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How to Apply for a PCO License in the UK: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you're looking to start a career as a private hire driver or operate a private hire vehicle in the United Kingdom, obtaining a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) license, commonly known as a PCO license, is a crucial step in the process. This license is issued by the Public Carriage Office (PCO), and it ensures that drivers and operators meet the required standards to provide safe and reliable services. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of applying for a PCO license in the UK.

Mock up PCO License (1)

Step 1: Eligibility to hold a PCO License

Check Eligibility Requirements Before diving into the application process, it's essential to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the PCO. Generally, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Hold a valid UK driving license (or an EU/EEA driving license, if applicable)
  • Have the right to work in the UK
  • Pass a medical examination, including an eyesight test

Step 2: Apply for DBS Check

Obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check To apply for a PCO license, you'll need to undergo a criminal record check. This is conducted through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). You can apply for the check online or through a registered agency. Make sure to gather all the necessary documents and information before initiating the process.

Step 3: Complete the Topographical Skills Assessment

The Topographical Skills Assessment evaluates your knowledge of the roads, routes, and landmarks within the city you intend to operate. This assessment helps ensure that you can navigate effectively, providing a high-quality service to your passengers. You can book a test slot with a PCO-approved assessment centre to take the exam.

Step 4: Prepare your Documents

Gather Required Documents Prepare all the essential documents you need for the application, which typically include:

  • Completed PCO license application form
  • Valid passport or identity documents
  • Proof of right to work in the UK (e.g., visa or residency permit)
  • Driving license (UK or EU/EEA, if applicable)
  • Proof of address (utility bills, council tax statement, etc.)
  • DBS check certificate
  • Topographical Skills Assessment certificate

Step 5: Applying for PCO License

Apply Online The PCO license application process is primarily online. Visit the official Transport for London (TfL) website and create an account. Complete the online application form, providing accurate information and uploading the required documents. Double-check all the details before submitting the application.

Step 6: Pay Application Fee

Upon successful submission of your application, you'll be required to pay the application fee. The fees may vary, so make sure to check the current rates on the TfL website.

Step 7: Wait to hear back

Wait for Processing and Decision The processing time for a PCO license application can vary based on the volume of applications received. While waiting for a decision, keep an eye on your emails and postal mail for any updates or requests for further information.

Step 8: Attend an Interview (if required)

In some cases, applicants may be called for an interview as part of the application process. If this applies to you, prepare well and present yourself professionally.

Step 9: Get your PCO License

Receive Your PCO License Once your application is approved, you'll receive your PCO license by post. Congratulations! You are now authorised to work as a private hire driver or operator in the UK.

Applying for a PCO license is a vital step in establishing your career as a private hire driver or operator in the UK. Follow this step-by-step guide, ensure you meet all the requirements, and provide accurate information during the application process. With your PCO license in hand, you can confidently pursue your passion and offer top-notch private hire services to your passengers. Good luck!

Helpful Links

- Apply for a private hire driver licence


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