Taxi licensing: Driver application guidance

Taxi licensing: Driver application guidance

This guidance is for anyone looking to apply for a hackney carriage or private hire driver licence.

Please note: The licensing office is no longer accepting paper applications and all applications for new drivers must be submitted online.

Application requirements

Age

You must be over 18 years of age to apply.

Driving Licence

You must have held a full DVLA driving licence for at least 12 months.

Both sides of your DVLA driving licence must be uploaded when applying for the licence.

Drivers will need to complete an online DVLA check as part of their application process. This information will be provided once your application has been submitted.

Medical

You need to have a Group 2 DVLA Medical Form completed by your own GP.

If this has not been carried out by your own GP then the medical practitioner must have access to your full medical records and history.

A separate fee will be charged for completion of the form and will be paid by the applicant.

Please note: You do not need the medical report on application, this can be submitted at a later date.

The medical form will be emailed to you once your application has been submitted. The medical form must comply with the same Group 2 requirements as stipulated within the DVLA Group 2 medical driver standards.

Photographs

You will need to upload a passport style photograph when you complete the online application form.

Photographs not conforming to the passport style description will not be accepted.

HMRC Tax requirements

HMRC has published further guidance to help licensees and licensing bodies prepare for the new tax checks that were introduced in Schedule 33 of Finance Act 2021. The detailed guidance is in addition to and sits alongside the preparatory guidance published in October 2021, which is still available. 

This will be a new addition to the checks that licensing bodies already have in place, and it will need to be completed when people are renewing their licences to:

  • drive taxis or private hire vehicles 
  • operate private hire vehicle businesses 
  • deal in scrap metal

The changes will apply in England and Wales from 4 April 2022.

The new guidance is now available for licensees to tell them how to do their tax check. They are asked to read this guidance and to familiarise themselves with what the will need to do for the tax check. They also asked to ensure they are registered to pay the appropriate tax on their licensed income. 

Applicants Guide to completing a Tax Check

New guidance is also available to tell licensing bodies what to do with the tax check code that applicants provide as part of their licence renewal applications from 4 April 2022. 

Licensing Authority Guide to confirm a tax check

Preparatory Guidance October 2021

Changes for taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence applications from April 2022: Applicants Guide

Changes when dealing with taxi, private hire or scrap metal licence applications from April 2022: Licensing Authorities Guide

Communication resources

HMRC has also published a toolkit of materials to help stakeholders to communicate what the tax check is and why they are doing it. 

Licence application tax check: communications resources

Fees

We offer both one year and three year options for both new applicants and drivers wishing to renew an existing licence.

The three year option offers a saving of £60 for hackney carriage and private hire drivers and £120 for dual licensees.

One year licence

New applicants and existing hackney carriage or private hire driver renewals:

  • £60 per year plus £60 DBS/DVLA checks once every three years
  • Total cost (over a three year period) - £240.

Dual (hackney carriage and private hire) driver licence:

  • £90 per year plus £60 DBS/DVLA check once every three years
  • Total cost (over a three year period) - £330

Three year licence

New applicants and existing hackney carriage or private hire driver renewals:

  • £180 – including the three year DBS/DVLA fee

Dual (hackney carriage and private hire) driver licence:

  • £210  – including the three year DBS/DVLA fee

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

Disclosure & Barring Service checks are made using online services.

Please refer to our advice on how to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Certificate of good conduct

If you have not lived in the UK for five consecutive years or more we will require a “Certificate of Good Conduct” from your previous country of residence.

You will need to apply for this via your local embassy.

Your application cannot be progressed without this.

DBS check update service

If you currently have a DBS certificate and have applied for the update service at the time of application, you will not be required to complete a further DBS application.

You will however need to present the certificate and reference number on submitting your licensing application.

The certificate must:

  • be an enhanced check
  • be issued within the last 12 months
  • state that the "position applied for" is "Child and Adult Workforce" or "Other Workforce Taxi Driver"

The Authority will check the status of your certificate at the time of submitting your licensing application.

