Driver CPC Requirements

To become a lorry, bus or coach driver you need to:

  • Have a full car licence 
  • Be over 18 - but there are some exceptions 
  • Get a professional driving qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) 

Who needs the full Driver CPC? 

You must have the full Driver CPC if you drive a lorry, bus or coach as the main part of your job. 

You usually need to pass 4 tests to get it, unless you have ‘acquired rights’ because of your existing driving experience. 

Who does not need the full Driver CPC? 

You do not need the full Driver CPC if you:

  • Do not want to drive for a living, for example you want to drive for a hobby or carry passengers or goods non-commercially for personal use 
  • Drive in certain other situations, such as taking your vehicle for a pre-booked annual test (MOT) 

You still need to pass the part 1 (theory) and part 3 (driving ability) tests of the qualification. 

How to get and keep the full Driver CPC? 

  • Apply for a provisional lorry or bus licence. 
  • Pass the 4 tests that make up Driver CPC to qualify. 
  • Take 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to stay qualified. 

You need to renew your bus or lorry licence every 5 years, and every year when you reach the age of 65. 

Taking an NVT course 

If you’re taking an approved National Vocational Training (NVT) course you can drive professionally for up to 12 months without taking the Driver CPC part 2 and part 4 tests. 

Applying for a provisional lorry or bus licence 

The category of provisional licence you need depends on the type of vehicle you want to drive. 

How to apply 

To apply, order forms D2 and D4 from DVLA. You can do it online via the link below. 

https://forms.dft.gov.uk/order-dvla-forms/ 

The D4 form has to be filled in by a doctor. This could be either:

  • Your GP - but an optician might need to fill in the section about your eyesight 
  • A private firm specialising in drivers’ medical exams 
  • Your doctor, optician or a private firm can charge you. 

You can only apply for a provisional trailer (+E) licence when you’ve got the full licence for the vehicle you’ll be driving. 

Send the forms 

Send both forms and your photocard driving licence to DVLA. There’s no application fee. 

You only need to include a passport-style colour photo and original identity documents if you have a paper driving licence. 

DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BR 

How long it takes 

You should get your driving licence within 3 weeks of DVLA getting your application. It can take longer if your health or personal details need to be checked. 

You automatically lose your lorry or bus licence if you lose your car licence. 

When you do not need the full Driver CPC 

You do not need the full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification if you’re using the vehicle for:

  • Non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use 
  • Carrying material or equipment you use for your job (driving the vehicle cannot be the main part of your job) 
  • Driving lessons for anyone who wants to get a driving licence or a Driver CPC 
  • Driving to or from pre-booked appointments at official vehicle testing centres 
  • Driving within 62 miles (100 kilometres) of your base - but the vehicle cannot be carrying passengers or goods, and driving a lorry, bus or coach cannot be your main job 
  • Maintaining public order - and the vehicle is being used or controlled by a local authority 
  • Rescue missions or in states of emergency 
  • You also do not need the full Driver CPC if the vehicle is: 
  • Limited to a top speed of 28mph 
  • Being used or controlled by the armed forces, police, fire and rescue service, prison service or people running a prison or young offender institution 

You can read detailed examples of Driver CPC exemptions. 

What you need to do 

If you want to become a lorry, bus or coach driver in these situations you need to:

Driver CPC part 1 test: theory 

Theory tests have been suspended because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re a critical worker, you can apply for an emergency theory test. 

You can book the part 1 theory test of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) as soon as you’ve got your provisional licence. 

The test is made up of 2 parts - multiple choice and hazard perception. You have to book both parts separately, but you can take them on the same day. 

It does not matter which one you take first but you need to pass both within 2 years of each other to get your theory test certificate. 

What to take to your test 

You must bring one of the following:

  • A Great Britain photocard driving licence 
  • A Northern Ireland photocard driving licence and paper counterpart 
  • An EU photocard driving licence (and paper counterpart, if you have one) 

If you do not have a photocard driving licence, bring your paper licence and a valid passport. 

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if you do not bring the right documents. 

