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TfL English language requirements for private hire drivers come into effect today

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English language requirements (ELR) for Transport for London (TfL) private hire drivers have come into effect today.

ELR applies to all applications for private hire driver's licences received by TfL on, or after, 14 October 2016. This includes applications for both renewal and new licences.

The TfL website says: "It is essential for public safety that all licensed private hire drivers are able to communicate in English at an appropriate level. Drivers need to be able to communicate with passengers to discuss a route or fare as well as read, understand and respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL."

Any application for a new or renewed private hire driver's licence that was received on or after 14 October 2016 had until today (30 September) to provide evidence that they comply with the English language requirement (ELR).

Anyone applying for a new licence or seeking to renew their licence on or after 1 October 2021 will need to satisfy the English language requirement before a licence will be granted.

Examples of suitable evidence

This is a list of examples of suitable evidence that a driver can supply to prove they meet the requirement. The list is not exhaustive. The subject of the qualification does not matter as long as it was taught in English.

  • UK GCSE/O level (or equivalent) certificate at grades A* to G

  • UK AS-Level/A level certificate

  • UK NVQ*/BTEC/City & Guilds qualification, along with confirmation from the awarding body that the qualification provided is equivalent to GCSE or above (for example, a Blue Badge Guide qualification)

  • UK BA Hons, BSc Hons degree or higher i.e. master's, PhD

  • UK HNC/HND qualification

  • SELT certificate at B1 level or higher, issued by Trinity College London or IELTS showing proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Replacement certificates

There are four accredited Ofqual awarding organisations offering GSCEs in England: AQA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC. There are also others for the rest of the UK. Replacement certificates are available from those organisations.

A certified confirmation of results from the relevant awarding body will be acceptable.

Language requirement

There are currently two approved interim English language test providers: Trinity College London and IELTS (International English Language Test System).

Trinity College London's ISE I qualification will be accepted by TfL as evidence of meeting the English language requirement.

IELTS Academic and General Training tests are both accepted by TfL as evidence of meeting the new English language requirement.


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