Who needs an HGV operator licence?

If you transport goods using HGVs as part of your business, there’s a very good chance you, and your drivers, will require an HGV operator licence. Without one, you’re breaking UK and EU law, and risk having your licence suspended, restricted or revoked, all of which could seriously damage your business.

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When do you need a licence?

You’ll need an HGV operator licence if you operate:

1. A van, lorry or truck that’s over 3.5 tonnes in weight and used to transport items related to your company’s business. You’ll need the licence regardless of how often the vehicle is used. You don’t need a licence if your primary business is carrying passengers.

2. A van, lorry or truck that’s over 1,525 kg in weight when not holding goods or passengers. Trailers used to transport goods are included in the to

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What type of licence do you need?

There are three versions of the operator licence, and you’ll need to apply for the right one for your business. They include:

1. A standard national licence that permits you to transport goods that belong to your company and other companies across the UK. You can also transport your own goods internationally or those belonging to others between UK ports.

2. A standard international licence that permits you to transport goods belonging to your company and those of other companies across the UK and internationally. Under a standard international licence, you can apply for a community licence that permits you to transport goods between and work in all EU countries, although this may change with Brexit.

3. A restricted licence that permits you to transport only goods owned by your company.

Regardless of the licence you hold, you will need HGV insurance, such as that provided by https://www.quotemetoday.co.uk/hgv-insurance, and you’ll need to renew your licence every five years.


There are some exemptions to the rules around HGV operator licences, which mean you won’t need one if your truck, van or lorry was first used prior to 1977, has a gross plated weight of no more than 3,500 kg, is being used to move between private properties for no more than six miles a week, or has trade plates.

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