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FAQ for new applicants applying for a taxi drivers’ licence

What type of licence does Tunbridge Wells Borough Council issue?

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council issues dual driver licences.

What is a dual licence?

A dual licence allows the holder to drive a Hackney Carriage (white vehicle) Taxi or Private Hire vehicle (any colour).

What is my first step before applying for a dual driver licence?

The applicant must undertake an online ‘Computerised Knowledge Test’.

How can I find out more about the Knowledge Test?

Visit Driver Licences page on our website and select ‘Computerised knowledge test’.

Is there any more information on the Knowledge Tests?

Yes, the applicant can find more information at Computerised knowledge test FAQ's.

The test consists of 10 categories with questions on each category:

  • Compulsory
  • Generic Policy and Law
  • Highway Code
  • Numeracy
  • Road Signs
  • Tunbridge Wells Places
  • Tunbridge Wells Routes Rural
  • Tunbridge Wells Routes Urban
  • Tunbridge Wells Streets
  • Tunbridge Wells Dual Policy and Law

The pass mark is 80% for each category in the test.

All applicants are restricted to three attempts to pass.

In accordance with the council’s policy, the applicant can only retake the Knowledge test after a period of 6 months has elapsed.

Yes, the applicant must pay the Knowledge Test fee for every attempt the applicant undertakes. Visit taxi licence fees.

If the applicant emails the licensing team at a member of the team will arrange a date and time for the applicant to view the results in the council offices.

No. They can only be viewed in the council offices with an officer present.

The licensing team endeavour to notify candidates of their results within five working days from the date the test was undertaken.

No. Results will be sent to the email provided at the time of booking.

Once the applicant has passed the Knowledge Test the applicant can start the application process by applying online for the dual driver licence.

All fees can be found on the taxi licence fees page on the website.

Yes, the applicant will need the unique candidate reference number. This is provided within the applicant’s results notification email. The applicant will need to copy this and insert into the relevant section of the application form.

There is no time limit on how long the application will take, this is due to the mandatory steps involved in the process.

The legislation clearly states that a council may grant a licence only if it is satisfied that the applicant is a “fit and proper” person.

  • When applying for a licence to drive a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, applicants are required to declare any motoring offences and any non-motoring convictions or cautions they may have.
  • Taxi drivers are not subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which means that applicants must give details of all convictions, including spent convictions, cautions and warnings as well as pending matters.

For the purpose of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, the acceptance of a fixed penalty notice will be treated as a conviction.

Whilst the council may consider that an applicant with a conviction for an offence, it may not need to be automatically barred from obtaining a licence. Therefore, if the applicant is unsure on how the conviction may have an effect on the application, please contact the licensing team at and an officer will contact the applicant.

Once the applicant has submitted a valid application and paid the required fee, the applicant will be contacted by a member of the Licensing Partnership Administration team. At this stage the applicant will be provided with information on what is required to support and progress the application.

Further information can be found on the council’s website at Driver Licence page.

Applicants must have held a full DVLA or acceptable alternative licence for at least one year.

Driving licences issued by EU/EEA States and Countries detailed in the Driving Licence (Exchangeable Licences) Orders are also permitted to count towards the one year’s period qualification requirement for the grant of a hackney carriage/private hire driver’s licence.

You can find out if you can exchange your non-GB licence for a GB licence, or if you need to do a driving test by going to the government website “Driving in Great Britain on a non-GB licence”

Yes, all applicants will be required to obtain a Group 2 Medical Standards Certificate signed by the applicant’s own general practitioner (GP)

Download a medical form from our website.

If an applicant cannot go to their own doctor, they can use another medical practitioner, however that practitioner must have had access to the applicant’s medical records for the last five years and endorses the certificate accordingly, otherwise the medical form will be rejected.

Yes. Once an applicant has submitted a valid application to the Licensing Partnership Administration Team, they will be contacted by a member of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council licensing team who will arrange an appointment for the applicant to attend the council offices to complete an enhanced DBS application form.

Applicants are required to bring a valid passport (if applicable), a valid driving licence and two documents showing proof of address (A council tax bill, bank statement etc). All documents must be original. A list of acceptable documents can be found on the DBS website.

Once the Licensing Officer signs the completed application form, this will be sent to the DBS for processing.

The DBS application fee is included in the driver licence application fee. See our fees page on the website.

All applicants are checked under the DBS category “Child and Adult Workforce”. The category types are explained on the DBS website.

The council has no control over how long an application will take, as the check is being conducted by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Applicants can check on the progress of their DBS application by going to the DBS website at Track or view your DBS certificate and using the application reference number to conduct the check.

The DBS reference number is found in the top right-hand side of the DBS application form and begins with “F”. Applicants should make a note of this when they attend the DBS appointment.

Applicants can either sign up to the DBS update service when they complete their application form at the council office, using the application form reference number (“F” number), or sign up once they received the DBS certificate. It is a policy requirement that applicants must sign up to the DBS update service.

The Disclosure and Barring Service will post the certificate to the applicant’s home address.

There are a number of steps the applicant must take:

  • If the applicant has not already done so at the application stage, it is a policy requirement that the applicant must sign up to the DBS update service, which enables the council to undertake 6 monthly and ad hoc DBS checks without having to submit application forms.
  • Applicants have 28 days from the date shown on the DBS certificate to sign up to the DBS update service.
  • To sign up to the update service please go to DBS UPDATE SERVICE
  • Notify the licensing team that the applicant has received the DBS certificate by emailing
  • Provide the original DBS certificate to the Senior Licensing Officer for inspection. It will be returned to the applicant.

The DBS charge £13 per year for the service and applicants must remember that when they complete the Update Service sign up page, they tick the box to indicate that they authorise continuous yearly payments of £13. This ensures the applicant is always signed up to the Update Service and will no longer be required to compete a DBS application form when they renew the driver licence.

Further information can be found in section 6 of the Taxi Policy.

If applicants fail to tick the box authorising continuous payments, the council will only be able to conduct checks during the year the applicant signed up for. Once the year has expired the applicant will be required submit a new DBS application form.

You can renew your subscription through the DBS Update Service, up to 30 days before your current subscription ends - but you cannot renew on the last day of your subscription. You will need to sign into your account using your unique reference number provided to you when you initially signed up to the update service (The “C” number) to renew your subscription. If you do not renew your subscription before it ends, you’ll need to apply for a new DBS check and register for the Update Service again.

The applicant will be required to complete a new DBS application form, at a further cost to the applicant, and this will delay the driver licence application.

Yes. The Licensing team undertake checks with Kent Police to establish if there are any safeguarding concerns, which may not necessarily be shown on a DBS certificate.

The applicant will be invited to a meeting with the Senior Licensing Officer to explain why the applicant has not declared the additional information. Where the Licensing Officer is not satisfied that the applicant should be granted a licence, the matter must be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee. The applicant will be advised of the date, time, and venue of the meeting at which the application will be considered.

In the event of the failure to complete the application process, there shall be no refund of the licence fee. In the event an application is referred to the Sub-Committee for decision and the licence not granted, there shall be no refund of the fee.

Please refer to the Taxi Policy on our website.

Yes, the applicant will need to undertake and pass an online Equality (EQUO) Safeguarding/Disability Awareness/County Lines test.

To ensure we are compliant with the statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards, we have introduced an additional mandatory test to evaluate a driver’s understanding of:

  • Child sexual awareness and safeguarding
  • Disability awareness
  • Gangs and County lines

A safeguarding and disability awareness test is a requirement of the legislation and how we implement it, is at the discretion of the council.

How many tests are there?

The test consists of three modules:

  • Child sexual awareness,
  • Disability awareness and
  • County Lines.

The online test is taken at the council offices, using a third-party software product.

Information on how to book an EQUO test can be found at Driver Training Module – EQUO on our website.

Once payment has been received, the Licensing administration officer at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will email the applicant with a date to take the test. At this stage the applicant will be sent revision materials.

No. Tests are conducted on pre-booked dates and if applicants cannot attend on the day that has been allocated, please notify by email the licensing team at and a new date will be sent to the applicant.

The pass mark for each module is 75%

If for any reason you are unable to attend on your scheduled test date you must notify the council a minimum of 3 working days before the date of the test. A new test date will be scheduled for you however due to room availability; the new date may be several months away.

  • If the applicant fails a module the applicant will need to re-take that module until it is passed.
  • Over a period, it can be seen by test results that although some applicants fail, on a number of occasions their scores invariably improve in various categories which illustrates that knowledge can be gained.

No. The applicant only pays once.

In accordance with our normal arrangements all applicants for a driver’s licence will be required to attempt the test on several occasions and then, if necessary, adjustments may be considered.

In accordance with our normal arrangements all applicants and or existing licensed drivers are required to attempt the test. Where individuals are struggling, if necessary, adjustments may be considered after a number of attempts have been made.

  • The EQUO test is part of the application process, and new applicants will not be issued with a dual driver licence until all modules have been passed.
  • If the applicant is an existing driver, and fails the test, it doesn’t affect the dual driver licence. The applicant will however be required to re-sit the test until all modules have been passed.

If any applicant has any concerns about taking the test, they should contact the Licensing team

The licensing team aims to inform applicants of their results within five working days from when the test was undertaken.

No. We aim to email results within five working days.

No. The applicant must first pass the knowledge test and have applied for a dual driver’s licence before the applicant can apply to take the EQUO test.

This is a Driving Standard Assessment (DSA) practical taxi test and wheelchair test for all new hackney carriage/private hire drivers, delivered by an external company.

  • All applicants must pass a driver assessment which demonstrates the ability to drive a vehicle.
  • The Driving Standards Assessment test is to include a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle enhanced taxi test wheelchair exercise.

No. The council has four approved providers for the DSA test and any certification presented by applicants from any non-approved provider will not be accepted.

The applicant will need to contact the provider they choose to confirm whether they provide a wheelchair accessible vehicle or if the applicant must provide their own vehicle.

Once the applicant has completed the application process the Licensing team at Tunbridge Wells will notify the Licensing Partnership administration team and they will aim to issue the applicant’s badge and associated documents within 10 working days.

The Licensing Partnership administration team can be contacted at: