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Find out who needs an endorsement to carry passengers and how to get one.

Who needs a passenger endorsement?

If you carry passengers for hire or reward you need a passenger (P) endorsement. 

You also need a P endorsement if you drive a large passenger service vehicle, even if you're not being paid for it. 

Volunteers and some other people may be exempt from holding a P endorsement. See Volunteer drivers and exempt passenger services to check if that’s you.

Small / large vehicle P endorsement

Small passenger service vehicle

A small passenger service vehicle has 12 seats or less, including the driver. 

For example, taxi, shuttle, app-based service, private hire service. You also need a P endorsement if you drive for a dial-a-driver service and are driving the customer’s vehicle.

To drive a small passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement, and 

  • a current driver identification (ID) card, and 

  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you’re driving (for example, if you’re driving a car or a van, you need a class 1 licence), and

  • to hold a small passenger service licence, or work under someone who holds a small passenger service licence. 

Large passenger service vehicle

A large passenger service vehicle has more than 12 seats.

To drive a large passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement, and

  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you’re driving (for example, if you’re driving a bus with a gross vehicle mass of 10,000kg, you’ll need a class 2 licence), and

  • to hold a large passenger service licence, or work under someone who holds a large passenger service licence. 

You don't need to have an ID card to drive large passenger service vehicles.

Why do I need a passenger endorsement?

The public need to know they are safe when using a passenger service. The Transport Agency checks the background of anyone applying to be endorsed to carry passengers, including criminal history, traffic offences and medical health.

What do I need to apply?

  • You must have held a full New Zealand car licence (class 1) for at least two years

  • If you’ve lived outside New Zealand, you’ll need to provide foreign documentation

  • You’ll need a medical certificate (unless you’ve provided one to the Transport Agency in the last five years)

  • If you’re not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you’ll need a work permit or visa approving work in New Zealand in the appropriate field

  • You’ll need a current passport or New Zealand driver licence, or another form of acceptable evidence of identity.

How do I apply?

  1. Complete an Application for new passenger (P) endorsement application form (DL20A) [PDF, 424 KB].
  2. Take the completed form and the above documents to a driver licensing agent.
  3. Pay the application fee.
  4. The agent will take your photo and signature. 

How much does it cost to apply?

 

Small vehicle

Large vehicle

1 year

5 years

1 year

5 years

Endorsement application

$73

$254.90

$64.40

$246.30

Vetting fee*

$9.70

$48.50

$9.70

$9.70

Total cost

$82.70

$303.40

$74.10

$256.00

* If you only drive a large passenger vehicle, the police check is done once every five years.

What happens next?

Your application will be sent to the NZ Transport Agency to be processed, and for the fit and proper person check to be performed.

  • If you’ve provided all the necessary information with your application and all the endorsement requirements have been met, please allow 10 working days for your application to be processed.

  • If some information hasn’t been provided yet, or if some requirements haven’t been met, your application will take longer to process.

If you're cleared and your application is granted, your endorsement will be approved and your new licence will be made and sent to you.

If you’re not cleared, you’ll receive a letter explaining this and the process you may take to appeal the decision in the district court.

Use our online tracking tool (external link) to view your application status:

Status What does this mean?
Received We’ve got your application, but we haven’t started working on it yet. We’ll send you an email to let you know it’s been received.
Gathering information

We’re waiting for something.

For example, we could be waiting for vetting information from the police, more information from a foreign country, or reviewing your medical certificate.

We’ll contact you if we need more information from you.

Processing We’ve got all the information we need, and we’re now assessing your application.
Completed

We’ve finished processing your application.

  • If your passenger endorsement is approved, we’ll send you a new photo driver licence (and ID card if relevant) within 7-10 days.

  • If your passenger endorsement is declined, we’ll send you a letter explaining why, and what you can do.

 

Requirements for a P endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get a P endorsement, you must have a current New Zealand full car licence (class 1) that you’ve held for at least two years.

Holding an equivalent overseas licence doesn’t meet this requirement. If you‘ve held an overseas licence, you may be able apply for an exemption to get your overseas driving experience recognised. 

Make sure you have the right class of licence

If you’re planning to drive a heavy vehicle as a passenger service vehicle, make sure you have the right class of driver licence.

We’ll check to see if you’re a fit and proper person

Your application will be sent to the NZ Transport Agency so that a fit and proper person check can be done. This will check on things like transport-related offences, criminal convictions and past complaints about you. Serious criminal convictions may prevent you ever receiving a passenger endorsement.

Foreign documentation

If you’ve lived overseas for more than 12 months after the age of 14, or since your last application, you’ll need to have police and traffic documentation from those countries too.

Immigration status

If you’re not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, your work permit or visa must approve work in the appropriate industry before a passenger endorsement can be granted.

Please provide a copy of your work permit or visa with your application.

Medical certificate

It’s important that commercial drivers are in good health. We want to ensure that you won’t cause an accident through a health-related incident when you’re responsible for the lives of passengers or driving large vehicles on public roads.

Ask your doctor to complete a Transport Agency medical certificate for you.

Eyesight requirements

Good vision is essential to driving a vehicle safely. You’ll need to provide proof your vision meets the standards for safe driving.

Endorsement length

You must choose whether you want your endorsement to last for one year or five years.

When the term of your endorsement has finished, you must renew the endorsement again.

Find out more about renewing your passenger endorsement

Factsheets

Download Factsheet 42: P endorsements for carrying passengers [PDF, 94 KB]

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