Convictions

You must declare all previous convictions including cautions, reprimands and fixed penalty notices.

Convictions for driving offences or criminal matters may require you to appear before the Regulatory and Appeals Sub-Committee who will make further determination.

You will be advised of referral if required at the time of submitting your application.

Right to work

As part of your application for a licence you will need to provide documentation proving that you have the right to work in the United Kingdom in accordance with the requirements of the Immigration Act 2016.

In order to demonstrate an entitlement to work in the United Kingdom, an acceptable document must be uploaded at the time of application. For further assistance on acceptable documents please refer to Home Office Guidance.

You must upload the original document such as a passport, biometric residents permit or EUSS confirmation share code so that the required checks can take place. You may be asked to present the original documents during the application process. British Citizens can produce a passport or birth certificate issued in the United Kingdom, together with an official document giving the persons permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government Agency or a previous employer. A copy of these documents will be retained by the Licensing Authority. Original documents will be returned to you.

Locality test

Hackney carriage and dual licence applicants are required to pass a locality test, which must be booked when applying for the licence.

Tests are held at the Newcastle City Council Licensing Office, Unit 2, Wincomblee Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 3PF.

Booking a locality test

You will be allocated a date and time once your application has been accepted.

Your first test is included in the licence fee.

If you fail to attend or do not pass the test a further non-refundable fee of £24 is payable for any subsequent tests.

If you need to book a retest, please email NCCLicensing@newcastle.gov.uk or call 0191 2783864.

What the locality test covers

An officer will test you on your knowledge of the area.

To pass the test you must be able to demonstrate a good geographical knowledge.

You should for example, know the names of the main streets in the city, the location of hotels, places of interest, churches, hospitals, public houses and public buildings.

You should also know the shortest routes to take between destinations in the city.

You must bring your driving licence with you every time you attend a re-test.

Find out more

Further information about the locality test is available on our information page.

Interview

Private hire applicants are required to attend a one to one meeting with licensing officers to be briefed on matters deemed relevant to private hire driver licensing.

The statement of knowledge and understanding will include an overview of:

  • relevant legislation
  • conditions
  • the authority's expectations of licensed professional drivers
  • the carriage of vulnerable and disabled passengers
  • medical criteria and notification to the licensing authority
  • offences (including motoring and illegal ply for hire), together with potential legal and licensing action
  • reporting of convictions
  • required standards and maintenance checks

Applicants are required to have good geographical knowledge of the City and surrounding areas.

If good knowledge is not held by the applicant, the officer will ask the applicant to rebook the interview once the geographical knowledge is held by the applicant.

Applicants must confirm and show that they understand all matters contained in the statement and will be required to sign a declaration to confirm this.

If you fail to attend or do not pass the interview a further non-refundable fee of £24 is payable for any subsequent interviews.

If you need to book an interview, please email NCCLicensing@newcastle.gov.uk or call 0191 2783864.

Training

Safeguarding vulnerable passengers

We recognise that the taxi trade play an important role as part of the public transport network within the city and given the nature of licensed driver work we believe that licensed drivers are well placed to act as eyes and ears within our local communities.

A pre-requisite of any licence grant will be the undertaking of safeguarding training to update and refresh your knowledge of the safety factors concerning licensed driver work and that of your passengers. 

Safeguarding is everybody’s business and we are committed to working in partnership with and supporting our local businesses to raise awareness.

The purpose of the session is to give everybody an improved understanding of what might make a passenger vulnerable to abuse, what you could do if you were worried about the safety of a passenger, what to look out for and to feel confident and comfortable in reporting any concerns to relevant agencies.

There is no associated cost (as this in included in the application fee), though failed attendance (without prior notice) will result in a charge for re-booking.

A licence cannot be granted without completion of the course.

You will be booked to attend the course on submission of the application.

If you wish to cancel or change the date you must give at least three working days’ notice. If you fail to give the required notice or fail to attend you will be charged £20.

Contact us

The licensing office is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 3.30pm.

Please note: The licensing office is no longer accepting paper applications and all applications for new drivers must be submitted online.

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