Which Operators Licence do I need?

20th Sep 2023

Read on to view the three types of O-Licences available in the UK and the differences between them.

When is a goods licence needed?

“You will usually need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if you use a goods vehicle of over 3.5 tonnes gross plated weight or (where there is no plated weight) an unladen weight of more than 1,525kg, to transport goods for hire or reward or in connection with a trade or business.” – GOV.UK

There are further restrictions when it comes to carrying goods internationally, you can see the latest rules here. These apply to those wanting to carry goods in vans, cars and trailers. For HGVs you’ll need to apply for one of the licences below:

Restricted Licence

A restricted licence only usually allows you to carry your own goods within the United Kingdom and the EU. A restricted licence is likely to be appropriate if the operator only carries goods that they own, or that become their property and remain their property. However, it is important to consider the purpose of the operation. For example, the recovery of a vehicle does not include the return of that vehicle once it has been repaired.

Standard National Licence

A standard national licence allows you to carry your own goods on your own account in the United Kingdom or abroad, or other people’s goods for hire or reward only in the United Kingdom.

Standard International Licence

A standard international licence allows you to carry your own goods, and goods for other people for hire or reward, both in the United Kingdom and on international journeys. Operators who are issued with standard international licences will also receive a UK Licence for the Community. These are required for all hire or reward operations in, or through EU countries and are documents required to be carried on the vehicle when abroad.

You can read more on O-Licences and how to apply on the GOV.UK site.

Once you’re ready to go, we’d love to help you with your ongoing compliance. With a full suite of compliance solutions, SmartCompliance is the smartest choice.