Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Operator's License?

An operator's license ('O'license') is a license granted to businesses or individuals within the UK to allow them to legally operate goods vehicles on the public highway.  The legislation is designed to promote the safe use of goods vehicles and to protect the environment in which they operate.

Do all Goods Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes need one? 

No, there are exemptions for personal use, for certain operations and for certain types of vehicle.  We will advise if any of these exemptions apply to your intended operation.  In general, the vast majority of commercial road transport activities fall within the sphere of operator licensing.

What Types of O'License are There?

There are three different types of operator's license - which one you need depends on your intended operation, the type of work and the type of goods to be transported:


  • Standard International Licence - for national and international haulage operations.

  • Standard National Licence -for national haulage operations.

  • Restricted License - for national and EU transport of your business's own goods or products.

How long does it take to get an Operator's License?

Applications are granted 9 - 12 weeks from the date of receipt by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. 

If you need to start operating urgently, you may apply to the traffic commissioner for an interim licence.