Driver licences for taxis and private hire vehicles

You need a licence to drive a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) in England and Wales.

A PHV can only be pre-booked. Taxis can also be hired at a rank or hailed in the street.

You can be prosecuted if you work as a taxi or PHV driver without a driver licence.

A driver licence is usually issued for 3 years.

There is a different process for licences in Northern Ireland and licences in Scotland.


To apply you must be able to work legally in the UK.

You usually need to have held a full British or Northern Ireland driving licence (or a full EU driving licence) for at least 12 months.

If your driving licence is from another country, it’s up to the licensing authority whether you can get a PHV or taxi driver licence. Check the rules for using your foreign driving licence in Great Britain.

You must also be a ‘fit and proper person’ - which means your background and character will be checked. You might have to complete an enhanced criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Depending on where you want to work, there might be other eligibility criteria. For example, London taxi drivers must be over 21.

You may also need:

  • a medical examination
  • a ‘knowledge’ test
  • to take a driving test


Apply to the licensing authority where you plan to work. This is either:

If you want both a taxi and PHV driver licence, you might need to apply separately for each.

After you apply

You’ll need an additional vehicle licence if you’re operating your own vehicle as a taxi or PHV. If it’s not your vehicle, check it has a vehicle licence.

If you’re driving a PHV, you or your operator also need an operator licence.

The driver, vehicle and operator (if a PHV) must all be licensed by the same authority.

You need to complete a tax check telling HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) how you pay tax on your earnings if both of the following apply:

  • you already have a taxi or PHV licence for one area
  • you’re applying for the same type of licence for another area


Ask the licensing authority how to renew your licence.

You need to renew your licence before it expires or you will not be able to work as a taxi or PHV driver.

When you renew your licence, you’ll need to complete a tax check telling HMRC how you pay tax on your earnings.

If your application has been refused

If the licensing authority thinks you’re not eligible for the driving licence, they’ll give you the chance to either:

  • provide more evidence
  • appeal their decision

If you disagree with their final decision, you can appeal to the magistrates’ court. You might need legal advice.