Being a goods vehicle operator

3. Apply for a licence

The goods vehicle operator licensing scheme is administered by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on behalf of the traffic commissioners.

The rules are fees are different if you’re in Northern Ireland.

How to apply for a licence

You can apply for a goods vehicle operator’s licence online or by post.

You’ll also need to:

  • advertise your application for a licence
  • advertise your proposed operating centre(s)
  • designate a transport manager if you’re applying for a standard licence
  • provide information about your financial situation
  • draw up a maintenance contract with a garage or agent to do safety inspections and repair vehicles if you don’t do this yourself

You’ll have to pay a fee to apply for a licence.

You’ll get a decision on your application within:

  • 7 weeks if you apply online
  • 9 weeks if you apply by post

Apply for an interim licence

If you need a licence urgently, you can apply for an interim licence until you get your full licence.

The traffic commissioner will only consider issuing an interim licence on receipt of a complete application for an operator’s licence.

What the traffic commissioners do

There are 8 traffic areas in Great Britain with a traffic commissioner responsible for each area. You’ll need to hold a goods vehicle operator’s licence for each traffic area where you have an operating centre.

Traffic commissioners are responsible in their area for:

  • licensing operators of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs)
  • granting vocational licences
  • taking action against drivers of HGVs

When necessary, they also hold public inquiries to consider: