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Applying for a Hackney carriage or private hire drivers licence

By becoming either a Hackney carriage (taxi) or private hire driver you can play a part in delivering safe, reliable and integrated transport to everybody who lives, works or visits Leeds.

Application forms to become a taxi or private hire vehicle driver are available to download from the Documents section of this page along with the relevant guidance notes (introductory guidance notes are available in a number of translations). You can also either telephone or email the taxi and private hire licensing section and ask for application forms to be sent to your home address or you can call in person and ask for the necessary application form.

Information about prices can also be found in the 'A guide to obtaining a licence' document within the Documents section of this page.

There are specific requirements that you must meet in order to progress with an application. 

For example;

  • you must be at least 18 years of age to become a licensed driver; 21 years of age to be a Hackney carriage driver
  • you must have held a full DVLA, Northern Ireland or European Economic Area (EEA) state driving licence for at least three years
  • you must undergo an enhanced criminal records check and we will check your driving licence to see if you have any motoring convictions
  • you must undergo a group 2 medical examination with your own GP
  • you must undergo and pass both an English comprehension and knowledge tests prior to being granted a licence.

All licences are issued for a period of 12 months. Once strict criteria are met, you may be eligible to apply for a 3 year drivers licence. Please refer to the guide to obtaining a licence and our three year licence policy which are available to download from the Documents section.

You must attend the licensing office in person to make an appointment to begin the application process. You must also pay the applicable fee at this time and fees can be paid via cash, debit card or cheque. All cheques should be made payable to Leeds City Council. Please see our guide to obtaining a licence for a full list of our fees. 

You will be given a half hour slot with a licensing officer to process your application. We use an appointment system to make sure that existing licensed drivers are not inconvenienced by being off the road longer than is necessary and that unnecessary queues do not build up in the licensing office. Missed appointments may result in an administrative fee being applied.

Applications remain valid for a period of 12 months. If you do not pass and complete all of the required tests within this time period, your application will be cancelled. The fee is non-refundable.​​

I have a conviction, will this prevent me from becoming a licensed Hackney carriage or private hire driver?

The Council must be satisfied that the drivers it licenses are safe, honest and trustworthy – ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence. 

Every applicant must have a criminal record check before they can have a licence.  This is done by asking you to get an enhanced criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service. We will also look at your driving licence to see if you have any driving convictions.

Having a driving or criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent you from becoming licensed - it depends what the conviction was for, the sentence imposed and how long ago it was.

It is very important that you read and understand our policy on driving and criminal convictions before you apply.

Do I need to prove my medical fitness to be a Hackney carriage or private hire driver?

Hackney carriage and private hire drivers are professional drivers carrying passengers for hire and reward. Because of this, if you apply to be licensed, we will ask you to prove your medical fitness by having a group 2 medical examination with your GP.

Do Hackney carriage and private hire drivers need to pass a knowledge test?

All licensed Hackney carriage drivers in Leeds must have an in depth knowledge of the road network and places of interest in the city. You will need to be able to demonstrate a range of route finding skills such as map reading and route selection, which allow you to plan a journey.

As part of Leeds City Council’s commitment to increasing the level of professional service offered to the public using private hire vehicles, we have developed a training package for all private hire drivers. Please see the ‘private hire knowledge test guidance’ which is available to view and download from the Documents section.

How do I renew my licence?

You can download renewal forms from the 'Taxi and private hire trade information' page via the Related pages section. 

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