Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
You must get the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) initial qualification if you’re new to professional driving and want to drive a lorry, bus or coach.
You’ll get a driver qualification card when you qualify. You must keep this with you when you’re driving professionally.
You can be fined up to £1000 for driving professionally without Driver CPC.
There are some situations when you don’t need Driver CPC.
Existing professional drivers
You’ll have Driver CPC through ‘acquired rights’ if you were already a professional bus or lorry driver before certain dates.
Keeping your Driver CPC
You’ll need to do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep your Driver CPC.
2. The Driver CPC initial qualification
The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) initial qualification has 4 parts:
part 1 - theory test (this includes 2 separate tests - multiple-choice and hazard perception)
part 2 - Driver CPC case studies test (computer-based exercise with 7 studies based on real-life situations - eg driving in icy conditions)
part 3 - driving ability test
part 4 - Driver CPC practical demonstration test (this takes 30 minutes - you will need to show you can keep your vehicle safe and secure, eg loading your vehicle safely)
You must pass all 4 parts to get your Driver CPC.
Booking the tests
You can book parts 1 and 2 online using the theory test booking service.
You can book parts 3 and 4 online using the practical test booking service.
What order you can take the tests in
pass part 1 before you can take part 3
pass part 2 before you can take part 4
You can take part 1 and part 2 in any order, and can take part 3 and part 4 in any order.
Taking part 1
For part 1, you can take the multiple-choice and hazard perception tests in any order, and on different days or on the same day.
You need to book them for different times on the same day if you take both on the same day.
3. Having Driver CPC through ’acquired rights’
You could have the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) through ‘acquired rights’ if you’re already a professional lorry, bus or coach driver.
This means that because you’ve already been working as a lorry or bus driver, your experience is counted as the same as taking the Driver CPC initial qualification.
You’ll still need to do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep your Driver CPC.
Who has ‘acquired rights’
You’ll have ‘acquired rights’ if you’re a:
lorry driver and got your vocational licence (C, C1, C+E and C1+E) before 10 September 2009
bus or coach driver and got your vocational licence (D, D1, D+E and D1+E) before 10 September 2008 - this includes a restricted vocational licence D(101) issued after 1991 and D1(101) issued before 1997 (though you should by now have completed periodic training)
You’ll need to pass all 4 parts of the Driver CPC initial qualification to be able to drive professionally if you don’t have ‘acquired rights’.
When you need to do periodic training
If you’ve got your Driver CPC by ‘acquired rights’ you must do 35 hours of periodic training by:
9 September 2014 if you’re a lorry driver
9 September 2013 if you’re a bus or coach driver
Driving a larger vehicle and adding trailer entitlements
Your ‘acquired rights’ don’t allow you to drive a larger vehicle of the same type or drive with a trailer if this isn’t on your vocational licence.
You’ll have to pass the lorry driving ability test to do this.
You’d have to take the lorry driving ability test with a C+E vehicle combination if your vocational licence was only for a category C vehicle.
Driving a different type of vehicle
Your ‘acquired rights’ only counts for the type of vehicle you’d originally got your vocational licence for.
You’d have to get the Driver CPC initial qualification for the other type of vehicle.
You’d have to get the Driver CPC initial qualification for buses and coaches if you only had ‘acquired rights’ for lorries.
4. When you don’t need Driver CPC
You might not need Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), even if you’re driving a large goods vehicle or passenger carrying vehicle. It depends on:
what the vehicle is being used for
Vehicles you can drive without Driver CPC
You don’t need Driver CPC if the vehicle you drive is:
being road tested after repair, maintenance or technical development
new or rebuilt and not been put into service yet
imited to a top speed of 28mph
Vehicle uses where you don’t need Driver CPC
You don’t need Driver CPC if the vehicle you drive is:
used for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use
used to carry material or equipment you use for your job - but driving the vehicle can’t be the main part of your job
used for driving lessons for anyone who wants to get a driving licence or a Driver CPC
used by, or is under the control of, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order
used in states of emergency or for rescue missions
driven to or from pre-booked appointments at official testing centres
driven within 50 km of your base, is not carrying passengers or goods, and driving a lorry, bus or coach is not your main job
You can read detailed examples of Driver CPC exemptions.
