To get a P endorsement, you must hold, and have held for at least two years, a full Class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 New Zealand driver licence. (Holding an equivalent overseas licence will not meet this requirement.)
Note: If you're planning to drive a heavy vehicle in a passenger service, you must also ensure you have the right class of driver licence.
Area knowledge certificates
To drive a taxi, you may also need to hold an area knowledge certificate, depending on where you drive
Applying for a P endorsement
You can't drive a passenger service vehicle on the road just because you've got the necessary certificates. You must successfully complete the application process, which includes a 'fit and proper person' check, and get the P endorsement on your driver licence.
You can apply for a P endorsement at any NZTA driver licensing agent.
- a completed DL20 application form (Click here)
- evidence of your identity, such as your New Zealand driver licence
- evidence of your name and address, such as a bill or account statement
- a medical certificate (if applicable)
- a certificate showing you have successfully completed an approved P endorsement courseClick here
- a Notice of determination (if applicable – you may not need to have the 'fit and proper person' check again if you hold a current V, I or O endorsement)
- a means of paying the fees (cheque, cash or EFTPOS card).
You should allow six to eight weeks for your application to be processed (providing you have supplied all the necessary information and documentation), because of the requirement to carry out a 'fit and proper person' check.
Note: if you're not a New Zealand citizen or don't hold a residence permit, you will need a work permit or some other temporary permit to show that you may work in New Zealand.
Options when you apply
You may not want to complete the required course until you've passed the 'fit and proper person' check.
When you put your application in, you can either:
- provide a certificate showing you've successfully completed an approved course (and book your practical driving test), or
- submit your application without having completed an approved course and either
- wait for a Notice of determination advising the result of your 'fit and proper' check before doing an approved course (and booking the practical driving test) , or
- complete an approved course (and book your practical driving test) while you wait for the result of the 'fit and proper person' check.
About medical certificates
You need to present a medical certificate for a P endorsement if:
- you haven't submitted a medical certificate for classes 2-5 or a P, V, I or O endorsement in the last five years
- you've developed a medical condition that could adversely affect your ability to drive safely, or a condition has worsened
- you are requested to by the NZTA (regardless of when you last presented a medical certificate).
A medical certificate must be from a New Zealand registered medical practitioner and dated no more than 60 days before the date of your application.
You must prove that your eyesight meets the required standard each time you apply for a new class or endorsement or renew your licence. To do this, you can:
- present a satisfactory eyesight certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered optometrist (this certificate must not be more than 60 days old), or
- present a satisfactory medical certificate issued by a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner (this certificate must be no more that 60 days old and must specifically cover eyesight), or
- pass an eyesight screening check at a driver licensing agent.
Note: the agents' eyesight screening machines eliminate the need for many drivers to be tested by an optometrist or medical practitioner. However, if you don't pass the screening check, then you must provide one of the certificates listed before your application can proceed. Some drivers choose to supply a certificate instead of taking a screening check. If you have vision in only one eye, you must present an eye certificate from a doctor or optometrist.
Sitting the practical driving test
As part of gaining your P endorsement, you must sit the Class 1 full licence practical driving test. (Note: this isn't required if you've passed the test in the last five years.)
This is a one-hour, on-road driving test and is designed to assess how safely you drive.
P endorsement fees
The table below sets out the fees for a P endorsement, which can be issued for one or five years.
Note that course fees vary between providers and aren't included in the table.
* The full licence test isn't needed if you've passed a Class 1 test in the last five years.
** If you drive a large passenger service vehicle only, you only pay the vetting fee once every five years.
About the 'fit and proper person' check
Your application will be sent to the nearest NZTA office so that a 'fit and proper person' check can be undertaken. The person who carries out the check considers:
- transport-related offences, especially relating to safety
- history of mental health or behavioural problems
- past complaints about a transport service you may have operated
- history of persistent failure to pay fines for transport-related offences
- criminal convictions (in New Zealand or overseas), including charges or convictions relating to violence or sexual offences, drug or firearms offences, or offences involving organised criminal activity
- serious convictions – persons convicted of the serious offences listed below and sentenced to imprisonment for more than 12 months are prohibited from holding a P endorsement. The specified serious offences are:
- a sexual crime under Part VII of the Crimes Act 1961 punishable by seven or more years' imprisonment, including sections 144A and 144C
- crimes under any of the following sections of the Crimes Act 1961: 173, 174, 175, 176, 188, 189(1), 191, 198, 199, 200(1), 201, 208, 209, 210, 234, 235 and 236
- any offence committed outside New Zealand that, if committed in New Zealand, would constitute one of the above offences.
