Apply for a private hire driver licence

Apply or renew online

Private hire regulations have changed and include an English language requirement and a Safety, Equality and Regulatory Awareness assessment. Private hire vehicles (PHVs) are also subject to the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone. You should familiarise yourself with the licensing requirements before submitting your application.

 Before you apply, we recommend that you research what becoming and working as a private hire driver entails, taking into account:

  • Income
  • Hours
  • Outlay costs - including purchasing/renting a suitable vehicle, additional equipment and the costs of hire and reward insurance
  • Whether your vehicle will be subject to the Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone

You may want to speak to existing private hire drivers or your local minicab firm. There are also a number of trade bodies and unions, including, but not limited to:

  • GMB Union - professional drivers branch
  • The Licensed Private Hire Car Association

There are licensed operators all across London, offering a variety of services. Once licensed, you can work for any private hire operator licensed in London.

In order to be licensed, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age at the time of applying. There is no upper age limit, as long as you meet the other licensing requirements
  • You must hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland, or other EEA state driving licence that's at least three years old*
  • You must have the right to live and work in the UK
  • If you are a first-time applicant you must give confirmation that you are aware of the HMRC guidance about your tax obligations. Should you be granted a private hire driver's licence you will be required to register with HMRC to pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade

However, if you currently hold a taxi or PHV driver's licence with TfL or another licensing authority, or have held such a licence that ceased to be valid in the last 12 months, you will be required to undergo a tax check as part of your application to ensure you are registered to pay the appropriate tax/taxes on income you earn from your licensed trade.

Please see the HMRC Tax check section for full details.

*Although it is possible to exchange a licence from a designated country for a UK or EU/EEA licence, applicants must have held the UK or EU/EEA driving licence for at least three years.  How long a licence from a designated country was held for prior to being exchanged is not taken into account in determining the three year requirement.

Please note, we require that all given names on any official identity documents are displayed on your private hire driver's licence.

 

We strongly recommend that all identity documents match, our expectation is that all official documents have consistent spelling and are in the correct order. This will prevent any queries in regards to your identity during the course of your licence or application. 

Taxi and private hire driver policy 

Policies, advice and guidance on licensing taxi and private hire drivers in London. 

  • Taxi and Private Hire Driver Policy

    PDF 1.26MB

  • How to apply

    If you can meet all of the above criteria and wish to apply, you can start your application by registering online

    You will be asked to provide some personal details so we can create an account for you and allow you to complete your online application or request an application pack.

    As part of your application, you will need to provide a  photograph of yourself. See our guidance on the type of photograph we will accept.

    Alternatively, please email us at tph.enquiries@tfl.gov.uk to request an application pack.

    If you have ever lived in a country other than the UK for one or more continuous periods of three months or more, please download the 'Living and working abroad' form and submit this with your application.

    Character requirements

    You must be of good character. To establish this you will be required to undertake an 'enhanced' criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) through our authorised service provider.

    Your original DBS certificate must meet TfL's strict criteria to be accepted for a licence application, including the declaration of any variations of identity that may appear on official I.D. documents.

    Please see the guidance document on ensuring your DBS application is completed correctly:

    The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has an online subscription service that lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up to date.

    Medical requirements

    You must be medically fit which means meeting the DVLA Group 2 medical standards. In most cases, this will mean that you will have to undergo a medical examination with someone who has access to your full medical records

    HMRC Tax Check

    From 4 April 2022, HMRC introduced new tax checks for all taxi and private hire drivers, as well as PHV operators. As a licensed driver, you should be registered to pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade.  
     
    You will need to complete a tax check with HMRC (using your GOV.UK Government Gateway ID and password). You must then obtain a unique 9-character tax check code which confirms your registration to pay tax. The tax check code will then need to be provided to TfL as part of your application to renew your licence. 

    Guidance is available on GOV.UK to help you complete the tax check. 

    Please note:

    • You will need to ensure that you provide the correct tax check code for the type of licence that is being applied for, i.e. a taxi or private hire driver's licence
    • A tax check code is only valid for 120 days from when it is obtained from HMRC. Please bear this in mind when submitting your application. If the code has expired, we will be unable to complete the check and your application will be incomplete
    • Please ensure that you record the tax check code clearly and correctly on your application form

    Should a tax check code be required, but it is not provided, then your application will be deemed to be incomplete. Your application cannot then be fully processed until the required tax check code has been provided and a check undertaken by TfL.

     

    Guidance for EU/EEA nationals

    Please see the document provided for information on the requirements for EU/EEA nationals to demonstrate their right to work in the United Kingdom.

    English Language Requirement and SERU Assessment - New approach to assessing ELR 

    Two separate assessments are used to determine whether an applicant meets the English Language Requirement. 

    The Safety, Equality and Regulatory Understanding (SERU) assessment will be used to determine an applicant's ability to read and write in English to an appropriate level as well as to determine their understanding of safety, equality and regulatory matters. 

    A speaking and listening assessment will also be required, this will be undertaken by a secure video or telephone link within TfL premises. 

    Both assessments will need to be passed in order for an applicant to demonstrate that they can communicate in English at an appropriate level.

    The appropriate level, which is equivalent to level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for reading, writing, speaking and listening, remains the same as before.

    More information is available on our English language page and our SERU page.  

    Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the information on the aforementioned pages before they apply. 
     

    Safeguarding Awareness

    All applicants are expected to undertake the online Safeguarding Awareness training course prior to undertaking the SERU assessment. This course contains important information on protecting children and vulnerable adults at risk from harm and abuse which is a topic that is covered within the SERU assessment.

    More information on the introduction of the Safeguarding Awareness course is available in TPH Notice 13/21 and on our Safeguarding Awareness webpage. 

    How much will my application cost?

    Payment can be made via all major credit or debit cards by completing the appropriate section in the application form. Other payment options are available via the Post Office® 'Check and Send' service.

    The table below highlights the typical cost of an application. However, some costs may vary.

    DBS disclosure application £52 (online)
    £54 (paper)
    *Licence application fee £124
    Grant of licence fee £186
    Post Office® Check and Send £7.15
    Speaking and listening assessment (if applicable) £36
    Topographical assessment (if applicable) £36

    SERU Assessment 

    £36
    Medical Fee set by the examining doctor (your GP) 
      Example total: £477 excluding cost of medical

    *The application fee is non-refundable 

    Equal opportunities       

    Becoming a licensed taxi or private hire driver is open to all. If you're a disabled person and interested in becoming a driver, there are some things to consider.

    We try to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to get through the application and assessment process. However, there are some medical conditions that, for public safety reasons, will mean you can't be licensed, so it's important that you discuss your situation with your GP before you apply. For full information on medical guidelines, please refer to the DVLA Group 2 guidelines.

    Some licensed taxis and private hire vehicles have modifications that enable people to drive them. Vehicle adaptations include:

    • Steering wheel ball
    • Hand-operated braking controls
    • Hand-operated accelerator control
    • Reconfigured foot pedal controls
    • Infra-red control panel for operating vehicle lights, indicators and horn

    Drivers who use vehicle adaptations will need to be assessed by a medical professional and driver assessor. They will recommend what adaptations are needed and exactly what equipment must be fitted to ensure the driver has full control of the vehicle at all times.

    The recommended adaptations and equipment must be fitted by an authorised Motability installer. We require documentary evidence that the installer is authorised.

    Before you have any equipment fitted or adaptations made to your vehicle you should first contact our licensing team.

    Exemptions

    We may exempt drivers from certain requirements if we feel it is appropriate.

    Some requirements apply automatically to an applicant, and some an applicant/licensee will have to apply for either when submitting an application or during the life of their licence.

    Wearing a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) driver badge

    All private hire drivers are required to wear their driver badge during private hire duties.

    There are exemptions from doing so if:

    • Wearing a badge presents a specific risk
    • The passenger requests that the driver refrain from wearing a badge

    Carrying guide/assistance dogs

    Taxi and PHV drivers must carry guide, hearing and other assistance dogs accompanying disabled people without any additional charge. Drivers can ask for an exemption from this, but only on medical grounds.

    Assisting wheelchair users

    If we have designated a taxi or PHV as wheelchair accessible, drivers must provide physical assistance to passengers in wheelchairs without any additional charge. We can exempt a driver from these duties on:

    • Medical grounds, or
    • On the grounds that a physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a driver to comply with the duties

    Topographical skills assessment

    Private hire applicants are required to undertake a topographical skills assessment as part of their application. However, the following applicants may be exempt if:

    • Previously licensed PHV drivers who have passed a TfL topographical skills test
    • Licensed London taxi drivers - All London and Suburban
    • Professional London tourists guides (eg Blue Badge Driver Guide)

    On 1 February 2020 the exemption previously given to applicants with a relevant vocational qualification was removed. Please see TPH Notice 06-19 for more information.

    Convictions and exemptions

    Disclosure and Barring service check

    If you have completed a enhanced disclosure including both barred lists under the workforce code of 'Other' in a relevant occupation, in the last four months, you are exempt for requiring a further check.

    Medical

    Applicants are exempt from completing a medical form as part of their application if they:

    • Hold a full or provisional DVLA Group 2 licence
    • Have an active application with us, have completed our medical and are under the age of 45

    Active applicants or existing licensees must have a medical exam if over the age of 45 and the last medical was done more than three years ago, or you're subject to providing an age-related medical.

    Convictions

    If you have any of the following convictions, it's unlikely that your application will be successful. Before submitting an application, please consider:

    • Any conviction for a major violent offence (murder, manslaughter etc)
    • Whether you have more than one conviction of any type of violent offence in the last 10 years
    • If you are still serving a custodial sentence, even if you have been released early on licence or the sentence was suspended
    • If you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for a serious sexual offence (rape, indecent assault, trafficking, possession of indecent images etc)
    • Whether you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for more than one sexual offence of any type, irrespective of age
    • Whether you are listed on either the Children's or Adults' barred list
    • If you have been convicted, cautioned or subjected to any other penalty for touting in the last 12 months or have more than one penalty for touting in the last five years

    This is not an exhaustive list - licensing decisions are made on a case by case basis.