What is a PCO licence

A PCO licence is the permit you need if you want to work as a taxi driver, minicab driver or chauffeur in the UK. It is a requirement for anyone looking to drive on ride hailing platforms like Uber, Bolt or FREENOW. It is sometimes called a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence, and you’ll see Transport for London use that phrase.

In London, licences are granted by Transport for London, they oversee the application and testing process and are the first people you should speak with if you have any issues or questions.

What are the requirements to apply for a PCO licence?

To be eligible for a PCO licence, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be 21 years or older, there is no upper age limit
  • You must hold a full DVLA, Northern Ireland, or other EEA state driving licence that’s at least three years old
  • Have the legal right to live and work in the UK

You will also need the following documents available:

  • Valid passport
  • UK driving licence (with at least 3 years of experience)
  • National Insurance number
  • Proof of address (a bank statement or utility bill from the last 3 months is sufficient)
  • You will also need a tax check code from HMRC to confirm your registration to pay tax

What else will I need to do as part of my application?

  • Topographical skills assessment

Once you’ve submitted your application, you will be invited to take the TfL topographical test (map-reading test).

  • DBS check

All drivers must complete an “enhanced” criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring service. From 26 February 2024, all applicants for a private hire vehicle driver’s licence must register with and subscribe to the DBS Update Service. Detailed guidance on the Update Service and how to register can be found here.

  • Medical check

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. This is normally your GP. 

  • Speaking and Listening Assessment

Drivers need to complete an assessment at a TfL driver assessment centre which shows their ability to communicate effectively. The test normally consists of a 15-20 minute conversation.

  • Safety, Equality and Regulatory Understanding requirement (SERU)

This requirement was introduced in 2021 and requires drivers to understand the regulations around Private Hire, as well as the policies and guidance from TfL for dealing with a range of passengers as well as managing the safety of your vehicle, your passengers and other road users. The assessment is based on information found in the PHV Driver’s Handbook. You can prepare for the SERU assessment using TfL’s online assessment guide. The assessment takes place in TfL offices, and is overseen by their staff.

How much will my application cost?

The table below (taken from the TfL website) 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
MedicalFee set by the examining doctor (your GP)
Example total: £477 excluding cost of medical

How long does a PCO licence last?

Your PCO Licence will need to be renewed every 3 years.

How long does it take to get a PCO licence?

While the turnaround time for new licences has got faster recently, it can still often take 3-4 months for a PCO application to be fully processed.

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A PCO licence is the permit you need if you want to work as a taxi driver, minicab driver or chauffeur in the UK. It is a requirement for anyone looking to drive on ride hailing platforms like Uber, Bolt or FREENOW. It is sometimes called a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence, and you’ll see… Continue reading What is a PCO licence?

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February 9, 2024

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