Read a detailed list of offences in section 29A of the Land Transport Act 1998 (on the Public Access to Legislation website).Read a detailed list of offences under sections 144A and 144C of the Crimes Act 1961 (Public Access to Legislation website).
If you are unsure, please contact your nearest NZTA office.
Any other information can also be taken into account in the 'fit and proper person' check where that information is relevant to the interest of public safety.
Every P endorsement applicant, irrespective of their country of origin will be vetted by the NZ Police as part of the 'fit and proper person' check. This is arranged by the NZTA once you submit your application and pay the vetting fee.
If you have spent 12 months or more outside New Zealand at any stage, then you must also contact the appropriate authority (embassy, consulate or other approved government agency) of your country of origin and/or any countries you visited, and arrange for official documentation verifying the full details of any traffic offences or criminal history (or the absence thereof) to be made available to the NZTA.
Note: The NZTA can only accept original documents that are received directly from the approved authority. However, copies of documents may be accepted directly from other New Zealand government departments (eg Immigration or Customs), where the department received the original document directly from the appropriate issuing authority and will verify any copy provided as true and correct.
Important: If you have any concerns about the 'fit and proper person' check, contact a commercial road transport administrator at the NZTA office before submitting your application.
If you're not cleared by the 'fit and proper person' check, you'll be sent a letter explaining why, with advice on your right of appeal to the district court.
If you meet the 'fit and proper person' requirements, and all other relevant tests have been completed, your application will be approved and the new licence will be mailed to you. Where you have elected to have the 'fit and proper person check' completed before the other tests are done, you'll be sent a Notice of determination (valid for 90 days). Show the notice to the driver licensing agent when you go to complete your application. (If the notice expires before you finish the relevant courses or tests, call our driver licensing contact centre on 0800 822 422 or your nearest NZTA office.)
Fee for the 'fit and proper person' check
The fee for the 'fit and proper person' check is called a vetting fee. If you've already been through the check (eg, you hold a current V, I or O endorsement), you won't be charged for it again until you renew your endorsements.
Transport service licences
You must have a transport service licence to operate a goods service, passenger service, vehicle recovery service or rental service. The licence shows that you are 'fit' to operate such a service and have the required knowledge of the laws and practices relating to the safe and proper operation of a transport service. As evidence that you're a licence holder your vehicles must display transport service licence labels.
Drivers and operators of freight, vehicle recovery and passenger transport services industries are required to comply with a range of rules and regulations. In most cases this includes holding an appropriate transport service licence.
These regulations and rules assist transport service licence holders to run successful and compliant businesses while ensuring safe management practices and protecting other road users.
This factsheet provides advice on how to obtain a transport service licence. On the last page, there is guidance on where to find more complete information.
Who needs a transport service licence?
Whether you're an individual or a company, you must hold the appropriate transport service licence if you're operating any of the following types of service:
A goods service
A goods service delivers or carries goods, whether or not for hire or reward, using a motor vehicle that has a gross laden weight* of 6000 kg or more, including one that is 'on hire' to carry goods.
* Gross laden weight is the greatest of the following:
- any weight specified as a vehicle's gross laden weight by the vehicle's manufacturer
- any weight specified as the gross laden weight of a particular kind of vehicle by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA)
- the weight of a vehicle together with any load it is carrying, including any equipment and accessories.
A passenger service
A passenger service carries passengers; usually for hire or reward.
There are two types of passenger service: small and large.
- A small passenger service uses vehicles that carry 12 or fewer people (including the driver), for hire or reward. Small passenger services include taxi services, shuttle services and private hire services. Dial-a-driver services are also small passenger services but the vehicles used in these services are not passenger service vehicles. There are special rules for taxi services that do not apply to other small passenger services –
- A large passenger service uses vehicles that are designed or adapted to carry more than 12 people (including the driver), whether or not they operate for hire or reward..
A vehicle recovery service
A vehicle recovery service tows or carries vehicles. It requires a transport service licence if it isn't exempt under the Land Transport Act (eg you don't need a transport service licence to tow a friend's car with your own in the case of a breakdown).
A rental service
A rental service hires out vehicles to carry goods or passengers.
