HGV Operators Licence

What Is an HGV Operators Licence and How to Get One?

Anyone who intends to start an HGV company or undertake their business’s in-house logistics needs an Operator’s Licence – specifically, an HGV Operators Licence if using heavy goods vehicles.

What is an Operators Licence?

An Operator License is the legal authority required to operate goods vehicles in the UK and Europe. Operator’s Licences are mandatory for operators of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (or 2.5 tonnes in the EU) that carry goods for trade or business, no matter if the carriage is for hire or reward. This licensing ensures logistics vehicles’ legal, professional, proper, and safe use and maintains a safe environment in and around operating centres.

  • See the UK Government’s guide on being a goods vehicle operator for the latest updates.

What Are The Different Types of Operator’s Licences?

There are 3 types of Operator’s Licenses, and the HGV Operators Licence falls under these.

Standard National Licence
This license permits holders to carry their own or others’ goods for hire or reward in the UK. It also enables license-holders to transport their own goods abroad (but not other people’s goods). A Transport Manager is also required, as is upholding professional competency.

Standard International Licence
This license permits the carriage of one’s own goods and other people’s for hire or reward, both in the UK and internationally. Again, a Transport Manager is also necessary, as is exhibiting professional competence.

Restricted Licence

A restricted license allows holders to carry their own goods on their own account in the UK and the EU – but not other people’s goods. Also, licensees are not required to meet the same professional competence requirements outlined in the standard licenses. A Transport Manager is not mandatory.

How to Apply for an HGV Operators Licence

Applicants can apply for an HGV Operators Licence via our online application form, which outlines requirements, further steps.

The Operator’s Licence must be applied for under the name of the company, partnership, or person that is the vehicle’s user.

The “user” can be deemed as:

  • The driver and owner of the vehicle
  • The person under whom the vehicle is under lawful possession, whether an agreement for purchase, loan or hire

An employee or agent who is paid to drive the vehicle

How To Apply & Application Fees

Applicants must apply online via a portal. Those with operating centres in more than one place must apply to each location’s Traffic Area. There are 8 Traffic Areas in the UK, each with its own Traffic Commissioner who oversees operator licenses.|


Applicants must also advertise their application in a local newspaper that serves the area where they apply for an operating centre. This step gives local residents and businesses a chance to contest the application. Newspaper advertising must occur in each area where the applicant intends to have an operating centre.

The newspaper ad must be large enough to be read easily and appear at least once between 21 days before and 21 days after the application is made. The page of the newspaper where the advertisement is placed must be sent to the Traffic Commissioner. It should also show the date and newspaper’s name.

After applying for the HGV Operators Licence online, a decision is normally made within seven weeks.