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What licence do I need to drive a motorhome? Motorhome licences for UK drivers

Motorhome licence requirements are something we get asked about all the time here at Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld. When purchasing your first motorhome, it’s important to understand the rules around motorhome licensing so you can pick the right vehicle for you.

In this article, we’ll cover what the requirements are for driving a motorhome in the UK, including different licensing options, if and when you need an additional licence, and how to go about getting one.

Can I drive a motorhome with a normal licence?

The answer to this depends on two things: the size of the motorhome and when you got your licence.

If the motorhome or campervan has a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) below 3.5 tonnes, then yes, you can drive it with a regular (category B) driving licence in the UK.

If, however, the MAM is above 3.5 tonnes, additional licensing may be required to legally drive the vehicle.

If you got your standard driving licence before 1 January 1997, you will automatically have a C1 entitlement and won’t require an additional licence to drive a vehicle between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, but will require a medical exam.

What licence do I need to drive a motorhome?

In the UK, some motorhomes require an additional licence to be legally driven.

The licence you need depends on the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the motorhome. If the MAM is between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, the driver must have a Category C1 licence. If the MAM is above 7.5 tonnes, they must have a Category C licence.

  • Maximum Authorised Mass above 7.5 tonnes: Category C licence
  • Maximum Authorised Mass between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes: Category C1 licence
  • Maximum Authorised Mass below 3.5 tonnes: standard driving licence

Most motorhomes sold in the UK are 7.5 tonnes or under, so if you do need an additional licence, it will likely be the Category C1 licence. American-style RV motorhomes are the ones that are typically above 7.5 tonnes, but are not as common in the UK.

Why are there different licence requirements for motorhomes in the UK?

The licensing requirements for motorhomes and campervans all come down to weight and size. In the UK, you can’t drive a large goods vehicle (LGV) without a Category C1 licence. This could be anything from a small pick-up truck, van or motorhome between 3,500 and 7,500kg. Holders of a C1 licence can’t tow a trailer on the back of their vehicle.

Before 1997, a standard driving licence would allow you to drive a Category C1 vehicle. But as time went on, the government realised that larger vehicles require additional understanding and safety considerations that need to be regulated.

What’s the difference between a C1 and a C licence?

A driver with a Category C licence is authorised to drive any large goods vehicle above 3,500kg. Drivers with a C1 licence can only drive vehicles between 3,500kg and 7,500kg. If you have a Category C licence, you do not need a C1 as well as it covers all vehicles within this weight.

When purchasing a motorhome, our team will make you aware of the licensing requirements for your vehicle long before your handover day. If you don’t have the right motorhome licence, you won’t be able to drive it off  the forecourt!

How do I get a C1 licence for my motorhome?

Getting a Category C1 licence is quite straightforward. It may sound obvious, but you do need to hold a valid UK driving licence (Category B) and be over 18 to be eligible for additional licensing.

You can apply for a provisional licence via the government’s website. Look for form D2: application for a driving licence for a lorry, minibus, or bus. Fill out the form and provide your details, including your current licence and proof of identity.

For a C1 licence you will also need to undergo a medical exam to confirm you meet the medical standard for driving this type of vehicle.

Drivers who received their licence before 1 January 1997 are automatically C1 licensed and do not need to get an additional licence, but will need to have the medical exam.

What does a C1 licensing test involve?

As with a regular driving licence (Category B), a C1 licence requires both a theory and practical test. The theory test is a series of multiple choice questions regarding the rules of the road and C1 vehicles. It’s longer than a standard driving theory test, with 100 questions (instead of 50) and a pass requirement of 85. You will also have to do a hazard perception test and a case study test.

The case study test is a 75 minutes computerised test, involving a series of short scenarios related to driving a larger vehicle. You will be asked 50 questions in total about the case studies, with a pass requirement of 40 out of 50.

The practical test is split into two parts, assessing your driving safety skills, ability to manoeuvre the vehicle, and offloading it correctly.

How much does a C1 licence cost in the UK?

The three theory tests that are required for a C1 licence in the UK currently total £63.00 and the practical test is £115.00. You can book these directly through the government website and must have your current licence to hand.

  • Part 1a theory – multiple-choice questions: £26.00
  • Part 1b theory – hazard perception: £11.00
  • Part 2 case studies: £26.00
  • Part 3b on-road driving: £115.00

You can view the current pricing breakdown here: GOV.UK Driving Test Costs.

How long does it take to get my C1 licence?

Once you have completed your practical test, it will usually take around two weeks for your new licence to arrive. As with a standard driving test, you can’t carry out your practical test until you have completed your theory tests, but your C1 licence theory tests can be completed in any order.

How long does a C1 licence last?

How long your C1 licence will last depends on your age. If you are under 44 years old and have got your Category C1 licence, you don’t have to renew it for five years.

If you are over 44 years old with a C1 licence, you need to renew the licence every 12 months.

Drivers turning 70 years old must renew their licence. A medical assessment form must be sent off to the DVLA and, if all is well, they will approve it and renew the licence for another three years.

How do I know which motorhome is right for my licence?

When shopping for a new motorhome, the weight of the vehicle should be labelled clearly on the listing. If you are visiting our showroom, our staff will be able to help you with your licensing requirements and answer any questions you may have.

We ensure all our customers fully understand the licensing requirements for their vehicle and are always happy to talk through the rules and regulations.

When browsing on our website, you can refine your search to show you vehicles that are compatible with your licence allowance. Simply select ‘Weight’ and opt for ‘Above 3,500kg’ or ‘Below 3,500kg’. If you need any assistance with finding the right motorhome for you, get in touch with our expert team or visit our showroom at Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld and we’ll be happy to help.

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