English language requirement
It is essential for public safety that all licensed private hire drivers are able to communicate in English at an appropriate level. Drivers need to be able to communicate with passengers to discuss a route or fare as well as read, understand and respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL.
Previously, we stated that any application for a new or renewal private hire driver's licence that was received on or after 14 October 2016 had until 30 April 2019 to provide evidence that they comply with the English language requirement.
After the Department for Transport's published draft statutory guidance for licensing authorities, which provides recommendations for an English assessment for licensees, we extended the deadline from 30 April 2019 to 30 September 2020.
Extending the transitional arrangements will give us enough time to consider the recommendation and work with Government to ensure consistency in standards. After listening to the private hire industry we are also giving further consideration to reviewing the way we assess an applicant's English language skills.
No further action is needed by anyone who has submitted satisfactory evidence that they comply with the ELR, unless we contact them to request anything further. If a licensee or applicant has not yet provided evidence, they now have until 30 September 2020 to do so.
Anyone applying for a new licence, or seeking to renew their licence on or after 1 October 2020 will need to satisfy the English language requirement before a licence will be granted.
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*/BTEC/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
There are four accredited Ofqual awarding organisations offering GSCEs in England: AQA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC. There are also others for the rest of the UK. Replacement certificates are available from those organisations.
A certified confirmation of results from the relevant awarding body will be acceptable.
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.
To prove that you meet the requirement, please send a scanned copy of your certificate to email@example.com.
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:
English language requirement: guidance
The Private Hire Vehicles (London PHV Driver's Licences) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - English Language requirement implementation date change March 2019
The Private Hire Vehicles (London PHV Driver's Licences) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2016 - English Language requirement introduction October 2016
Equality impact assessment part 1 of 2
Equality impact assessment part 2 of 2