5. The driver qualification card (DQC)
After you’ve passed the initial qualification you’ll get a driver qualification card (DQC).
You must carry your DQC while driving a large goods vehicle or passenger carrying vehicle.
If you have ‘acquired rights’
You won’t get a DQC if you have your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) through ‘acquired rights’ until you’ve done 35 hours of periodic training.
Your driving licence is proof of your Driver CPC until you’ve done this.
You don’t need to keep your licence with you, but if asked by the police, you must show it at a later date as proof of your ‘acquired rights’.
Getting your DQC
You’ll get your DQC when you’ve completed either your initial qualification or your 35 hours of periodic training if you have a Great Britain photocard licence. It will be sent to the address on your driving licence.
If you have a paper licence
You’ll need to swap your paper licence for a photocard licence before you can get your DQC. This is because the DQC needs a photograph and signature, which are taken from the photocard details.
If some of your periodic training was done in another EU member state
You need to write to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to apply for your DQC if you’ve done some of your periodic training in another EU member state.
You must have done at least the last 7 hours of your periodic training in the UK to apply to do this.
You’ll need to include:
your UK driving licence number
your phone number
the address and dates when you lived in that member state
the names and addresses of your employers for that time
the equivalent of your tax reference or national insurance number in the member states you worked in
a £25 fee to add training taken abroad to your DQC
Driving Standards Agency
PO Box 280
Newcastle Upon Tyne
You must include the original documents - photocopies are not allowed.
Non-English training documents must be sent with a translation on headed paper from an educational establishment or embassy.
Apply for a replacement DQC
You must email DSA if your DQC has been lost, stolen or damaged.
DSA Driver CPC enquiries
Tell DSA your:
driving licence number
date of birth
DSA will then call you back. You’ll need a credit or debit card to pay the £25 fee for the replacement.
You can also apply by writing to the DSA at the address above.
You can still drive professionally in the UK while you’re waiting for your replacement DQC to arrive if you’ve paid for the replacement.
If your DQC doesn’t arrive
You should get your DQC within 20 days after completing either your initial qualification or your periodic training. If you don’t receive it, contact DSA.
DSA Driver CPC enquiries
You must pay £25 if:
you didn’t update your licence details and your DQC was sent to the wrong address
you didn’t get your DQC for any other reason
6. Driver CPC periodic training
You must do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to keep your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
You can check how many hours you’ve done in the current 5-year period.
You have to do the training in the country where you work or are normally resident.
How to find training courses
Only approved courses taken with approved training centres count towards periodic training. It’s up to you to decide which to attend.
You only need to complete 1 set of training every 5 years if you drive both lorries and buses professionally.
When to take Driver CPC periodic training
It’s up to you when you take the training courses, as long as you do them within 5 years.
When the 5-year period starts
Each 5-year period starts from 5 years before your current Driver CPC qualification runs out - not from the date you completed your last 35 hours of training.
Deadline for new professional drivers
You must complete periodic training by 5 years from the date you got the initial qualification.
Deadlines for drivers who had or have acquired rights
|Training block||Lorry driver||Bus or coach driver||Dual-category (lorry, bus and coach) driver|
|First block of training||9 September 2014||9 September 2013||9 September 2013|
|Second block of training||9 September 2019||9 September 2018||9 September 2019*|
|Third block of training||9 September 2024||9 September 2023||9 September 2024|
(*As a one-off arrangement, dual-category drivers will have 6
years to do their second block of training, rather than the usual
Dangerous goods training counting towards periodic training
If you take dangerous goods (sometimes known as ADR) training, the following can count towards your periodic training:
up to 21 hours of the initial basic dangerous goods course
7 hours of the core module refresher course
Only dangerous goods training taken within the EU counts towards Driver CPC periodic training.
7. Driver CPC fees
Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) initial qualification fees
These are the prices to book your tests using the official service. Unofficial websites may charge more.
|Fee type||Weekday||Evening, weekend and bank holiday|
|Part 1a - theory test (multiple-choice)||£35||£35|
|Part 1b - theory test (hazard perception)||£15||£15|
|Part 2 - Driver CPC case studies test||£30||£30|
|Part 3 - driving ability test||£115||£141|
|Part 4 - Driver CPC practical test (vehicle safety demonstration)||£55||£63|
Driver qualification card (DQC) fees
|DQC (non-UK driving licences only)||£25|
|Replacement for lost, stolen or damaged DQC||£25|
National Vocational Training (NVT) fees
|NVT concession card||£25|
8. National Vocational Training (NVT) concessions
You can drive professionally for up to 12 months without taking the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) part 2 and part 4 tests.
To do this you must:
be taking an approved National Vocational Training (NVT) programme
have passed the Driver CPC part 1 and part 3 tests
This is called an ‘NVT concession’ - you’re only allowed to use it once.
When the concession period starts
The 12-month concession period starts from whichever of these is latest:
he start date of the NVT programme you’re taking
the date you passed the Driver CPC part 3 test
When the concession period ends
The NVT concession lasts for up to 12 months. It will end sooner if you:
stop taking the NVT programme
complete the NVT programme
You must have passed the Driver CPC part 2 and part 4 tests when the concession period ends. You must stop driving professionally if you haven’t.
Apply for the concession
To apply, download the Driver CPC NVT concession application form and send it to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). You’ll need to include the fee of £25 and proof that your NVT course qualifies.
You must be on an approved learning programme that lasts for at least 6 months and leads to a qualification.
The qualification must be:
based on relevant National Occupational Standards
at Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) level 2 or Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 5
accredited by a national awarding body that is externally regulated by the Office of the Qualifications and Regulations Examiner or the Scottish Qualifications Authority
Qualifications that meet the rules
Qualifications that currently meet these rules are:
level 2 award in knowledge for a professional bus or coach driver
level 2 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Diploma in passenger carrying vehicles (bus and coach)
level 2 Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in passenger carrying vehicle driving (bus and coach)
QCF certificate in driving goods vehicles
BTEC in carry and deliver goods
SVQ driving goods vehicles
DSA can consider qualifications that meet the rules but aren’t on this list.
NVT concession card
You’ll be sent an NVT concession card to show that you’re registered on the NVT scheme.
By law you must carry the card when you’re working.
You must return your NVT concession card to DSA if you leave or complete the approved course.
9. Non UK, EU and third country licence holders
You can get a driver qualification card (DQC) from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) if you live and work in the UK.
You must also have a driving licence from non-UK, EU Member States and third countries such as:
Isle of Man
At least the last 7 hours of your periodic training must have been done in the UK.
To apply, send an email to DSA asking for form DQC1.
DSA customer services firstname.lastname@example.org
From then on, after doing 35 hours of periodic training in the UK, you’ll get your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification for 5 years.
Exchanging your driving licence for a UK licence
You can exchange your Driver CPC qualification if you exchange your non-UK country or EU member state driving licence for a UK licence.
Your Driver CPC qualification will still last until the date it was due to run out when you first got it.
When you exchange your licence, DVLA will tell DSA for you.
If you already have a DQC
You’ll need to send your DQC to DSA if you already have one. You’ll need to include your driving licence number in a short letter.
Driving Standards Agency
PO Box 280
DSA will send you a new DQC with the same number as your UK driving licence.
From then on, after doing 35 hours of periodic training in the UK, you’ll get your Driver CPC qualification for 5 years.
If you don’t have a DQC
DSA will automatically send you a DQC when you complete 35 hours of periodic training.