What is a D1 licence?

If you’re thinking of investing in minibuses to expand your services, grow your existing fleet or take on more work, one of your most pressing questions is most likely: what is a D1 licence?

Wherever you see information about driving a minibus, you’ll see reference to a D1 licence, but not much information about what one is, when you need one or when you don’t and how to get one.

So, here, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about a D1 licence.

What is a D1 licence? The basics

When answering the question what is a D1 licence?, the best place to start is with whether you already have one or not.

D1 is a category on your driving licence that permits you to legally drive vehicles of between 9 & 16 seats. If you passed your test before 1st January 1997, you’ll automatically have category D1 on your licence. However, if you passed your test after this date, you will need to apply to have D1 added to your licence.

In conjunction with this, it’s also important to note that, under certain circumstances, you can drive a minibus without a D1 licence.

To drive a minibus without D1, you need:

  • To be over 21 years old
  • To hold a full driving licence for at least 2 years
  • To meet Group 2 medical standards if over 70 years old
  • To drive voluntarily and/or for social activities
  • To drive a minibus with a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 with a passenger lift

However, when driving a vehicle commercially, i.e. for work purposes, you need to ensure you have D1 in place to legally drive a minibus.

Obtaining a D1 licence

To obtain a D1 licence, there are a couple of things you need to do.

Fill in a D2 form: fill in an application form D2 and send it over to the DVLA or your Local Traffic Offices.

Visit your GP: you’ll need to prove that you’re medically fit to transport passengers, which means passing a medical test. Your GP, who will carry out this test, will need to fill in an application form D4. There will usually be a charge for this of around £80.

Take a theory and practical test: it may seem like overkill, but when you’re transporting multiple passengers, it’s important to ensure everyone’s safety, and to do that, you’ll need to prove you’re able to drive a minibus by taking a theory and practical test.

What other permissions do you need?

When driving a vehicle commercially, you may also need other permissions/permits. These include:

  • Minibus Provisional Entitlement
  • Public Service Vehicle Operator Licence

Essentially, you don’t always need to obtain a D1 licence to drive a minibus; if you passed your test before 1st January 1997 you already have a D1 licence, and if you’re driving voluntarily or for a social occasion, you don’t need one.

However, if you’re driving commercially (for ‘hire or reward’), you need to ensure you have a D1 licence.

Browse our range of minibuses or contact us today for more information.


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