Section 19 Standard Permit: Not for profit passenger transport

Organisations that provide passenger transport on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis can apply for permits under Section 19 (s19) of the Transport Act 1985. These permits allow the holder to operate transport services for hire or reward without the need for a full public service vehicle (PSV) operator’s licence.

A standard permit is granted under Section 19 of the Transport Act 1985 authorising the use of a vehicle with seats for no more than 16 passengers to carry passengers for hire or reward in compliance with Section 19 of that Act and with regulations made under section 21 of that Act.

Normally, an organisation operating in Great Britain (GB) that accepts any sort of payment for providing transport to passengers must hold either a public service vehicle (PSV) operator’s licence or a private hire vehicle licence.

PSV operators’ licences are issued by a traffic commissioner. Private hire vehicle licences are issued by local authorities. In most cases, drivers of PSVs will also require a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) entitlement on their driving licence.

Section 19 Transport Act 1985 allow organisations that operate in GB without a view to profit to have a permit which exempts them from the need to hold a PSV operator’s licence when providing transport for a charge. Under specified conditions, the drivers of certain vehicles are exempt from the need to have PCV entitlement on their driving licence.

As a permit holder you have a responsibility to make sure that your services are operated within the law, with vehicles properly maintained and using drivers with the appropriate qualifications. You should discuss with the body that issued the permit or with DVSA if you’re in any doubt about your obligations in operating your vehicles safely and legally, or your ongoing entitlement to operate under the permit.

Section 19 ‘standard permits’ are for vehicles which are adapted to carry no more than 16 passengers (excluding the driver).  These permits may be granted to organisations that operate vehicles without a view to profit to transport their members, or people whom the organisation exists to help.  Section 19 permit vehicles cannot be used to carry members of the general public.

Who can apply for a permit?

Any organisation operating without a view to profit, concerned with:

  • education
  • religion
  • social welfare
  • recreation
  • other activities of benefit to the community

The Council can only issue permits to its own departments and to:

  • bodies concerned with health and welfare services eligible for grants under the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968.
  • bodies assisting or co-ordinating the activities of community groups in the area. These are known as “umbrella organisations”. Groups affiliated to one of these organisations may use a vehicle, other than a large bus, under that organisation’s permit.
  • schools or other bodies connected with education (if they fulfil the authority’s duties under the Education Act 1996) (where the local authority is a local education authority).

If you are an eligible organisation and require a permit but do not fall into one of the 3 categories above then you should apply to the DVSA/VOSA.  Application forms are available by emailing

You need to send your completed application form to the organisation you got it from.

What’s meant by operating without a view to profit?

Those applying for a section 19 permit must satisfy the issuing body that the transport services aren’t run with a view to profit, nor incidentally to an activity which is itself carried on with a view to profit.

Organisations that are registered as charities usually qualify. However, a business which makes, or seeks to make, a profit would not normally qualify, regardless of how it uses any profits or income surplus.

You should read the guide to PSV operator licensing: a guide for operators (PSV437) if your organisation is a business carried on with a view to profit and it operates vehicles for hire or reward, as an operator’s licence is likely to be required.

For more detailed information about what constitutes operating without a view to profit refer to the Government Guidance.

Apply online

The outcome of an application will normally be determined within 14 days.

How many permits can I apply for?

You can apply for as many permits as you need.  You need a permit for every vehicle that you’ll operating at any one time.  Each vehicle must display the disc that relates to the permit in the windscreen. For example, if you want to operate 3 vehicles at the same time, you must have 3 permits. You can apply for more than one permit on an application form. You can apply for more permits at any time, if your needs change and you want to operate more vehicles.

The fee payable is based on the number of permits you apply for i.e. the above fee multiplied by the number of permits applied for.

Grant of your application

You will receive a permit which will have a unique serial number and a corresponding disc with the same number, if your application is granted. You should remove the disc and place it in the windscreen of the vehicle to be used. It must be fixed to the inside of the windscreen so that it can be easily seen from outside the vehicle but does not obstruct the driver’s view.

You may be issued with more than one permit and each permit will have a corresponding disc. The permits and discs are not vehicle specific and you may therefore move a disc from one vehicle to another. Each vehicle must display a valid disc when it is being used under the section 19 permit system. You can’t use more than one vehicle at any time under the same permit.

Standard permits authorise the use of vehicles adapted to carry not more than 16 passengers. They can’t be used in larger vehicles.

How long are permits valid?

Permits and discs granted on or after 6th April 2009 will have an expiry date and will be valid for a maximum of 5 years.  Permits and discs granted before 6th April 2009 don’t have an expiry date and will remain in force until further notice.

Changes to the permit

A permit isn’t transferable to another organisation and you are only allowed to carry the class of passenger stated in your permit.  You will need to apply for a new permit if you want to change the organisation and or add another class of passenger.  The new permit will have an expiry date which will be no later than five years from the date of issue.  You should return the existing permit to the issuing body if you no longer require it.  No refunds will be issued.

Replacement permits

If you lose the permit you will need to notify the issuing body and apply for a new permit.

If the permit becomes faded or damaged you will need to apply for a new permit and return the old permit.

Further reading

Section 19 and 22 permits: not for profit passenger transport

Related pages

Licensing issues


Last updated: 08 June 2021 16:55:19