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Becoming a Lorry Driver (Bus or Coach)

This section explains the bus and Lorry driver qualifications and licence procedures. Learn how to become a Lorry driver, or start driving a bus or coach for a job. The full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence is a requirement to drive a Lorry, coach, or bus as the main part of a profession.


There are certain qualifications required before you operate a heavy goods vehicle or a passenger carrying vehicle.

Lorry or Bus Driver: Qualifications

The 3 steps of getting qualified and becoming a Lorry driver (or bus) are:

  1. Holding a full car driving licence.
  2. Being at least 18 years old (some exemptions apply to this age rule).
  3. Obtaining a professional driving qualification known as the full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
Full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence

As a rule, you will need to pass four separate tests to get the CPC. Exceptions exist for certain cases of ‘acquired rights’ (see driver CPC training for qualified drivers). This could be because of some existing experience in driving large goods vehicles.

Steps to Get Full Driver CPC (and retain)
  1. Apply for the provisional lorry or bus licence.
  2. Pass all 4 tests that make up the Driver CPC qualification.
  3. Participate in 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years (to stay qualified).
  4. You must renew bus or lorry licence at 45 every 5 years to meet driving medical standards. This becomes an annual requirement from the age of 65.
National Vocational Training Course

Approved National Vocational Training (NVT) courses have different rules. It allows the driving of certain vehicles professionally for a period up to 12 months. Taking the NVT means Driver CPC part 2 and CPC module 4 tests are not required.

Note: You can apply to defer taking the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) part 2 and 4 tests if taking a National Vocational Training (NVT) programme.

Driver CPC Exemptions

There are some situations when you do not need a CPC qualification to drive haulage vehicles. As a rule, the full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence is not necessary if:

  • Driving Lorries, buses, and goods vehicles is not part of job or profession.
  • You drive good vehicles as a hobby or for personal use to carry goods or passengers in a non-commercial way.
  • Driving the vehicle is for ‘certain other situations’ (e.g. to a pre-booked official vehicle testing centre).
  • You are carrying material or equipment used for your job. But, the main part of your job cannot be driving the vehicle.
  • You are giving driving lessons for someone who wants to get a driving licence or a Driver CPC.
  • Your driving range is within 62 miles (100 kilometres) of your base. But, driving a lorry, a bus, or a coach cannot be your main job and the vehicle cannot be carrying goods or passengers.
  • You are using the vehicle to maintain public order. This only applies if the vehicle is being used or controlled by a local authority.
  • You use the vehicle in a rescue mission or in a state of emergency.

DVLA driver CPC exemptions also apply the vehicle is:

  • Limited to a top speed of 28mph (45kph).
  • Being used (or controlled) by the the armed forces, the police, fire and rescue service, prison service or people running a prison or young offender institution.

Note: You would still need to pass the part 1 theory test and part 3 driving ability test of the CPC qualification.

DVLA D2 Form Download: Provisional Lorry Licence

Check the driving licence categories for the provisional licence that you would need. It would depend on the type of vehicle you want to drive. You will need to order two forms from the DVLA. They must include HGV D2 driving licence application form and D4 form.

A doctor (GP) or a private firm specialising in drivers’ medical exams must fill in form D4. But, an optician may need to fill in the section on eyesight. They may charge a fee for this service.

Note: Apply for a provisional trailer (+E) licence after you get the full licence for the type of vehicle you will drive. Do not start driving a Lorry or bus on a car licence. Loss of a car licence means an automatic loss of a Lorry or bus licence as well.

Sending DVLA D2 Application Form

There is no fee for the HGV licence application form. Send off both forms with your photocard driving licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Note: What if you have the old paper driving licence? In this case include a passport-style colour photo with the original identity documents.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
SA99 1BR

DVLA usually return the driving licence within three (3) weeks after receiving the application. It may take longer if they need to check your health information or personal details.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) Fees

Provisional Licence

  • Application for a provisional lorry or bus licence: Free of charge

Test Costs

  • Driver CPC part 1 theory – (multiple-choice): £26
  • Driver CPC part 1 theory – (hazard perception): £11
  • Driver CPC part 2 case studies: £23
  • Driver CPC part 3 driving ability: £115
  • Driver CPC part 4 practical demonstration: £55

Note: The prices quoted are for booking the tests using the official service. Unofficial websites may charge more. Extra charges may also apply for weekdays, evenings, and during UK bank holidays.

Driver CPC Card Costs

  • Driver CPC card (non-UK driving licences only): £25
  • Replacement for lost, stolen, or damaged card: £25

NVT Concession Fees

  • National Vocational Training (NVT) concession card £25


Driver CPC Part 1 Test Theory

The driving theory test for lorries, buses, and coaches includes part one of the CPC. Part 1a and part 1b make up the first module of a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.

Driver CPC Part 2 Case Studies

Once you have a provisional licence you can book the CPC part 2 case studies test. It does not matter if you have yet to pass the Driver CPC part 1 theory test.

Driver CPC Part 3 Driving Ability

The Driver CPC part 3 tests your driving abilities and practical road driving skills. You must already have passed the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence part 1 theory test.

CPC Module 4 Practical Test

The Driver CPC part 4 test is a practical demonstration of vehicle safety checks. You must already have passed the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence part 2 test case studies.

After You Have Qualified

Once you pass all 4 Driver Certificate of Professional Competence tests you will get your Driver CPC card after qualification (DQC). Find out what a DQC card is and how to make a CPC change of address.

Vehicle used for Driving Test

The Lorries used for practical driving tests must meet certain rules and regulations. In some cases, the vehicle and trailer must also be carrying a minimum weight.

How to Become a Lorry Driver: Licence Requirements for Driving Large Goods Vehicles