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.

Since 14 October 2016, all applicants for a private hire driver's licence have been required to be able to communicate in English to a B1 standard.

A transitional process is in place and applicants for new licences and renewals have until 30 April 2019 to provide evidence that they meet the English language requirement. For applications received after 30 April 2019, applicants will have to provide evidence that they meet the English language requirement as part of their application before a licence will be issued.

We are looking to introduce an English language test which is more relevant to the role of a private hire driver, but which remains at B1 standard. For example, including bespoke material with language and vocabulary that directly relates to the role and responsibilities of a private hire driver. We will provide further details in due course.

Legal challenge

Uber has withdrawn its appeal, meaning the English language requirement remains in place and is not subject to legal challenge.

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

Replacement certificates

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.

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: