30th March 2023

Your Quick PCO Licence Renewal Guide

The private hire vehicle driver’s licence (or PCO licence) is the driving licence issued to taxi drivers and chauffeurs working in the United Kingdom. As a private hire driver, you must keep your PCO Licence up to date, so that it’s legally valid.

Find out how to renew your PCO licence, with this basic renewal guide from Addison Lee.

Applying for Your PCO Licence

PCO licences are issued by the Public Carriage Office, a department of Transport for London. To apply for this licence, you must be at least 21 years old and hold a valid DVLA, Northern Ireland or EEA driving licence. You’ll need to get a full medical check-up and pass a criminal record check. Good English communication skills and route-finding skills are also essential.

Once you get your PCO licence, it will be valid for 3 years. At the end of this period, you’ll have to renew your licence if you want to keep working as a private hire driver.

The PCO Renewal Process

Transport for London will send you a new application pack 4 months before your PCO licence expires, to ensure you can renew it in good time.

Once you receive your application pack, you must apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for a new criminal record check. You can save yourself time and money (and prevent delays) by registering with the DBS Update service; this means you won’t have to apply for a new check every time you renew your licence.

You’ll need to provide a recent photograph of yourself, to appear on your new licence. Follow the TfL photo guidelines to ensure your new photo will be accepted.

It’s quicker and easier to submit your renewal application online, although you can also send your application to TfL via post.

  • Online application: Start by registering online with TfL. Fill out the details required, using the registration details provided in your renewal application pack.
  • Postal application: Complete the postal pack and post it to TfL using the envelope provided. Check that all your details are complete and correct, including your DVLA Share Code.

Note: You’re required to return your old PCO licence to TfL within 7 days of it expiring. Private hire drivers must also return their PHV badge.

Tax Checks for PCO Licence Renewals

Since 4 April 2022, HMRC has required tax checks for taxi drivers, private hire drivers and PHV operators. Your PCO renewal application won’t be processed without your unique tax check code.

You can complete the tax check with HMRC, following the guidance at GOV.UK. Addison Lee also provides admin support for drivers, including assistance with taxes.

Late Renewal Applications and Stolen Licences

If you submit a late renewal application after your old licence expires, you’re more likely to experience delays, which means you could miss out on work and earnings.

If you apply for a PCO licence renewal more than 3 months after your licence expires, you’ll be treated as a new applicant, and you’ll have to start the whole application process again. This could lead to delays as it typically takes up to 16 weeks for an application to be processed.

Remember, it’s illegal to work as a PHV driver or taxi driver if you don’t have a valid PCO licence. If you continue to work after your licence expires, you can be prosecuted, which will affect your reputation and damage your future career. These rules also apply to lost, damaged or stolen licences, which must be reported immediately and renewed through TfL.

As a private hire driver with a valid PCO licence, you can enjoy a career as a member of Addison Lee’s respected fleet.

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