English language requirement

It is essential for public safety that all licensed drivers can communicate in English at an appropriate level. Communicating with passengers to discuss a route, or fare, as well as reading, understanding and being able to respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL is crucial to a driver's role in transporting the public.

To comply with the requirement, you will either need to pass the English language test with a test provider appointed by TfL or provide documentary evidence of your proficiency in the English language.

If you were an existing holder of a private hire driver's licence before 14 October 2016, you only need to prove to us that you comply with the new requirement when you renew your licence.

In respect of both new and renewal applications received between 14 October 2016 and 31 March 2017, applicants have until 31 March 2017 to prove to us that they comply with the English language requirement.

Licensees who fail to do this may face licensing action.

For applications received from 1 April 2017, applicants will need to prove to us that they comply with the English language requirement as part of their application before a licence will be issued.

Examples of suitable evidence

This is a list of examples of suitable evidence you can supply to prove you meet the requirement. The list is not exhaustive. The subject of the qualification does not matter as long as it was taught in English.

  • UK GCSE/O level (or equivalent) certificate at grades A* to G
  • UK AS-Level/A level certificate
  • UK NVQ*/B-Tech/City & Guilds qualification, along with confirmation from the awarding body that the qualification provided is equivalent to GCSE or above (for example, a Blue Badge Guide qualification)
  • UK BA Hons, BSc Hons degree or higher i.e. master's, PhD
  • UK HNC/HND qualification
  • SELT certificate at B1 level or higher, issued by Trinity College London or IELTS showing proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening

Replacement certificates

There are four accredited Ofqual awarding organisations offering GSCEs in England: AQA, OCR, WJEC and Edexcel. There are also others for the rest of the UK.

AQA provide a service for providing verification which is useful for anyone who no longer has their certificate. They can also help you to confirm which other body to contact to verify a qualification along with their contact details.

A certified confirmation of results from the relevant awarding body will be acceptable.

Language requirement

There are currently two approved interim English language test providers: Trinity College London and IELTS (International English Language Test System).

Trinity College London's ISE I qualification will be accepted by TfL as evidence of meeting the new English language requirement. Find out more about Trinity, and how you can book the ISE I language test.

IELTS Academic and General Training tests are both accepted by TfL as evidence of meeting the new English language requirement. Find out more about IELTS, and how you can book their tests. 

Information on any further providers and how you can book them, will be published on this web page.

Applicants may satisfy TfL of their ability to meet the requirement by providing:

  • A certificate from one of TfL's secure English language test providers confirming that the applicant's level of proficiency in the English language is at level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: ("CEFR") or above; or;
  • Documentary evidence of a qualification (whether or not the qualification was obtained in the United Kingdom) on the basis of which TfL is satisfied that the applicant's level of proficiency in the English language is equivalent to level B1 on the CEFR or above.

This is our guidance on how to satisfy the English language requirement. You can do this by either sitting the test with a secure TfL-appointed provider, or by providing satisfactory documentary evidence of your ability to speak, listen, read and write to the appropriate level in English.

A copy of the amended private hire regulations regarding the English language requirement, and a copy of the Equality Impact Assessment is also included:

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