Penalties for operating an unlicensed service
It's illegal to operate an unlicensed transport service of the kinds described above. If you're convicted, you may face a fine of up to $10,000. The fine increases to a maximum of $25,000 for subsequent convictions.
In addition to the fine, the court may impound vehicles used in an unlicensed service for up to 90 days (no matter who owns them).
How to apply for a transport service licence (TSL) or (PSL)
Fill out an application form
You need to fill out and submit an application form. You can download application forms from our website. You can also get one from the contact centre, 0800 822 422.
Post your completed application form to:
NZ Transport Agency
Transport Registry Centre
Private Bag 11777
Palmerston North 4442
making sure you have provided everything necessary for the application.
What do I have to provide?
You need to provide:
- the application fee of $449.80
- a certificate of knowledge of law and practice relevant to the transport licence you are applying for, except if you are going to operate a dial-a-driver or rental service
- the personal details required in the application form, including a statement asserting that the information supplied in the application form is correct and that you are not disqualified from holding or obtaining a transport service licence.
What is the criteria for approval?
Any person that will hold the licence or will be in control of the transport service must complete a personal details form and will have to meet the legal 'fit and proper person' criteria.
Certificate of knowledge of law and practice
One of the requirements for getting a transport service licence is that either the licence holder or a person in control of the service must hold a certificate of knowledge of law and practice. This shows that the holder of the certificate has the required knowledge of the laws and practices relating to the safe, efficient and proper operation of a transport service.
How do I get the certificate?
To get a certificate of knowledge of law and practice, you have to pass a test run by Assessment Systems Limited (ASL). ASL's contact details are:
Assessment Systems Ltd
PO Box 30343
Level 9, Avalon Tower
Percy Cameron St
Phone: (04) 913 9812
Fax: (04) 913 9816
The test covers the rules relating to the type of service you will be operating and specific knowledge relating to the requirements and responsibilities of a transport service licence holder. There is an individual handbook for each class of service.
What are the costs?
|Handbook and test||Current price as at 1 January 2011|
|Individual TSL handbook
(includes postage & packaging)
|Goods, passenger or recovery
Who might be exempt?
The requirement to obtain and hold a certificate of knowledge of law and practice does not apply to operators of rental services and operators of dial-a-driver services. You still must hold the appropriate transport service licence.
In special circumstances, the NZTA may waive the requirement for other transport service operators to hold the certificate where the service is limited or infrequent. An example is a truck that is used to carry apples in the picking season, but that only carries bits and pieces around the orchard for most of the year. Generally, exemptions are granted for operators who are carrying their own goods and not for hire or reward.
The application form for an exemption is available from the NZTA contact centre.
Complete the application form when you apply for your transport service licence.
About the tests
The ASL website has excellent information on the test, including sample test questions.
The test questions are based on the Knowledge of law and practice handbook. You can buy the handbook online from ASL.
The test, which is computer based, is ‘open book’, which means you may take the handbook into the test with you. Handbooks are not supplied by ASL at the test venue. .
An example of how the computer based test works can be found on the ASL website.
You have up to two-and-a-half hours to complete the test and you must score 80 percent or higher to pass the test.
Test standards are set and audited by the NZTA.
What identification do I need to bring to the tests?
On the day of the test, you'll need to show identification that has both your photograph and signature on it (eg your driver licence or passport). If you don't present acceptable identification, you won't be able to sit the test. You can find out more about acceptable identification on the ASL website.
When does the test take place?
ASL has timetables for when the test takes place in different areas. These are available on the ASL website.
ASL offers an 'on demand' option, which reduces the waiting period but costs more.
ASL offers an 'on demand' option, which reduces the waiting period but costs more.
How do I apply to sit the tests?
You can book your exam up to 24 hours before the exam starts, subject to availability.
Existing candidates who have a current ASL client number
Go to the ASL website and click on NZ Transport Agency. Go to Login on the left hand side menu, enter the username and password and follow the prompts. Then click on Book Exam on the left hand side menu.
Is this your first time with ASL?
Follow the prompts to either order your exam electronically or download the ASL417 form and post it to ASL offices at:
Assessment Systems Ltd
PO Box 30343
together with payment (cheque made out to Assessment Systems Ltd).
If your application is incomplete ASL may return the form to you for completion. If your application is not received in time for the exam booking to proceed, you may be booked in to the next available session.
For information on transfers to different test dates, cancellations or refunds refer to the ASL website
Note: This information is provided as a general guide only, and does not cover everything in the law. It is not the source of the law.Make a Booking
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