HOW THE TEST WORKS 

Multiple-choice questions part 

You can take a practice test to find out how the test works. 

The multiple-choice questions part lasts for 1 hour and 55 minutes, and the pass mark is 85 out of 100 questions. 

Hazard perception part 

Watch a video about how the hazard perception part works. 

You’ll watch 19 videos, and there are 20 developing hazards to spot. 

The pass mark is 67 out of 100. You cannot review your answers. 

Your test result 

You’ll be given a letter at the test centre with the results for the part of the theory test you’ve just taken. 

When you’ve passed both parts, your theory test certificate will be posted to you. You need this when you book your Driver CPC part 3 driving test. 

Your theory test certificate is valid for 2 years from when you passed the first part of the test. 

You need to pass the Driver CPC part 3 driving test within 2 years, otherwise you’ll have to pass the part 1 theory test again. 

If you fail the theory tests 

You’ll get a results letter with feedback telling you why you’ve failed. 

You can book another theory test straight away, but you cannot take it for another 3 clear working days. 

Cancelled tests 

You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) cancels your test at short notice. 

Driver CPC part 2 test: case studies 

Theory tests have been suspended because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re a critical worker, you can apply for an emergency theory test. 

You can book the part 2 case studies test of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) as soon as you’ve got your provisional licence. You do not need to have passed the Driver CPC part 1 theory test. 

What to take to your test 

You must bring one of the following:

  • A Great Britain photocard driving licence 
  • A Northern Ireland photocard driving licence and paper counterpart 
  • An EU photocard driving licence (and paper counterpart, if you have one) 

If you do not have a photocard driving licence, bring your paper licence and a valid passport. 

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if you do not bring the right documents. 

How the test works 

The test is made up of 7 case studies you work through on a computer. The case studies are short stories based on situations that you’re likely to come across in your working life. 

You’ll be asked between 6 and 8 multiple-choice questions on each case study. 

The test lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the pass mark is 40 out of 50. 

Your test result 

You’ll get a letter with the results at the test centre. 

You need the test pass reference number when you book your Driver CPC part 4 practical demonstration test. 

The pass letter is valid for 2 years. 

You need to pass the Driver CPC part 4 practical demonstration test within 2 years, otherwise you’ll have to pass the part 2 case studies test again. 

If you fail the test 

You’ll get a result letter with feedback telling you why you’ve failed. 

You can book another case studies test straight away, but you cannot take it for another 3 clear working days. 

Cancelled tests 

You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) cancels your test at short notice. 

Driver CPC part 3 test: driving ability 

Driving tests have been suspended because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re a critical worker, you can apply for an emergency driving test. 

You must have passed the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) part 1 theory test before you can book the Driver CPC part 3 test. 

What to take to your test 

You must bring a  lorry or a bus or coach that meets the rules. 

You must also bring one of the following:

  • A Great Britain photocard driving licence 
  • A Northern Ireland photocard driving licence and paper counterpart 
  • An EU photocard driving licence (and paper counterpart, if you have one) 

If you do not have a photocard driving licence, bring your paper licence and a valid passport. 

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if you do not bring these. 

How the test works 

Your practical test will last about 1 hour and 30 minutes and includes: 

  • Vehicle safety questions 
  • Practical road driving 
  • Off-road exercises 
  • Vehicle safety questions 

During your test you’ll be asked vehicle safety questions on either:

Practical road driving 

During your practical road driving, the examiner will see how you:

  • Use the vehicle controls 
  • Move away at an angle, uphill and downhill 
  • Do a controlled stop 
  • Use the mirrors 
  • Give appropriate signals 
  • Show awareness and anticipation of other road users’ intentions 
  • Manage your progress and control your vehicle speed 
  • Deal with hazards 
  • Select a safe place to stop 

There will also be 10 minutes of independent driving, designed to test your ability to drive safely while making independent decisions. 

Off-road exercises 

The off-road exercises will include:

  • An ‘S’ shaped reverse into a bay 
  • Showing the uncoupling and recoupling procedure if you’re taking a test with a trailer 

Test result 

After you’ve taken the practical test your examiner will tell you if you’ve passed and explain how you did. 

You’ll pass your test if you make:

  • 15 or fewer driving faults 
  • No serious or dangerous faults 

If you fail, you can book another driving test straight away, but you cannot take it for another 3 clear working days. 

Cancelled tests 

You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) cancels your test at short notice. 

Driver CPC part 4 test: practical demonstration 

Driving tests have been suspended because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re a critical worker, you can apply for an emergency driving test. 

You must have passed the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) part 2 test before you can book the Driver CPC part 4 test. 

Book your test 

You can either:

What to take to your test 

You must bring a lorry or a bus or coach that meets the rules. 

You must also bring one of the following:

  • A Great Britain photocard driving licence 
  • A Northern Ireland photocard driving licence and paper counterpart 
  • An EU photocard driving licence (and paper counterpart, if you have one) 

If you do not have a photocard driving licence, bring your paper licence and a valid passport. 

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if you do not bring these. 

How the test works 

You’re tested on being able to:

  • Load the vehicle following safety rules and to keep it secure 
  • Stop trafficking in illegal immigrants 
  • Assess emergency situations 
  • Reduce physical risks to yourself or others 
  • Do a walk around vehicle safety check 

The test is made up of 5 topics from the Driver CPC syllabus. You can score up to 20 points for each topic. 

To pass you have to score at least 15 out of 20 in each topic area and have an overall score of at least 80 out of 100. 

Test result 

At the end of your test the examiner will tell you if you’ve passed. 

If you fail, you can book another driving test straight away, but you cannot take it for another 3 clear working days. 

Cancelled tests 

You can apply for a refund of out-of-pocket expenses if the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) cancels your test at short notice. 

After you’ve qualified 

After you’ve passed all 4 of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests, you’ll be sent a Driver CPC card. This is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’. 

You must carry your Driver CPC card while driving a lorry, bus or coach professionally. 

You can get a £50 fixed penalty for driving professionally without your Driver CPC card. 

Getting your Driver CPC card 

The card will be sent to the address on your driving licence. You need to change this address first if it’s wrong. 

The photograph and signature on your photocard licence will be used on your Driver CPC card. 

Waiting for your card 

You can drive professionally if you’ve passed all the tests and you’re waiting for your Driver CPC card to arrive. 

If your card does not arrive 

You should get your Driver CPC card within 20 days of passing the final test. Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if you do not receive it. 

Driver CPC card replacements 

[email protected] 
Telephone: 0300 123 7721 
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm 
Find out about call charges 

You have to pay £25 if:

  • You take longer than 3 months to tell DVSA it has not arrived 
  • It’s sent to an old address because you have not updated your licence 

Replace your card 

You must replace your Driver CPC card if it’s lost or stolen. 

The Driver CPC card does not have your address on it, so you do not have to get a new one if your address changes. 

Staying qualified 

Every 5 years you must:

If you’re 65 or over you must renew your lorry or bus driving licence every year. 

Fees - Provisional licence 

Fee type 

Cost 

Application for a provisional lorry or bus licence 

No charge 

Test costs 

Fee type 

Weekday 

Evening, weekend and bank holiday 

Driver CPC part 1 - theory - (multiple-choice) 

£26 

£26 

Driver CPC part 1 - 
theory - (hazard perception) 

£11 

£11 

Driver CPC part 2 - 
case studies 

£23 

£23 

Driver CPC part 3 - 
driving ability 

£115 

£141 

Driver CPC part 4 - 
practical demonstration 

£55 

£63 

These are the prices to book your tests using the official service. Unofficial websites may charge more. 

Driver CPC card costs 

Fee type 

Cost 

Driver CPC card (non-UK driving licences only) 

£25 

Replacement for lost, stolen or damaged card 

£25 

NVT concession fees 

Fee type 

Cost 

National Vocational Training (NVT) concession card 

£25 

Further Reading 

For further information on the subject of the Drivers CPC Qualification and training, please visit the links to the following websites 

EU Directive 2003/59