Quick Guide for O Licence Operators

This is a brief guide to Operator Licensing. Within this particular section of the site there is further information specific to licensing.

There are three types of Operator Licence.

Restricted Licence

Restricted - this licence allows an operator to carry their own goods in the course of their trade or business. They must not carry goods for other people for hire or reward if they have a restricted licence. If they do, they could be fined and lose their licence.

Standard National Licence

Standard National - this licence allows an operator to carry their own goods in Great Britain, and to carry goods for other people for hire or reward in Great Britain. Even if they carry other people's goods only occasionally, they must have a standard national licence.

Standard International Licence

Standard International - this licence allows an operator to carry thier own goods, and goods for other people for hire or reward, both in Great Britain and on international journeys.


Remember, an operator can be fined if they use their vehicles for international hire or reward work when their licence covers them for national operations only.

Operators who are issued with international licences will also receive Community Authorisations which are required for all hire or reward operations in, or through, European Community countries. To find out more about community authorisations and other permits, please visit the .Gov website at the link below.


The process of obtaining an Operator Licence

Before starting the application process an operator will need to ensure that they can satisfy the following criteria and provide: 

  1. Permission -  to use the place where the vehicle(s) are to be parked (the operating centre). Permission for this is required from the owner of the site. However, this is not required if the operator owns the land, although proof of ownership will be required.

  2. Maintenance Contract - this can be obtained from a reputable commercial vehicle service agent, who will know exactly what is required and will be able to advise on maintenance frequency and costs. If a maintenance contract from a garage is submitted, their services must be used.

  3. Certificate of Professional Competence - required if applying for a Standard National or Standard International Licence. An operator will need to either hold the relevant CPC qualification(s) or have someone working for them who has them, in which case, the following will be applicable:

  4. For a National Licence - A National CPC

  5. For an International Licence - A National and International CPC

  6. Whoever holds the CPC(s), will need to satisfy the Traffic Commissioner of good intent, and in the case of using an external source who holds the required CPC(s) to work upon the operator's behalf, that he/she can give the time required to efficiently and effectively perform the role of CPC holder - usually, a minimum of 8 hours per week per licence subject to the number of vehicles operated.

  7. Financial Information - proof to the Commissioner that there are sufficient financial resources to support the licence required, which will mean three months bank statements and proof of any further financial facility in place to support an ongoing Transport Operation. Recent audited accounts may also be required.

How to apply

Once all of the requirements above are in place the application can commence.

If applying for either:

  1. A new operator licence; or
  2. To vary an existing operator licence

Visit https://www.gov.uk/apply-vehicle-operator-licence 

Here applications can be made for the following or to vary::

  • A heavy goods vehicle (HGV) operator’s licence
  • A public service vehicle (PSV) operator’s licence
  • An interim operator licence

During this stage it is also possible to pay any application or licence fees, and so a debit or credit card should be available during the application process.

Generally, decisions are made within 7 weeks if applying online, but it can take longer.

The Operator Licencing system is complex and there are many exemptions that may or may not apply . It is always best to seek specialist advice as it is possible to apply for a licence that is not required, or worse, face conviction for operating without a licence.

When the link above is selected there is a START NOW button. Ensure everything that is required is to hand before continuing and then select the START NOW button to continue to the signing in page – shown opposite.

For those who already have an operator licence, they can simply sign in with a user name and password.

For those wishing to create an account for the first time, they should click on 'Create Account' and complete the requested fields.

Once all the requested fields have been completed press the Create Account button. It is important to remember the Username and/or Password, as they will be required again in the future.

Before applying for a new licence, certain measures should have been completed beforehand. These include the following:

  1. Advertise the application for a licence, which should include the proposed operating centre(s)

The advert must be in a local paper with a sensible circulation and will need to be placed in the Public Notices section of the paper. If using one of the ‘freebie’ newspapers, such as the Friday-Ad, your application will be rejected.

Once the advert is placed, on the day it is circulated and you obtain a copy, complete the following:

  1. Remove the front page and scan it.
  2. Highlight the advert on the relevant page with a coloured highlighter and scan the page.
  3. Retain copies of the original newspaper until the licence has been granted.
  4. 21 days are allowed from the date the newspaper was issued to complete everything and submit it as part of the licence evidence.

Form GV81 is no longer available, please visit the .GOV site: Manage Your Vehicle Operator Licence 

  1. Designate a transport manager if applying for a standard licence

Once a designated transport manager has been agreed (National & International Licences only), a TM1 form must be completed and signed by both the operator and the designated transport manager.

A copy of the TM1 can be downloaded below:

TM1 Image here

  1. Provide information about the operator's financial situation

An operator will be expected to provide sufficient financial evidence in the form of bank statements, it is advised that 3 months of bank statements are submitted and also any confirmed overdraft facility made available by the operator's bank. This information must be scanned and available to upload as part of the application.

Standard national and international licence applicants will be required to demonstrate £8000 for the first vehicle and £4450 for each additional vehicle they request to be authorised.

Restricted licence applicants will be required to demonstrate £3100 for the first vehicle and £1700 for each additional authorised vehicle.

  1. Draw up a maintenance contract with a garage or agent to complete safety inspections and repair vehicles if not bei g carried out by the operator

The annual mileage and type of operation that vehicles will be engaged in will dictate the PMI frequency of the vehicles. If using a main dealer to maintain vehicles, they will be able to assist.

A copy of a Maintenance Agreement can be downloaded below: GO16

GO16 Image here

Once everything is in place, the online licence application can commence 

Fees to apply for a licence are as follows:

  • One-off fee payable on application
  • A fee for the issue of a licence
  • A fee for the issue of an interim licence (if applicable)

A continuation fee is payable every 5 years to keep the licence active.

The list of fees current at the time of writing (April 2020) are:

Application for a licence £257
Issue of a licence £401
Continuation of a licence after 5 years £401
Issue of an interim licence £68
A major change to a licence £257