It can be confusing knowing whether you are qualified for certain vehicles. This is particularly newer or larger ones like vans or trucks. Here is a quick run through on licence requirements for driving a van.
Once you have passed your test, which you can do from the age of 17 in the UK, you are qualified to drive a van up to a certain weight. This is because you are now in possession that includes Category B Vehicles.
The heaviest van you can drive with a standard UK driving licence is 3.5 tonnes, and the van can have up to 8 passenger seats. This will include most regular, light-weight vans.
For electric vans, the weight limit is a bit higher. After 2017 the government took into account the extra battery requirements and their respective weights. The new weight limit for an electric van with a regular licence is 4250 kg.
How to Read a Licence
If you look at the back of your licence you will notice 4 columns. The left one includes a list of the different car categories you are allowed to drive.
The central column is there to shows the start and expiration dates for the categories on the left column.
The right-hand-side column is personalized with specific conditions to do with your licence. This includes whether you need glasses or if there are any disabilities.
When do you need an additional Licence?
As mentioned you can drive lighter from the age of 17 (up to 3.5 tonnes). However, at age 18 your are qualified to apply for a Category C Licence. This allows you to drive a van heavier than 3,500 kg – up to 7,500 kg – along with a trailer up to 750 kg.
Licences have been updated over the years, particularly in 2013 to meet EU standards. If you have a licence issued before 1990 check with UK GOV website to note any differences.
It is also advised that before you start using a larger vehicle you get some practice. A great way is with a friend or relative in a car park, so you can get used to the size.
We hope this information has been useful, SIXT provides an extensive van hire fleet. It includes the newest models from the best manufacturers making the drive smoother and safer.