1. Overview

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have merged to form the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

You need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your business uses goods vehicles above a certain weight.

You need a licence to carry goods in a lorry, van or other vehicle with either:

  • a gross plated weight (the maximum weight that the vehicle can have at any one time) of over 3,500 kilograms (kg)
  • an unladen weight of more than 1,525 kg (where there is no plated weight)

There are 3 different types of licence - what you need depends on the work you do.

You must also make sure that any drivers you use or employ have the correct licence and training. All vehicles that you use should be correctly taxed and kept safe and in good condition at all times.

Some goods vehicles don’t need an operator’s licence - read more about the exemptions.

Motor vehicles and trailers

You’ll need a goods vehicle operator’s licence for a motor vehicle and trailer combination if:

  • the motor vehicle and the trailer(s) are plated and the total of their gross plated weights is more than 3,500 kg
  • the total unladen weight of the vehicle and trailer combination is more than 1,525 kg

You don’t need an operator’s licence if your trailer’s unladen weight is less than 1,020 kg and you only carry your own goods.

Carrying goods for hire or reward

You’ll need a standard licence if you’re carrying other people’s goods for hire or reward (eg working as a courier or freight transport business) and the vehicle and trailer combination exceeds the weight limits above for a single vehicle.

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