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Do I need an Operator’s Licence for my Van?

The general rule is that if you are using your vehicle for ‘Hire or Reward’ then you would need an Operator’s Licence but only for a vehicle above 3.5 tonnes.

‘Hire or Reward’

‘Hire or reward’ generally means you are carrying goods for, or on behalf of, someone else, or for yourself as part of a business or commercial enterprise. The rule commonly applies if you move goods about, in receipt of payment, for another party. If this is the case, and your vehicle is above 3.5 tonnes, then you would need an Operator’s Licence. It is important to note that there are exemptions that apply for certain categories of vehicles.

If you are moving your own goods for the purpose of your own none commercial benefit, then this would not usually qualify as ‘hire or reward’ therefore, it is likely you would be exempt from the Licencing Regime.

Changes to the Law

Since 21 May 2022 you may need an Operator’s Licence if your vehicle is between 2.5- 3.5 tonnes if the vehicle conducts journey(s) in an EU State (Excluding GB or Norther Ireland).

What you will need to know if you require an Operator’s Licence.

You need to apply for a Standard International Goods Vehicles Operator’s Licence, or upgrade a Standard National / Restricted Licence. All applications are submitted online and will be considered by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. To apply online you will need the vehicle registration (number plate) and gross plated weight of each vehicle you want to be on your licence. You will need to provide proof of financial standing and proof that your transport manager has the Transport Manager CPC qualification.

Financial Standing

You will need to provide financial standing in the sum of £8000 for the first vehicle and £800 for each further van (£4500 for any additional HGV). This money must always be readily available, held in the name of the Licence holder.

If you are only running vans, the financial standing levels are £1600 for the first vehicle and £800 for further vans.

Transport Manager

You will also be required to appoint a CPC Qualified Transport Manager (TM). However, if a person declares they have been managing LGV’s for more than 10 years a temporary exemption may be permitted which would allow them to apply their ‘acquired rights’ as proposed by The Department for Transport which will be valid for a three-year period through to 20 May 2025.


Interim licence

As the application for the licence can take up to 9 weeks to issue your full licence (usually longer with backlogs), you can apply for an interim licence. An interim licence is a temporary licence that can be issued more quickly than your full licence. This means that you will be able to use your interim licence to operate in Europe while your full licence is still being processed. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) will send you an interim operator licence disc to display in each of your vehicles if your application is successful.



The normal application fee is £257, and the interim licence application fee is £68.



All Drivers going into the EU will require a copy of their UK Licence for the Community.


Further Guidance

For further information you can visit the government website:


You can also call us on 01332 987420 or email for further guidance.

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