Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence

Apply for, renew, or transfer a Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence.

Only a hackney carriage can be pre-booked and ply for hire on the streets or on Council-nominated ranks.

It is illegal for any other vehicle to ply for hire. This includes private hire vehicles, which are often referred to as taxis or cabs. 

A hackney carriage can be clearly identified by the following:

A licence plate located at the rear of the vehicle stating:

  • Licence number of the vehicle
  • The registration number of the vehicle
  • The make, model and colour of the vehicle
  • The licence expiry date
  • The maximum number of passengers to be carried at any one time
  • A roof sign, which should be illuminated when the vehicle is available for hire 
  • Window stickers on the rear passenger seat windows.

A licence badge should be displayed at the front of the vehicle (will be located inside the vehicle) and should list

  • the registration number,
  • the licence number, and
  • the expiry date of the licence.


Vehicles must comply with all relevant licensing and pre-licensing conditions.

Applicants are strongly advised to contact the Licensing Team by emailing licensing@swdevon.gov.uk to discuss the suitability of your vehicle before making your application.

To submit an application the following documents are required:

  • Completed application form
  • Fee
  • Valid vehicle insurance certificate including cover for hire and reward/public hire
  • Proof of public liability insurance cover (original certificate or cover note)
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5)
  • MOT Certificate (issued within the last 30 days) and interim MOT if renewal application
  • A vehicle test certificate in accordance with the FTA testing standards (issued within the last 30 days) and interim FTA inspection certificate if renewal application
  • Confirmation of the Vehicle Euro -NCAP Rating. This can be found here.

Once the applicant has all of these documents they will need to complete an application and pay the appropriate fee. If the vehicle is more than 10 years old, they must also make an appointment to attend a vehicle inspection at the Council.

You can download an application form below:

For fees please see the Licensing Fees pages.

Information on licensing wheelchair accessible vehicles is available here.

Documents and Guidance

For more information regarding vehicle licensing requirements, please download the policy and documents below: