The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Become a Lorry Driver

Becoming a Lorry Driver: Driving a Bus or Coach

This section explains bus and Lorry driver licence procedures. Learn how to become a Lorry driver, or start driving a bus or coach for a profession.

BECOMING QUALIFIED: 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

The full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence is a requirement to drive a Lorry, coach, or bus as the main part of a profession.

As a rule, you need to pass four separate tests to get the CPC. Exceptions exist for certain cases of 'acquired rights'. 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 (see below).
  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 every 5 years after you reach 45 (to meet medical standards). This is an annual requirement from age 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 part 2 and part 4 tests of the Driver CPC are not required.

Apply for a Provisional Lorry or Bus Licence

Check the category of provisional licence you actually need. This will depend on the type of vehicle you want to drive. You will need to order two forms from the DVLA. They must include the 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. Lose a car licence means you automatically lose the Lorry or bus licence as well.

Sending DVLA D2 Application Form

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

Note: What if you have a 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 3 weeks after receiving the application. It may take longer if they need to check your health information or personal details.

Circumstances when CPC is Not Required

As a rule, the full Driver Certificate of Professional Competence is not necessary if:

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

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