English language requirement
An English language requirement applies to all applications for private hire drivers licences received by TfL on, or after, 14 October 2016. This includes applications for both renewal and new licences.
It is essential for public safety that all licensed drivers can communicate in English at an appropriate level. Communicating with passengers to discuss a route, or fare, as well as reading, understanding and being able to respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL is crucial to a driver’s role in transporting the public.
To comply with the requirement, you will either need to pass the English language test with a test provider appointed by TfL or provide documentary evidence of your proficiency in the English language.
If you were an existing holder of a private hire driver’s licence before 14 October 2016, you only need to prove to us that you comply with the new requirement when you renew your licence.
In respect of both new and renewal applications received between 14 October 2016 and 31 March 2017, applicants have until 31 March 2017 to prove to us that they comply with the English language requirement.
Licensees who fail to do this may face licensing action.
For applications received from 1 April 2017, applicants will need to prove to us that they comply with the English language requirement as part of their application before a licence will be issued.
Examples of suitable evidence
This is a list of examples of suitable evidence you can supply to prove you meet the requirement. The list is not exhaustive. The subject of the qualification does not matter as long as it was taught in English.
- UK GCSE/O level (or equivalent) certificate at grades A* to G
- UK AS-Level/A level certificate
- UK NVQ*/B-Tech/City & Guilds qualification, along with confirmation from the awarding body that the qualification provided is equivalent to GCSE or above (for example, a Blue Badge Guide qualification)
- UK BA Hons, BSc Hons degree or higher i.e. master’s, PhD
- UK HNC/HND qualification
- SELT certificate at B1 level or higher, issued by Trinity College London or IELTS showing proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening
PCO English Test Requirement
All new and renewal applicants for the TfL Private Hire Licence from the 14th October 2016 will need to provide evidence of their ability to communicate in English i.e the PCO English Test Requirment. This will include Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening. TfL has also set a transitional period, which means new and renewal applicants will get their private hire licence but will have until the end of March 2017 to provide sufficient certification or proof of their ability to communicate in English.
Applicants from the 1st of April 2017 will need to have the evidence ready at the time of applying to become a Private Hire Driver in London.
The English Language Requirement is for ALL new and renewal drivers, regardless of if they where born in the UK or have UK Citizenship.
Where do I take the PCO English Test?
TfL have approved two interim English language test providers: Trinity College London and IELTS (International English Language Test System).
Trinity College London’s ISE I qualification will be accepted by TfL as evidence of meeting the new English language requirement. Find out more about Trinity, and how you can book the ISE I language test.