Unfortunately, despite holding a valid UK driving licence you’ll still be limited to the type and size of vehicles that you can drive. On the reverse of your photo card driving licence there will be a table of licence categories with each one representing a different type of vehicle.
The most common licence categories used in the UK are:
- Cat B
- Cat B+E
- Cat C1
- Cat C1+E
- Cat D1
Category B Driving Licences:
The most common type of driving licence held in the UK is the category B licence as this is the standard driving licence category gained when you pass a practical driving test.
However, that was not always the case. If you obtained your driving licence before January 1997 you will hold a B+E licence as well as the standard B category, meaning that you’re able to driver larger, heavier vehicles.
Unfortunately, if you gained your licence after January 2013 you will need to take an additional training course in order to obtain a B+E licence. You will need to complete the required trailer training in order to tow trailers, drive caravans or even tow a horsebox.
Category B+E Driving Licences:
The B+E category differs slightly from the standard B category as it allows you to tow vehicles with a greater combined weight. A standard B licence allows you to drive a vehicle with a weight limit of 3.5 tonnes or a maximum authorised mass of 3500kg with a trailer no greater than 750kg.
As we mentioned previously, if you gained your driving licence before January 1997 you will already have the category on your licence – anything after that date will require extra training courses.
Cat C1 Driving Licences:
Just like the B and B+E categories, the additional C1 licence is designed for drivers that use vehicles with a greater weight. The majority of vehicles covered in this category include emergency vehicles and courier trucks.
If you have successfully gained a category C1 licence you will be allowed to drive a vehicle with a weight that falls between 3500kg-7500kg and carrying no more than 8 passengers plus the driver.
Any trailer you tow with the vehicle cannot exceed 750kg.
A C1+E licence is an add-on for the C1 category. It increases the total towing weight and enables you to tow larger trailers than the standard C1 licence.
Cat D1 Driving Licence:
Anyone that has received their driving licence on or after January 1997 will not hold a D1 category on their licence. In order to drive a minibus carrying between 9-16 people, you will need to complete the necessary training for a D1 driving licence category.
There are three areas involved with the D1 training. This includes medical clearance, the theory test and the practical driving test. However, before you start training, you will need to complete a D2 application form. You can get one of these from the DVLA in the UK or your local traffic office.