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How to apply for an Operator's Licence from A to Z
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It is important to check which licence you require before applying. Restricted licence holders do not need to meet the same financial standing criteria ​as Standard Licence holders do, and they do not require a Transport Manager. However, Restricted Licence holders still need to meet the same safety and compliance criteria! This means that it is important to ensure you only carry your own goods and not provide transport services to others if you are operating your business under a Restricted Licence.

An Operator's Licence is an authorisation to operate vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes in their gross plated weight or buses in the UK and Europe. It is issued by the Traffic Commissioner to a person or organisation operating vehicles in their possession or control. An Operator's Licence is not transferrable, and therefore you cannot lend it to someone else. Obtaining an Operator's Licence requires a commitment to its undertakings which are legal promises to the keep vehicles in a roadworthy and serviceable condition and drivers legal and safe on the road. General undertakings are specifically listed on the licence document and need to be adhered to, otherwise the licence is likely to be revoked.
  • Restricted Licence – Allowing individuals or businesses to transport their own goods in connection with their own business. This type of licence excludes the opportunity to provide transport services!

  • Standard National – Includes operation of restricted licence and allows individuals or businesses to provide domestic transport services. You should apply for this licence if you want to provide transport services.

  • Standard International – Allows international transport as well as benefits of the national and restricted licences.

When applying for O'Licence you will need to meet the following requirements:
  • Financial standing - you will be required to demonstrate that you or the organisation who is applying for the Operator's Licence holds access to sufficient funds to support the cost of operating vehicles and keeping them in serviceable condition. The minimum financial standing requirements are published by the Traffic Commissioner every year. There is a significant difference of minimum requirements for restricted and  for standard licences. You will be required to submit a bank statement to support the application and the average available funds will be calculated by the Traffic Commissioner's Team. Please note that the evidence of financial standing must be in the applicant's name (company's name if you are a Limited company, or the individuals' name if you are a sole trader). Bank Statements in the name of a Limited company Director will not be accepted. Overdraft and credit card facilities can also be used to support the application, but again this needs to be in the name of the person or organisation whom is applying for the O'Licence. The full requirements are explained in Senior Traffic Commissioner's statutory guidance where you can find alternative ways to meet financial standing requirements.

  •  Vehicle Parking - OPERATING CENTRE. The vehicles that will be authorised on the Operator's Licence need to have a sufficient parking facility for the time they are not in use. This is called the operating centre and you need to own this place or have permission from the owner to park your heavy goods vehicles or buses in this place. There can be more then one operating centre allocated for ones Operator's Licence as long as they are located in the same traffic area. If operating centres are located in different traffic areas separate applications will be required. The operating centre needs to be approved by the Traffic Commissioner before it can be used. In order to get approval it is necessary to place a public notice within 21 days of the application in a local newspaper stating that they plan to use given location as operating centre and specify how many vehicles and trailers will be operated. This gives the general public an opportunity to object if they believe the activities of the operator will affect the enjoyment of their land.  It is very important to place the public notice with correct wording, in time and in the publication that will be accepted by the Traffic Commissioner. FAILING TO DO THIS IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN REJECTION OF APPLICATION!

  • Vehicle maintenance facilities - vehicle operators are required to keep their vehicles in roadworthy condition and  the Traffic Commissioner needs to be satisfied that this condition is met. In order to achieve this the perator needs to appoint a maintenance provider. This can be an external workshop or internal qualified person. You will need to declare that proper maintenance facilities and written contract for it are in place as this forms part of the application. The best way to achieve this is to ask a local HGV garage for assistance and a quote for a maintenance contract. The vehicles will need to be regularly inspected and records for those inspections kept on file in order for the Operator's Licence to remain compliant.

  • Transport Manager - Applicants for standard licences will need to demonstrate professional competence in road haulage. For this you will require the Transport Manager CPC qualification (Certificate of Professional Competence). This is not the same as the driver CPC so please do not confuse the CPC qualification in road transport operations management as the same as the driver CPC. A Driver's CPC will not suffice for the Operator's Licence application. Transport Manager CPC is obtained through examination or through acquired rights for people who have been in charge of fleets before the qualification was brought in. Restricted Licence operators are not required to engage a Transport Manager. Business owners, directors or employees can hold this qualification and therefore be named as the Transport Manager on their own Operator's Licence. It is very important to remember that this person needs to exercise continuous and effective control over the drivers, vehicles and operation as the authority needs to go together with responsibility. This is not to be taken lightly as the person taking responsibility for the Operator's Licence accepts responsibility for safe operation of the fleet. If the organisation does not employ a CPC holder and none of the owners or directors hold a CPC qualification the organisation can engage an external Transport Manager. This option is very popular among small fleet operators where one person takes responsibility for the operator's licence and develops a relationship with the company.  Please note that some Transport Managers are only limited to national operations.

  • Previous licence history, convictions, bankruptcy or insolvency history  - you will need to declare your previous history during the application as the Traffic Commissioner needs to be assured that the licences are given to people of good repute.


 Our Professional Consultancy will help you with:

  • Understanding the application process and how to make it as quick as possible - save time.

  • Taking care of writing your public notice, finding the correct publication and the best price from the local newspapers.

  • Ensuring the documents you submit are going to support your application and give it the best possible chance.

  • Peace of mind - we will monitor the progress of the application and help you respond to letters from Traffic Commissioner.

  • We will also provide advice on compliance and system set-up. This is necessary to manage the responsibility of holding an Operator's Licence and its continuation. 

  • Application fee - £257 payable at the point of application. 

  • Licence grant fee - £401 payable upon the granting of the licence and every 5 years if you wish to renew it.

  • Interim application - £68  you may choose to apply for an interim licence which is payable at the point of application. 



  • Public Notice - appx. £200 - £250 depending on the newspaper required.

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