You need a standard car licence to drive a minibus, not for reward or hire, that has a GVW under 3.5 tonnes under a Section 19 Permit (other conditions apply).

A standard car licence with D1 entitlement allows you to drive a minibus that has a GVW over 3.5 tonnes and/or is being driven for hire or reward. You need a full D1 licence with CPC to drive a minibus for a commercial company looking to profit from their minibuses. The organisation will also need an additional operator’s licence.

D1 entitlement can be inherited and obtained. If your driving licence was issued before 1st January 1997 it will have 101 in the D1 column on the back of your licence, this is an inherited entitlement. If you do not have this entitlement you will need to take the D1 theory and driving test to get that entitlement.

You can drive a minibus with a standard car licence without D1 entitlement if the organisation that runs the vehicle has a Section 19 Permit. These are issued by the DVSA to organisations not looking to profit from the transport of their members, or people the organisation helps – such as school pupils. Section 19 permit vehicles cannot carry members of the general public.

There are several conditions drivers must meet to drive a minibus on a standard car licence under a Section 19 Permit, they include:

  • Drivers are over 21
  • Drivers have held a full category B car licence for at least 2 years
  • Drivers receive no payment or other consideration for driving other than out-of-pocket expenses
  • The vehicle has a maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes including specialised equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers)
  • Drivers aged 70 or over, don’t have any medical conditions which would disqualify them from eligibility for a D1 licence
  • No trailer is being towed

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Companies profiting from transport or carrying members of the general public must have either a PSV ‘O’ licence or a private hire vehicle (PHV) licence and a full D1 licence and further training are required for drivers of all weights of minibuses (vehicles carrying 9-16 passengers).