Personal licence

What is a personal licence?

A personal licence permits a specified person to supply alcohol or allow the supply of alcohol at a premises that has a valid premises licence. Personal licences are valid for ten years, and may be used anywhere in England and Wales. You may only hold one personal licence.f

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Do I need a personal licence?

You will need a personal licence:

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How do I qualify for a personal licence?

You must:

  • be aged 18 or over;
  • have an accredited licensing qualification (the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) website has a list of Accredited Personal Licence Qualification Providers);
  • have not forfeited a personal licence within the preceding five years;
  • have no unspent conviction(s) for a `relevant´ or `foreign´ offence committed in this country or abroad (see Licensing Act 2003 for details);
  • have a Criminal Record Bureau (CRB), conviction certificate, or Police National Computer (PNC) check.

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How do I apply for a personal licence?

Submit your application form and Disclosure of convictions and declaration form to the licensing authority (council) where you live, not necessarily the authority where you will be working. You will also need to include:

Two photographs, which need to be:

  • taken against a light background so that your features are distinguishable and contrast against the background;
  • passport photograph size (45 millimetres by 35 millimetres);
  • full face uncovered and without sunglasses and, without a head uncovering (unless worn due to religious beliefs);
  • on photographic paper;
  • one of which is endorsed with a statement verifying the likeness of yourself to the photograph by a solicitor, notary, a person of standing in the community or any individual with a professional qualification.


  • a criminal conviction certificate issued under section 112 of the Police Act 1997(a);
  • a criminal record certificate issued under section 113A of the Police Act 1997;
  • the results of a subject access search under the Data Protection Act 1998(b) of the Police National Computer by the National Identification Service;
  • in any case such certificate or search results shall be issued no earlier than one calendar month before giving of the application to the relevant licensing authority.

The fee (cash can only be accepted if applying in person -- do not send cash through the post).

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How long will I have to wait for my licence?

The licensing authority must determine the application within three months.

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Who can object to the grant of my licence?

Once the council is in receipt of your correctly made application, the police have 14 days in which to object on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder (e.g. unspent convictions).

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What happens if the police object to my application?

If there is an objection, a hearing of the licensing committee (which consists of ten elected local authority members) must then be held within 20 days unless all parties agree that a formal hearing is unnecessary.

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What can I do if my licence is refused?

You can appeal to the Magistrates´ Court against the council´s decision to refuse a licence, within 21 days of being notified of the council´s decision and the grounds for it.

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What obligations do I have when my licence is granted?

Once you are a licence holder your must:

  • notify the council of any convictions received after it is granted;
  • surrender your licence to the council within 14 days, when required;
  • inform the council if you wish to surrender your licence;
  • surrender your old licence on renewal;
  • renew your licence at least three months before it expires;
  • not use your licence if it is suspended by the council or by a court;
  • inform the council and apply for a copy if your licence is lost, stolen or destroyed;
  • notify the council of any change of name or address and surrender the licence for updating;
  • notify the court immediately and produce your licence to that court if charged with a relevant offence;
  • produce your licence on request to any police constable or person authorised by the council, when you are on licensed premises.

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What do I do if my licence is stolen or lost?

You must inform your issuing licensing authority in writing as soon as possible. You must also include the fee for the reissue of your licence.

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What do I do if I change my name or address?

You must inform your issuing licensing authority in writing as soon as possible if you change your address or name. Include the existing licence (both the card and the paper licence) and the fee.

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How do I renew my personal licence?

The Government is aiming to remove the requirement for personal licence holders to renew their licence every 10 years through the Deregulation Bill, which is currently before Parliament. The first personal licences were granted in February 2005. However, the Bill is unlikely to receive Royal Assent before the tenth anniversary of the date on which the first personal licences were granted. To ensure that personal licence holders are not disadvantaged by this position, the Government will introduce new arrangements through secondary legislation for those whose licences are due for renewal before the proposal in the Bill comes into force.

If you fall under this category your application for renewal will need to be submitted no earlier than three months before it is due to expire, and no later than one month before it is due to expire.

You will not have to enclose an application fee, photographs, a criminal convictions certificate, criminal record certificate or the results of a subject access search of the Police National Computer. You will have to provide your original licence with your application or state why it is not practicable for you to do so.

The simplified process requires us to then acknowledge receipt of the application and we will then return your original licence to you.

We will alter the application form to renew a licence so that licence holders are required to provide only essential information to the licensing authority. The application form will be available in due course, as soon as the legislation is approved by Parliament.

For further information, please see the Government guidance on the New arrangements for personal licences due for renewal in 2015.