If you want to become an Uber driver or drive for other rideshare platforms in London, the first thing to do is make sure you have the necessary licenses for both yourself and your car. Apart from the PCO licence application, you also need a valid PHV licence from TfL, that ensures your car is fit and safe to drive passengers around the city.

Here’s what you need to know about getting your PHV licence in London.

What is the PHV licence?

The PHV licence is the same as the PCO licence, except it’s a licence for your car and it’s required for proving ridesharing services. It proves that your car meets ridesharing service standards and that it’s been approved by TfL.

Does my car need a PHV licence?

If you’re using your car for ridesharing, it first needs to meet the Uber car requirements and you also need to licence it. According to TfL’s PHV licence requirements, the car should:

  • have no more than 8 passenger seats
  • not look like a licensed taxi, eg London-style ‘black cab’
  • only display advertising that complies with TfL guidelines
  • display licence discs – although exemptions are sometimes granted
  • meet emission standards

IMPORTANT: From 1 January 2023, all PHVs licensed for the first time must be zero-emission capable (ZEC) and meet the Euro 6 emissions standard when licensed for the first time

PHVs which are fully electric or have a hydrogen fuel cell will meet the new licensing requirements.

Do I need a PHV licence for a subscription car?

If you want to join Uber or other rideshare platforms, but don’t have a car, our PCO car hire plans can help. All Splend cars have a valid TfL PHV licence, are new-model and Uber-ready, so you don’t have to worry about any of the car paperwork.

How do I get a PHV licence?

Here are all the steps required to obtain a PHV licence for your car.

1. Have the required documents ready and make sure they are valid

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate a.k.a. logbook (V5c) or (AFRL) certificate
  • Certificate of  insurance
  • MOT certificate – issued within the last 14 days (not applicable to new cars in the first 12 months after registration)

Depending on the situation, you may need additional documents:

  • Existing PHV vehicle licence (only if you’re renewing your licence)
  • Any vehicle modification documents (if applicable)
  • Voluntary Individual Vehicle Approval – VIVA (for personal imports and left-hand drive vehicles)
  • Emission equipment – fitment sign off declaration where applicable.
  • Other relevant documentation relating to the vehicle (if applicable)

2. Apply online for a PHV licence

The next step is to submit your application online with TfL. You can create a new customer account if you don’t have one already.

3. Get a car inspection

The easiest and quickest way is to book an inspection with one of TfL’s licenced inspection centres. You can also do this by calling the vehicle contact centre on 0343 222 5555.

Inspection sites in London:

  • Central West Site
    Unit 2 Aquarius Business Park, Staples corner, Priestly Way, NW2 7AN
  • South East Site
    Unit 13 & 14, Klinger Industrial Park, Edgington Way, Sidcup, DA14 5AF
  • North Site
    Unit 2, Watermill Business Centre, Edison Road, Enfield, London, EN3 7XF
  • West Site
    20A Airlinks Industrial Estate, Spitfire Way, Heston, TW5 9NR
  • Central East Site
    Unit 10 Segro Park, Rainham, RM13 8HY

If you’re booking outside London, your car needs to be inspected and licenced by the local council. Find and contact your local council

You can also cancel or reschedule your appointment online.

IMPORTANT: Unless the car is registered to your name, you’ll need to be nominated by the registered keeper to act on their behalf when making an application and presenting the vehicle for inspection.

If you need more details on how to obtain the PHV licence, check TfL’s PHV Licence guide.

PHV licence FAQ

How much does the PHV application cost?

If you have all the documents ready, except for the MOT, the PHV licence cost is around £200 in total. To this, you should add the annual cost of your car insurance. It will cost you more if you need to fix your car in order to pass the MOT inspection or renew documents that are missing or expired.

PHV licence application costs
Licence application fee (non-refundable) £84
Grant of licence fee £56
MOT Up to £55
Hire & reward insurance (12 months) £2,000 avg. (ranging from £1,000 – £6,000)

How long is a PHV licence valid for?

Car licenses are issued for a period of 12 months, from the date of inspection.

How do I renew my PHV licence?

You can renew your PHV licence online. To do this, you have to submit your application again, with the same documents and following the same steps.

TfL will send you a reminder around 6 weeks before your PHV licence expires.

Can passengers check my PHV licence?

Of course. When in doubt, your passengers can always perform a PHV licence check and confirm that your car has a valid PHV licence. However, they will need to provide some basic information, like Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM), licence plate, vehicle make, and model. – TfL PHV licence checker

Can I get a PHV licence for a left-hand car?

Unfortunately, no. Because of safety reasons, you cannot get a PHV licence for a left-hand drive car.

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About Splend

We’re PCO car specialists enabling on-demand drivers to make money by driving. Our vision is a future where every on-demand driver can be successful.

We can set you up with a brand-new or new-model car, and provide the training and support you need to become a more profitable, safer, and fulfilled driver. Don’t take our word for it — Uber drivers rate us excellent on Trustpilot.

Make an appointment at our London Hub at 393 Edgware Road Cricklewood, Londonemail us, or say hello on 0333 016 4331