A “compliance confirmation notice” given by either the DVA or the DVSA confirming the vehicle meets the standards needed for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. These are given when you've successful done a Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval (VIVA) test.
Where you cannot give the suitable documents as listed above, a vehicle may still be accepted for Class B by first passing a Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval test.
Any vehicles that you go on to test and which are found to have been modified since the approval document was given, will be refused a licence.
The Class C licensing rules, for vehicles under 3,500kg gross weight or under 2,540kg unladen weight, now allow certain specialist vehicles to be used to offer pre-booked taxi services.
If you have one of these vehicles, it must be M1 approved or not been altered since it was originally made. Acceptable features include:
- left-hand drive
- a convertible roof
- two doors, as long as one is located on the nearside and one is located on the offside or the rear
Also, these specialist vehicles don't have to be M1 type approved where they have not been altered since they were originally made.
There are other rules for Class C taxis which are over 3,500kg gross weight or 2,540kg unladen weight, or which are constructed as stretched limousines.
Class C taxis being a Heavy Motor Car or having a MAM exceeding 3,500kg do not need to carry a spare wheel.
Left-hand drive stretched limousines
Regulations are in place to allow licensing of left-hand drive (LHD) stretched limousines as a Class C taxi, with seating for not more than eight passengers plus the driver. Further details are available at the link below:
The taxi vehicle licence is available to download at any time. If you need replacement plates or window labels, you can ask and pay for them through your DVA online account.
After the test
DVA will send a Vehicle Inspection Notice after the test as confirmation that the vehicle has passed its roadworthiness test. DVA’s public transport licensing division (PTLD) will then send/ post the taxi plates, signs and licence to the licensee.
If you have any queries you can contact the taxi licensing section by emailing the address at the link below: