Update your drivers licence to cover higher categories of vehicles

Adding higher categories to your driving licence

If you hold a standard car UK driving licence, you should be eligible as a Category B, Category B Auto and Category BE driver. Meaning you should be able to drive cars, including automatics, with a certain tow limit. Click herefor more details on licence categories, or visit the DVLA Licence Check to find which vehicles you’re eligible to drive.

Staging – adding higher category entitlements to your licence

You may wish to update your licence to cover higher categories of vehicle. If this is the case, you must hold the entitlement on your existing licence so you’re then able to apply for provisional entitlement for a higher category of vehicle. This is called ‘staging’. 

For example, you must have a full car licence before you can apply for provisional entitlement to drive a lorry, minibus or bus.

The provisional entitlement will then mean you can take the test for the new category. The government website has more information on staging.

Once you’ve got the provisional entitlement you can take the test for the new category.

The table shows the full licence you need before you can apply for provisional entitlement in the higher categories.

Provisional entitlement required Full licence needed
B+E*, G*, H*, C1, C, D1, D B
C1+E C1
C+E C
D1+E D1
D+E D

* You automatically get provisional entitlement to these categories with a full B (car) licence.

The entitlements you have are shown on your licence. If your licence was issued before 1 January 1997 it may already include some higher categories.

Upgrading – getting lower categories added automatically when you pass a driving test

If you pass the driving test for a larger vehicle category, sometimes you’ll have lower categories upgraded automatically.

Example
If you have a licence with entitlements for vehicle categories B and C1 and then pass the C1+E test, you’ll not only get entitlement to drive C1+E vehicles, but will also be automatically upgraded to drive B+E category vehicles.

The rules are different for trailer entitlements. If you get the trailer entitlement for a larger vehicle you won’t get the trailer entitlement for the smaller vehicles you’d normally get through upgrading.

As a guideline:

  • lorry entitlements can upgrade bus entitlements
  • bus entitlements can’t upgrade lorry entitlements
  • both lorry and bus entitlements can upgrade car entitlements

The table shows the original vehicle categories held, the higher vehicle category that’s been passed and the vehicle categories that will be upgraded automatically.

Full category held New test passed Upgrading
B, C1 C1+E B+E
B, D1 D1+E B+E
B, C1, D1 C1+E B+E
B, C1, D1 D1+E B+E
B, C, C1, D1 C+E B+E, C1+E
B, C1, C, D1, D D+E B+E, D1+E
B, C1, C, D1, D C+E B+E, C1+E, D1+E, D+E

Further information

For further information about staging or upgrading write to the DVLA Drivers Customer Services.

Drivers Customer Services
Correspondence Team
D12
DVLA
Swansea
SA6 7JL


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