Operator licensing

Any firm which uses private hire vehicles, and takes bookings for journeys, must be licensed as a private hire operator. Firms which only use hackney carriage vehicles do not need an operators licence.

Licences are issued for five years.

Operators licensed by Watford Borough Council can only use vehicles and drivers licensed by the council.

A licence can be held by a company or an individual.

Applicants must provide

  • a completed application form
  • the fee
  • proof of public liability insurance for at least £5million (only if providing a waiting room)
  • a basic criminal record disclosure for each person, partner, or company director;
  • the firm’s complaints procedure
  • the firm’s disability policy
  • artwork for the company’s door signs
  • proof of right to work

The council has a duty to ensure that only those persons who are entitled to work in the UK are issued a licence to act as an operator. For this reason all applicants must provide evidence to show that they are entitled to work in the UK, and that there are no restrictions on the work that you can do. You must produce your original proof of your right to work in person to a licensing officer. You will need to contact the licensing team to fix up an appointment to do this.

The Home Office have published guidance on conducting immigration checks for taxi licensing, which also includes details of what documents can be accepted to prove your immigration status,

If you are on a time limited visa, any licence which may be issued will expire when your visa expires. If, at any time, your entitlement to work in the UK is removed, your licence will be revoked.

Your application will not be valid unless all of these documents are submitted.

You can apply for a basic criminal records disclosure online through www.gov.uk. Each disclosure must be no more than one month old when the application is submitted. Any disclosure more than one month old can't be accepted, and a new disclosure will need to be obtained.

We will arrange to visit and inspect your premises, even if you do not have any public waiting rooms.

All licences will be granted with our standard conditions. We will also consider your application in line with our guidelines for the grant, suspension and revocation of hackney carriage driver, private hire driver and operator licences.

You may also need planning permission to use any premises (either your home address or an office) as a booking office.


After receiving your application, there will be a 28 day consultation period. We will inform you of the decision within 5 working days of the end of this period.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply. We must grant your application before you can start operating.


The licence fee is £771.

If the licence is lost or damaged, a replacement licence costs £17.75.

Please note that we can only accept payment by credit card or debit card.

How to appeal

You have a right to appeal to the magistrates' court if your application is refused. Appeals must be submitted to the court in writing within 21 days of being notified of the decision.

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