Travel Safety Tips: UK Driving Licence Categories

What are the categories and codes on my driving licence? What you can (and can’t) drive on a standard UK driving licence

Safe and legal driving goes far beyond the highway code. Ever wondered about the different categories on the back of your UK driving licence? What do they mean? Why do we have them? Do they indicate any driving restrictions? For something so familiar that many of us carry around day-to-day, it’s surprising to realise that we don’t really know much about them. This is why we’ve compiled a list of all those confusing driving licence categories and codes, so you can see what you can and can’t drive once you’ve passed your driving test, as well as which ones you’ll need to take an additional test for.


Why is it important to check my driving licence?

Around 75% of adults in the UK hold a driving licence. That’s a lot of people on the road! With commuting, road trips and long distance journeys becoming more frequent, it’s crucial to keep track of the validity, condition and personal information on your licence.

If you’re going on a big drive or crossing borders for a holiday, it’s even more important – because it’s likely that your licence will be checked.

Want to discover more about driving licence codes and categories? We’ve got you covered.

What do the driving licence categories mean?

Find out about the different types of driving licence categories, and see what you’re currently entitled to drive with your standard UK driving licence.

What do the categories on your driving licence mean?

CatergoryTypeAdditional driving testRestrictions
AMotorbikesYesN/A
AM2 or 3 wheeled motorsYesMax speed 15.5-28mph
BCarsNoMax 8 passenger seats
B autoAutomatic carsNoN/A
B+ECat B + trailerNoUp to 3,500kg
B1Light vehiclesNoUp to 550kg with goods
CLarge lorriesYesMax trailer 750kg
C+ECat C + trailerYesN/A
C1LorriesYesUp to 7,500kg + 750kg trailer
C1+ECat C1 + trailerYesMax combined weight 12,000kg
DBusYesTrailer up to 750kg
D+ECat D + trailerYesN/A
D1MinibusYesLength max 8m, trailer max 750kg
D1+ECat D1 + trailerYesN/A
FTractorNoN/A
GRoad rollerYesN/A
HTracked vehiclesYesN/A
KPedestrian vehiclesNoSelf-propelled
Q2 wheeled motorsNoMax speed 15.5mph

Standard UK driving licence categories

Category AM

This classification means you can drive two- or three-wheeled motors with a maximum design speed between 15.5mph and 28mph. But, you’ll need to pass a compulsory basic training test (CBT) as well.

This classification also includes quad bikes that have a maximum design speed of between 15.5mph and 28mph, weighing no more than 350kg (doesn’t include batteries on electric vehicles).

Category B

To drive any car, Category B is the classification you’ll need; you can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass, with up to eight passenger seats.

If you’re over 21, Category B also means you can drive motor tricycles that have a power output higher than 15kW; you also get provisional entitlement to ride category motor tricycles that meet Cat A1 or A requirements (and if you’re physically disabled).

Category F

If your licence has category F on it – all standard ones do – you can drive an agricultural tractor. That’s right, you can hop behind the wheel of a tractor with no restrictions!

Category K

TThis driving licence category means you can get behind the wheel of a pedestrian-controlled vehicle; in other words, any self-propelled device you walk behind to control. For example, a mowing machine.

Category Q

With category Q, you can drive a two-wheeled vehicle with an engine size of no more than 50cc,and have a maximum design speed of no more than 15.5mph.

Driving licence categories you might have

Category B1

If you spot the driving licence category B1, you can drive motor vehicles with four wheels up to 400kg unladen or 550kg if they are designed for carrying goods – this is more common on older driving licences.

Category B+E

If you passed your test before January 1, 1997, you’ll be able to drive a vehicle with a trailer over the usual combined limit of 3,500kg- up to 8,250kg. If you passed your test after this date, you’ll have to take an additional test to tow weights over 3,500kg.

Category B auto

Used instead of a Category B licence, this means you are limited to driving automatic cars only and are not allowed to drive a manual car.

Category P

This is an old category that still lingers on some people’s licences. It refers to two-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of no more than 31mph and an engine size lower than 50cc. On recent licences, this category is merged with Category AM.

Driving licence categories you need to complete an additional test for

Category A

With a catgory A, you can drive motorbikes with a power output more than 35kW or a power to weight ratio more than 0.2kW/kg.

Category A1
With a category A1, you can drive light motorbikes with an engine size up to 125cc, a power output of up to 11kW and a power to weight ratio not more than 0.1kW/kg. This category also includes motor tricycles with power output up to 15kW.

Category AM

This driving licence category means you can drive two or three wheeled motors with a maximum design speed between 15.5mph and 28mph. But, you’ll need to pass a compulsory basic training test (CBT) as well.

This classification also includes quad bikes that have a maximum design speed of between 15.5mph and 28mph, weighing no more than 350kg (doesn’t include batteries on electric vehicles).

Category C1

After passing the appropriate test, you’ll be entitled to drive vehicles weighing between 3,500kg and 7,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category C1+E

This driving licence category gives you trailer entitlement to Category C1, meaning you can tow a trailer weighing over 750kg. The catch? The combined weight of both the vehicle and the trailer cannot exceed 12,00kg and the trailer cannot weigh more than the towing vehicle either.

Category C

To get this driving licence category, you’ll need to complete atest to drive vehicles weighing more than 3,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category C+E

Category C+E gives you trailer entitlement to Category C, meaning you can tow a trailer weighing over 750kg.

Category D1

With the D1 driving licence category, you can drive a minibus with no more than 16 passenger seats and a maximum length of 8 metres, once you’ve passed the relevant test. You’ll also be able to tow a trailer up to a maximum weight of 750kg.

Category D1+E

With this classification you can drive D1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg – provided the combined weight of the trailer and vehicle do not exceed 12,000kg.

Category D

The Category D code means you can drive any bus with more than 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category D+E

WCategory D+E lets you tow a trailer over 750kg on a Category D vehicle.

Category G

If you fancy it, the G driving licence category gives you entitlement to drive a road roller.

Category H

With Category H, you can drive tracked vehicles- and yes, this includes tanks.

Other

You don’t need a driving licence for electric bikes, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.

ALL ABOUT DRIVING LICENCE CODES

Along with categories covering what vehicles you can drive, your driving licence codes add a wealth of other information about you – the holder. Here’s what you need to know.

Why are driving licence codes different to categories?

Driving licence categories dictate the types of vehicles that an individual can drive, whereas driving licence codes tell you what conditions actually apply.

How do I check my driving licence codes?

You can find the driving licence codes that relate to your licence by looking under section 12 on the reverse of your driving licence. Ignoring codes can result in big fines, so it’s essential to take note of any restrictions on your licence and comply.

Here are some of the common driving licence codes you could find listed under section 12.

Code: 01

This means you need eyesight correction when driving andyou’ll need to wear glasses or contact lenses when driving – by law. Failure to do so could result in a fine and penalty points. You’lll also need to report any changes to your vision or any corrective surgery.

Code: 02

The 02 driving licence code means that a hearing or communication aid must be worn when behind the wheel. As with eyesight, you must tell the DVLA about any changes to your hearing.

Code: 106

The 02 driving licence code means that a hearing or communication aid must be worn when behind the wheel. As with eyesight, you must tell the DVLA about any changes to your hearing.

Code: 115

Not a restriction per-se, but this driving licence code lets authorities know that the holder of the licence is an organ donor.

Click here for a full list of driving licence codes and what they mean.

Safe driving tips

For any journey, safe and legal driving should be the priority. Having a handle on what your driving licence means is a good way to ensure that you’re clued up on the road.

If you’re driving abroad make sure that you know the rules for the country you’re in, such as sign posting, speed limits, directions and general driving laws.

The most valuable safe driving tip is to plan ahead for every journey. Driving conditions change with seasons, and roadworks or road closures are almost guaranteed to delay you at some point. So, schedule in some rest breaks, take your time and don’t get distracted while driving. Got a plane to catch? Get there on time by booking parking in advance.

Your driving licence is your ticket to freedom – so, know it well, use it right and enjoy the drive!

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31 comments for “Travel Safety Tips: UK Driving Licence Categories

  1. Tim
    07/10/2019 at 9:32 pm

    Hi,
    I have a full driving licence with a category ‘A’ motorcycle entitlement with code 78, which means I can ride any sized motorcycle so long as it’s automatic. My confusion is whether I can ride the new Honda type Dual Clutch Technology (DCT) bikes which have automatic twist and go function and also an option for electronic push paddle gear change. Can I ride these type of bikes with my licence?

    Thanks

    • Alistair Gilbert
      08/10/2019 at 11:31 am

      Yes you can. It’s the same with automatic cars. EG the smart has a 6 speed gearbox but no clutch as it changes automatically.
      This is the key anything with a clutch is manual change therefore no clutch is automatic regardless of how that automatic functions.
      Bike examples would be the Honda DCT or the Aprilia Mana and the older Hondamatics usually CB400A.
      Any automatic scooter is also eligible as some of the larger ones have the option of gearchanging on the bars via buttons.
      The powers that be decided it was dangerous to switch from an automatic to a manual as it needed different skills to change gear and may go out of control.

      • Tim
        08/10/2019 at 9:19 pm

        Hi Alistair
        Thank you – that’s extremely helpful. I recall that the Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter has a pseudo electronic push button gear change, so another to add to the list.
        Regards
        Tim

        • Alistair Gilbert
          09/10/2019 at 2:25 pm

          Slightly off topic but there is also the obscure CF Moto 250 v3 or v5 which used the honda CN250 helix engine and don’t forget the Piaggio MP3 LT versions if you have a car or bike licence. Not many automatic bikes but plenty of scooters.

  2. jon
    20/08/2019 at 9:02 pm

    how can I get a b1 licence?

    • Ben
      05/10/2019 at 4:57 pm

      You can’t. Since 19 January 2013 due to harmonisation regulations across the EU and EEA which includes Norway and Switzerland, the B1 category licence being UK regulation only was removed as a test you could take. Under the new regulations, in order to drive a B1 vehicle you need either an A, B, B1 on your licence, as European law considers all quadricycles as motorcycles (L class) under 168/2013 EU. The EU allows Uk to keep existing regulations as long as it is not in conflict with EU regulations.

  3. Woody
    08/08/2019 at 7:58 pm

    What class do I need for a campervan.

    • Alistair Gilbert
      08/10/2019 at 11:24 am

      Just an ordinary car licence. This covers anything up to 3.5 tonnes BUT that also includes anything you may tow.
      It has to be the TOTAL weight of your vehicle and trailer.
      If you passed your car test years ago then you may have the 7.5 tonne entitlement if you wanted to drive a heavier vehicle.(grandfather rights)
      At aged 70 if you want to continue driving anything over 3.5 tonne you need to take an LGV medical and pay for it every three years along with your licence renewal which is also every 3 years.

  4. Pitham
    26/09/2018 at 8:06 am

    Ok not to sure
    I have A so it says if i pass my motorcycle test i can ride motorcycles

    What size motorcycles can i ride and what size do i have to take my test on im 55 so its grandfather rights i guess

    • Peter Mills
      04/10/2018 at 2:36 pm

      Hi there, I have A category on my licence for motor bikes but it has the code 79(3) after it. What does this mean?
      Thanks,

      PM.

      • Ian
        09/10/2018 at 6:16 pm

        79 (3) is Restricted to tricycles

    • Alistair Gilbert
      08/10/2019 at 11:38 am

      You have full motorcycle entitlement so can ride any size bike.
      I would however advise you to take a CBT anyway and get some practice on a smaller capacity bike or scooter before you get anything larger if you haven’t been on a bike for some years.

  5. Danny
    06/09/2018 at 7:33 am

    I passed my Motorcycle test in 1990 and have a B1 code on my license and I have been told that as I passed my full bike test before February 2001 that I will not have to take the theory test to obtain a full car license. Could someone clarify this for me.

    • Terry Hollingsworth
      18/10/2018 at 7:30 pm

      You have to take the theory test for each test you want to take.

  6. geo c
    11/03/2018 at 7:35 am

    i got a full UK licence in 83 and have cats B BE C1 C1E 107 D1 101 D1E 101.119 fklnp. can i drive a large modified bus/coach (not for carrying passengers) to live in, example the old london routemaster kitted out as a home. cant seem to find anything related to this. thanks

    • Max
      26/09/2018 at 1:21 pm

      Yes I’m sure you can. I recall an article in the Used Car Buyer magazine where they featured buying a Routemaster as an alternative when Ken was offloading them from London Transport service. As I recall, the magazine did state that you can drive such a bus using a normal licence as long as it is not used for public service, so for you to rip out the seats, kit it out to live in and use as a holiday home, I would see absolutely no problem with that on an ’83 licence.

    • Ian
      09/10/2018 at 6:20 pm

      Yes you can, but I have heard that it has to be 30 years old or older.

  7. Shah Din
    06/03/2018 at 12:41 pm

    hi..i have Driving Licence 19 years- B and CE, From Dubai United Arab Emirates ..
    now i am Residents of the UK Can i have Same Categories Licence of the UK without Test.
    thanks.

  8. Adam
    12/02/2018 at 12:02 pm

    What do I have to do to get a category D1

    • Mark Rhodes
      14/05/2018 at 10:59 am

      D1 is the Minibus test. So get your DVLA Medical sorted, complete the Hazard Perception and Theory tests for D1 and then find a training provider thats offeres Mini bus Training.

      • Max
        26/09/2018 at 1:24 pm

        or go back in time and take your test then. Older licences automatically had the D1 category included, alas!

  9. d eddleston
    05/02/2018 at 4:54 pm

    i past my test in 1956 can i drive a 7.5 ton wagon do i need a cpc and a medical my age now is 78 thanks

    • A.Gilbert
      23/10/2018 at 3:14 pm

      If driving for hire and reward( in other words as a job carrying goods) you will need both.
      If wanting to occasionally hire a van for personal use eg moving house or a large camper motorhome up to 7.5 tonnes you don’t need the cpc but you will need a medical as you are over 70.
      Basically after 70 you revert back to 3.5 tonnes unless you take a medical.
      I gave up the class 1 and 7.5 tonne entitlement.

  10. Lynne stowe
    10/01/2018 at 1:55 pm

    Can I tow a caravan with my licence as it is with code B1 and B please

  11. B.J. Madden
    18/11/2017 at 5:29 pm

    I passed my motorcycle driving test around June/July 1960. (any size engine)On my new type photo licence it says I am entitled to drive/ride groups:—- AM—A—B1–B—BE—& f.k.i.n.p.q. My question is
    can I ride a large motorcycle 1200cc ? It looks as though I cannot.But I passed my test many years ago !

    • Phil
      28/03/2018 at 1:01 am

      You can ride any size you like you have -A- entitlement which is unrestricted use of bikes of any capacity.

    • Dean
      09/06/2018 at 3:20 pm

      I passed my in the 80s I can ride anything

  12. John H
    18/10/2017 at 11:44 pm

    I passed my bus test in a single decker in1983 in a semi-automatic working for the local council, on my licence relating to bus….. D1,, D,, D1E and DE are on….
    Could I now drive a manual bus without taking another test…. I have been told that I can
    Thanks

  13. James Albon
    17/07/2017 at 7:18 am

    Hi. I’ve got category AM and category A with a date on it. Can I ride a motorbike without taking any more tests. Thanks

    • james loughery
      14/10/2017 at 12:13 pm

      As far as i can see you will still need to do a CBT basic bike test and if the bike goes over 28mph a full bike test must also be passed.. I myself do not have the full bike test passed and have similar as to which your question states .. Hope this helps ..

    • Phil
      28/03/2018 at 1:03 am

      If your -A- entitlement is in date you can ride whatever bike you wish.

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