How to Get Your PCO Licence In 2024 , A Step-by-Step Guide for Aspiring Private Hire Drivers

7 June 2024

Are you interested in becoming a private hire driver in the UK? To do so, you'll need to obtain a PCO Licence (Private Hire Driver's Licence) from Transport for London (TFL). This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, ensuring you're well-prepared to start your new career.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you begin the application process, make sure you meet the following criteria:

Age: You must be at least 21 years old.

Driving Licence: You need to have held a full UK or EU driving licence for at least three years.

Right to Work: You must have the right to live and work in the UK.

Medical Fitness: You need to be medically fit to drive, which will be assessed through a medical examination.

Character: Your character will be evaluated through an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

DBS Update Service It is a mandatory licensing requirement that anyone now applying for a taxi or PHV driver licence (both new and renewal) is required to provide evidence of registration with the DBS Update Service.

Step 2: Complete a Medical Examination

Book an Appointment: Schedule a medical examination with your GP or a TFL-approved medical professional.

Medical Form: During the examination, your doctor will fill out a TFL medical form (TPH/204), which you'll need to submit with your application.

Step 3: Apply for an Enhanced DBS Check 

DBS Application: Apply for an enhanced DBS check, which includes checks against the barred lists for both adults and children.

Approved Providers: Use a TFL-approved provider for your DBS check to ensure it meets the necessary standards.

Step 4: Pass the Topographical Skills Test

Test Overview: This test assesses your map-reading and route-planning abilities.

Preparation: Utilize resources and practice tests provided by TFL or other training centres to prepare for this exam. like SERU

Step 5: Prove Your English Language Skills

English Test: You need to demonstrate your English language proficiency. If you don't already have a qualification that meets TFL's requirements, you'll need to pass a TFL-approved English test.

Step 6: HMRC Tax Check

From 4 April 2022, HMRC introduced new tax checks for all taxi and private hire drivers, as well as PHV operators. As a licensed driver, you should be registered to pay any tax that may be due on income you earn from your licensed trade.  

You will need to complete a tax check with HMRC (using your GOV.UK Government Gateway ID and password). You must then obtain a unique 9-character tax check code which confirms your registration to pay tax. The tax check code will then need to be provided to TfL as part of your application to renew your licence

Step 7  Driving licence check code,

You can view or share your driving licence information if your licence was issued in England, Wales or Scotland. it is required in your application form so use this link and generate your licence check code but remember it is valid only for 21 days.


Step 8: Complete the Application Form

Filling Out the Form: You can fill out the PCO licence application form online or download it from the TFL website.

Required Details: Provide your personal information, driving history, and medical fitness details on the form.

Step 9: Submit Your Application

Gather Documents: Ensure you have all necessary documents, including your medical form, DBS check results, topographical skills test certificate, and English language test certificate (if applicable).

Application Fee: Pay the application fee, 

Submit: Send your completed application and supporting documents to TFL.

Step 10: Await Decision

Processing Time: TFL will review your application, which can take up to 16 weeks.

Licence Issuance: If successful, you will receive your PCO licence, valid for three years.

Preparing for Your Application

Topographical Skills: Practice your map-reading and route-planning skills to ace the topographical skills test. and SERU Test 

English Proficiency: Improve your English skills if necessary by taking courses focused on reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Documentation: Gather all required documents early to avoid delays in your application process. 

Resources and Support

TFL Website: Visit the official Transport for London website for detailed guidance and resources.

Training Centres: Consider enrolling in courses offered by various training centres to help you prepare for the tests.

DBS Check Providers: Use TFL-approved providers for your enhanced DBS check to ensure compliance.

By following these steps and preparing thoroughly, you can successfully obtain your PCO licence and embark on a rewarding career as a private hire driver. Good luck!