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Taxi and private hire licence

Apply for Scottish Government Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund Grant.

Please note that at the moment, council offices are closed and officers are working from home due to coronavirus. There may be a delay in processing your application if you send it in paper format and so we would encourage you to apply online wherever possible as this will reach the team much quicker. Find out more about changes to licensing services.

A licence, known as a taxi licence is required for the operation of a vehicle as a taxi and a licence known as a private hire car licence is required for the operation of a private hire car. The Aberdeenshire Council is the statutory licensing authority in Aberdeenshire for the purposes of the licensing provisions of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

There are some things you need to know before you apply for a taxi and private hire licence:

Decide what type of licence you need

Before making your application, you need to decide what type of licence you need to apply for. A taxi vehicle licence is different from the taxi driver's licence which each driver will need. If you drive your own car, you will need both a taxi vehicle licence and a taxi driver's licence.

Taxis can be hired on the spot, in the street or at a rank, by the customer dealing directly with a driver but private hire cars can only be pre-booked.

Holders of taxi driver licences can drive both taxis and private hire cars. Holders of private hire driver licences can only drive private hire cars.

A separate application is required for each vehicle.


You do not need a vehicle licence from Aberdeenshire if:

  • you are using your vehicle to pick up passengers that you have previously dropped off as part of an arrangement for a journey starting outside Aberdeenshire
  • you are using your vehicle in connection with a wedding or funeral
  • it is part of a public service covered by the Public Passenger Vehicle Act 1981
  • you are using your vehicle for voluntary transport arrangements

Vehicle licence conditions

A vehicle licence cannot be granted if your vehicle is not insured.

Your vehicle will need to be tested to satisfy the licensing authority that it is suitable in type, size and design for use as a taxi or private hire car and is safe for such use. You can read our guidance booklet for further information.

View the taxi licence standard conditions (pdf 38.9KB) that will apply to the operator of a taxi and the private hire vehicle standard conditions (pdf 40.1KB) that apply to the operator of a private hire vehicle.

Driver licence conditions

A taxi or private car hire drivers licence can only be granted to you providing you have held, during 12 continuous months prior to the date of the application, a licence authorising you to drive a motor car.  

You must be physically fit for the purpose of obtaining the licence so you may be asked to submit to a medical examination (drivers aged 70 and over will be required to produce a medical certificate).

If your driving licence is suspended by any court, your taxi or private hire car driver’s licence will automatically cease to have effect during the period of suspension.

View the taxi driver’s licence standard conditions (pdf 107KB) that apply to the driver of a taxi and the private hire car driver’s licence standard conditions (pdf 95.2KB)  that apply to the driver of a private hire vehicle.

Application fees

The fees you will have to pay depends on the licence that you apply for:

  • Driver licence - £120
  • Car licence - £245
  • 6 month vehicle check - no fee
  • Vehicle substitution - £95 plus £10 per plate except where the vehicle is being substituted at the time a test is due then the fee will be £30 plus £10 per plate

The fee is non-refundable. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to ‘Aberdeenshire Council’. You can also pay by visiting the relevant service point. Unfortunately we are unable to accept payment by BACs.

How to apply

You can apply for our taxi and private hire licences either online or in paper. If you are applying online, please note that you will have to sign in with myAberdeenshire to access the form. You will be able to save it and resume later at any stage before submitting your application.

Once we have received your application there is a 28 day objection period. Your application will be copied and sent to Police Scotland for any comments or objections they may have.

Driver licence

If you are applying for a driver licence you will need to provide a photocopy of the DVLA licence and two passport sized photographs with your application.

Apply for a taxi driver licence

Apply for a private hire driver licence

Alternatively you can apply in paper by completing the application for taxi or private hire driver licence (pdf 113KB) and sending it to the address provided on the form.

Vehicle licence

If you are applying for a vehicle licence or vehicle substitution you will need to provide a copy of your insurance certificate with your application.

Apply for a taxi vehicle licence

Apply for a taxi 6 month vehicle test

Apply for a taxi vehicle substitution

Apply for a private hire vehicle licence

Apply for a private hire 6 month vehicle test

Apply for a private hire vehicle substitution

To apply in paper please complete the relevant application and send it to the address provided on the form:

Duration of the licences

Licences of all types (drivers and vehicles) will come into effect on the date specified in the licence.

Taxi licences and private hire car licences will normally have effect for one year from the date granted.

Drivers Licences will normally have effect for three years from the date granted unless a shorter period is considered appropriate, for example, for medical reasons.


A letter will be issued to you with a date and time for your test at the fleet services depot appropriate to your area.

Taxi and private hire vehicle operator guidance

The guidance booklet (pdf 211KB) is designed to remind licence holders of some of their responsibilities while operating a vehicle as a taxi or private hire car; such as:

  • detailed licensing conditions applicable to taxi and taxi driver licences
  • detailed licensing conditions applicable to private hire car and private hire car driver licences
  • detailed specification and examination of vehicles; condition of vehicles 
  • prohibition notices 
  • partnership working
  • testing requirements for vehicles
  • return of plates
  • cross boundary operation of vehicles