2 April 2024

How to become a chauffeur in Edinburgh

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Knowing how to become a chauffeur in Edinburgh is essential for those who would like to embark on this job and work in the field of mobility.  Chauffeurs play a pivotal role in Edinburgh’s transportation ecosystem, providing personalized and upscale transportation options for both residents and tourists. 

This guide will help you understand the steps to becoming a certified chauffeur in this historic city, outlining the legal requirements, necessary skills and qualifications, vehicle standards and application process, with insights into working in the local job market.

Chauffeur: who they are and what they do

A chauffeur is a professional driver responsible for operating luxury vehicles to transport clients safely and comfortably to their desired destinations. Unlike standard drivers, chauffeurs offer a higher level of service, often including handling luggage, providing personalized attention and ensuring a smooth and luxurious travel experience. 

They have in-depth knowledge of local roads, traffic patterns and destinations, allowing them to choose the most efficient routes. Chauffeurs serve a wide range of clients, from business executives and celebrities to couples celebrating special occasions. 

What are the requirements to become a chauffeur in Edinburgh?

Becoming a chauffeur in Edinburgh involves meeting specific legal and regulatory requirements set by the UK government and local licensing authorities. On this point, you can read the eligibility criteria on the official website of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Specifically, the requirements to become a chauffeur in Edinburgh are:

  • Age: must be at least 21 years old
  • Driver’s License: possession of a full UK, EU or other approved driver’s license for at least three years
  • Legal right to work in the UK
  • Criminal record checks. A full criminal record check is mandatory for all applicants. No application will be considered without all required criminal background checks, ensuring that candidates meet the safety standards expected for the position
  • Satisfactory immigration status. In addition to the criminal record check, applicants must provide satisfactory immigration status confirming their eligibility to work in the country as a driver
  • Tax compliance. The UK government has introduced new tax requirements for PHC driver license applications. Applicants will be required to complete a tax check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to obtain a 9-digit code. This code is essential and must be presented to the licensing team during the in-person document check at the licensing hub.

Let’s look at all these requirements in detail.

Previous licenses and compliance

Applicants must disclose any previous licenses held, including taxi or private hire driver licenses, whether from Edinburgh or any other jurisdiction. 

This disclosure should include any instances of license refusal or suspension. Importantly, if an application for a similar license has been refused by the City of Edinburgh Council in the past year, reapplication will only be considered if there has been a material change in circumstances since the refusal. In addition, any medical conditions that may affect driving ability must be declared to ensure the safety of the driver and passengers.

License verification

A basic requirement if you wish to become a chauffeur is to have held a UK driving license for at least 12 months prior to applying, with the license accurately reflecting your current home address. The DVLA’s modern digital record-keeping practices require applicants to provide a check code from the GOV.UK website to verify driving endorsements.

Medical examinations

The medical examination is a key step in the application process and is based on Group 2 fitness standards. These standards, available on the GOV.UK website, ensure that drivers maintain the physical and mental health required to drive safely. Applicants will undergo regular medical examinations, with reports kept on file for the duration of the license.

Employment status and tax compliance

Applicants should clarify their employment status, whether self-employed or working for an employer. For self-employed individuals, a 9-digit Unique Tax Reference (UTR) from HMRC is mandatory. This detail underscores the importance of tax compliance and financial transparency in the licensing process.

Criminal record disclosure

If you want to work as a chauffeur, you should know that the law requires a “good character” check of the professional. What does this mean? 

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and subsequent amendments, all convictions, including those deemed spent, must be disclosed unless protected by law. This full disclosure ensures a transparent assessment of an applicant’s suitability for the role.

How to apply

If you want to apply for a chauffeur license in Edinburgh, you need to prepare your documentation. Make sure you have all the necessary forms, including the application and any other application forms, ready in a digital format. If you use the paper versions, the documents must be completed and signed before being converted into a digital file by scanning or photographing with a device such as a digital camera, smartphone or tablet.

At the same time, payment is a critical step in completing your application and requires a debit or credit card to process the fee. Your application will remain incomplete until payment is successfully made.

Another important aspect is that Edinburgh has reintroduced face-to-face document verification for all taxi and private hire driver applications, removing the need for appointments. 

For this reason, you will need to visit the Vehicle Examination Center at 33 Murrayburn Road, EH14 2TF with your documents. The center welcomes visitors monday to thursday between 08:30 and 17:00 and friday between 08:30 and 15:55 to conduct document checks and accept applications.

Start your driving career with LiMO

LiMO is the world’s largest community of professional chauffeurs. If you want to improve your client management, grow your business and make more money, LiMO is a great ally for your development.

To join the LiMO community, start by registering here.

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