Goods vehicle operator licence (Northern Ireland)

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You must have a licence to operate goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes as part of trade or business.

How to apply

Download an application form from the Department of the Environment (DOE) website.

There are 3 types of licence:

  • standard national, to carry other people’s goods for hire or reward within the United Kingdom only
  • standard international, to carry other people’s goods for hire or reward within the United Kingdom and abroad
  • restricted, to only carry your own goods in connection with your trade or business

To apply for standard national and international licence you must:

  • have premises in Northern Ireland where you keep business documents (not a PO Box or third party address)
  • have a qualified transport manager who holds a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in Road Haulage Operations, or an equivalent qualification or exemption
  • produce original evidence of good financial standing showing funds to run the business and maintain vehicles
  • declare all previous convictions and penalties

For a restricted licence you only need show evidence of good financial standing and declare all previous convictions and penalties.

You must have a suitable off-road operating centre for parking vehicles to apply for any licence.

You must complete a separate form to add any transport manager to your licence. You must include their original CPC, or equivalent qualification or exemption.

You must advertise your application in a local newspaper in your operating centre area. A template is available to guide you on the correct wording, and the advert must appear during the period 21 days before DOE receives your application and 21 days after your application has been received.

You may have to place multiple adverts if you have more than one operating centre.

Applications should take no more than 9 weeks. You can apply for an interim licence if you need to start operating at short notice.


You may be exempt from placing an advertisement if you are taking over an operating centre from the holder of a valid operator’s licence. However, this is subject to strict limitations.

Fees and charges

You must include a fee of £254 with your application form and supporting documents.

There is an additional £449 fee payable for the issue of the licence if your application is granted. This covers your operator’s licence for a 5 year period. All fees are non-refundable.

An interim licence costs an additional £68.