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Can I drive a van? What licence do you need?

February 09, 2022 by

If you’re moving house, helping a family member or out or simply just have some stuff to take to the tip, you’re probably considering hiring or borrowing a van.

The good news is that you don’t need a special licence to drive most vans, your regular driving licence is enough.

This isn’t always the case, though – some vans require you to have a different licence. How can you check you have the right type to drive a van? This guide explains…

Can I drive a van on my licence?

You can drive a van in the UK if you hold a full driving licence, as long as the van weighs no more than 3,500kg.

If you’re unsure your van exceeds that limit, it’s best to have it taken to a local weighbridge.

This will cost you, and it’s best to ensure someone with the correct licence for vehicles weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg drives for you.

Any van you’re driving will need a valid MOT and insurance, too – just like a normal car.

It’s worth noting vans have lower speed limits than cars on single- and dual-carriageways too.

Van Car-type van Van with trailer
Built-up area 30mph 30mph 30mph
Single carriageway 50mph 60mph 50mph
Dual carriageway 60mph 70mph 60mph
Motorway 70mph 70mph 60mph

What size vans can I drive?

With a regular driving license, you can drive any van that weighs no more than 3,500kg.

Examples of this include:

  • Ford Transit
  • Mercedes Sprinter
  • Renault Master

Can I apply for a van driving licence?

No specific van licence exists. If you want to drive a vehicle weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, you’ll need to have passed your test before 1st January 1997 to do it on a standard driving licence.

Otherwise, you’ll need to apply for provisional entitlement to drive C1 category vehicles and pass a C1 driving test (a specific driving test for heavier commercial vehicles.)

I’m still not sure if I’m able to drive a van — what can I do?

You can check the Government website to see which category of vehicles you can drive.

This is a free service. You’ll just need your licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode your licence is registered to.

FAQs: Driving a van

Can I drive a minibus?

If you have a full driver’s licence, you may be able to drive a minibus of up to 16 passengers as long as you don’t receive payment.

Conditions include:

  • Being 21 or older
  • Having held your driving licence for at last two years
  • You’re not towing a trailer

You can find a full list of conditions on the Government’s website.

From what age can I drive a van?

As long as you hold a full driving licence, you can legally drive a van from the age of 17.

Can I drive a van on a provisional licence?

You can drive a van weighing up to 3.5 tonnes on a provisional licence. However, you’ll need to be accompanied by a full licence holder aged 21 or over that’s had their licence for at least three years.

Will I need to get car or van insurance?

You’ll need to take out separate van insurance. It works in the same way as passenger-car insurance but is tailored to vans.