Operator Licence Applications & Issuing

In 2018 the application process went digital and the use of the online system called VOL (Vehicle Operator Licensing) became more pivotal to management of any operator licence.  

So what is needed to gain an operator license?

This is something we do to help people each day to walk them through the process, and this is how we cover it:

Initial Information 

To begin any application, the basics need to be covered:

Basic information about the company or individual applying 

Type of licence to suit the business

Previous convictions and experience

Maintenance arrangements

Financial standing

External or internal transport managers details if required

Operating centre information


Each new operator licence application must be advertised to give formal notice to people living in the vicinity of the operating centre so that they can make any representations if relevant. 

This is very important as the Traffic Commissioner does refuse applications if the advertisement is not worded correctly or not done in the correct time required. 

The advertisement must appear during the 21 days before or after the application date.

Interim Licence

An interim license (which can be for HGV or PSV / PCV applications), is granted whilst a company is awaiting a full licence to be granted. This may be granted to allow a company to start trading in advance of a full grant as long as the Traffic Commissioner is satisfied with the operations and there is a good reason why the operator needs to start trading before a full grant of the licence.

Authorised and Specified Vehicles and Margins

When applying for an operator licence, the application will be based on the number of vehicles and trailers the operator is applying to have authorised. The Traffic Commissioner measures the operators ability and criteria based on this.

It is always advisable to apply for a higher number of vehicles, what we call a ‘margin’ on the licence. This allows for expansion and also if vehicle maintenance issues.

Issue of an Operator Licence

Once a licence is granted the operator will be required to pay the fee and the vehicle colour coded discs will be issued:

Restricted – orange

Standard National – blue

Standard International – green

Some licences are issued with conditions attached to them like a particular route out of their operating centre or a night ban, however it is important to remember that no matter which licence is granted, the undertakings are the same and so need to be adhered to.

Restricted operator licences may not require a named qualified CPC transport manager, but they still have to be adhered to and so the relevant knowledge is required, or use of an external consultant to ensure compliance. 

If you need any assistance with the topics covered in our Total Compliance Fortnightly Focus, please get in touch through or by calling 0345 9001312.

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