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Apply for a private hire vehicle licence

Private hire vehicles (PHVs) may only be pre-booked in advance through a licensed operator. Licensed PHVs are identified by signs on the side of vehicle which give details of their licence number and a red licence plate on the rear. Vehicles must not be the same colour as a hackney carriage, or have a roof sign. Fares are not regulated and should be agreed at the time of booking. A taximeter may be used, if one is available.

Use our icon private hire vehicle application form [224.26KB] to renew your licence, change the vehicle on your licence or to licence a new vehicle. Use our icon transfer a vehicle licence application form [46.92KB] to transfer a licence from one proprietor to another.

Licences for PHVs will only be granted to vehicles that meet the icon vehicle specification guidance [337.95KB] .

    Applying for a licence

    To apply for a private hire vehicle licence, you will need:

    • completed icon application form [224.26KB]

    • correct  licence fee, payable by credit or debit card

    • valid certificate of insurance covering the passenger for hire and reward and third party risks

    • vehicle registration document V5 (necessary to prove the details of the vehicle) or new owner tear off slip

    • proof of ownership (Bill of Sale)

    • hire purchase agreement (if your vehicle is on hire purchase)

    • MOT test certificate (required when three years old)

    • HPI report (for vehicles that are pre-owned)

    • European whole vehicle type approval certificate

    • mechanical test certificate passed within the last month. You can book your vehicle in online at Woking Road Depot (see our MOT testing page)

    • certificate showing the meter (if fitted) has been calibrated and sealed.

    Renewing a licence

    To renew your private hire vehicle licence, you will need:

    • completed  icon renewal application form [224.26KB]

    • correct fee, payable by credit or debit card

    • certificate of insurance covering the passenger for hire and reward and third party risks, valid for the date the licence is due to start

    • vehicle registration document V5

    • MOT test certificate (required when three years old) valid for the date the licence is due to commence

    • mechanical test certificate, passed within the last month.

    Once the vehicle is licensed as a private hire vehicle, it may only be driven by a driver holding either a private hire driver's licence or a dual hackney carriage/private hire driver's licence issued by the Council, even when the vehicle is off duty. 

    The vehicle must also maintain its appearance as a private hire vehicle at all times, including displaying any signage and plate.

    Plate exemption

    In order to be considered for plate exemption, the work you carry out must be exclusively or primarily chauffeured private hire work. This means that you provide the chauffeur and vehicle to a business or person, and the display of a licence plate may affect the dignity or security of the persons you are carrying.

    To apply for plate exemption, you will need:

    Please note that if your request is granted, you are required to carry the vehicle plate and letter of dispensation in the vehicle at all times. The internal plate must be displayed in the windscreen on the passenger side at all times.

    Data protection

    Please note that the licensing authority may be required by law to disclose to the appropriate authorities, from time to time, further information relating to applications and licences for the purposes of law enforcement and the prevention of fraud.