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Applying for a vehicle recovery (V) endorsement

From 1 July 2017 the vetting fee will change from $28.80 to $9.70 per year. 

Who needs a vehicle recovery endorsement?

Tow truck and car transporter drivers are the most common drivers who need an endorsement for vehicle recovery. If you operate a vehicle recovery service of any kind, you’ll also need a V endorsement.

If you're not sure whether you need a V endorsement, please call us on 0800 822 422.

What is a vehicle recovery service?

A vehicle recovery service is the towing or carrying, on any road, of a motor vehicle.

The size or design of the towing or carrying vehicle doesn't matter, nor whether the towing or carrying of the vehicle is carried out by a person intending to repair the vehicle.

It doesn’t include the following activities:

  • towing or carrying your own vehicle

  • towing or carrying a motorcycle or moped

  • the towing or carrying of one motor vehicle by another when not directly or indirectly for reward, and when the towing or carrying vehicle is not designed or adapted for towing or carrying motor vehicles

  • towing of disabled vehicles using a rope or flat tow by:

    • a person employed or contracted by a motoring association or an insurance company where the towing or carrying is limited to the removal of a vehicle to a place of safety, or

    • the owner or employee of a garage or workshop who intends to repair the vehicle

  • when the NZ Transport agency has notified the operator of the service that the vehicles carried can be considered goods

  • the removal of vehicles by the NZ Defence Force tow trucks at the request of an enforcement officer

  • routine towing services operated by NZ Defence Force personnel in areas where there is no suitable and available commercial towing service nearby

  • any service specified as an exempt vehicle recovery service.

Getting an endorsement

How much does it cost to apply?

  1 year 5 years
Endorsement application $73 $254.90
Vetting fee $28.80 $144.10
Full licence test* $59.90 $59.90
Total cost $161.70 $458.90

Requirements for a V endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get a V endorsement, you must have a current New Zealand full licence (class 1) that you have 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. You’ll still need to sit a practical driving test (see below).

Make sure you have the right class of licence

If you're planning to drive a heavy vehicle in a vehicle recovery service, make sure you have the right class of driver licence.

Practical driving test

Before a V endorsement is granted you must demonstrate your ability to drive safely. This means you’ll need to sit a full licence test or show that you’ve passed one in the last five years.

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

Your application will be sent to the 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.

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

You’ll need to complete a course

You'll need to provide a certificate showing you've successfully completed an approved V endorsement course. This course will ensure you know the legal requirements for vehicle recovery services and how to manage and log your time spent driving.

  • If you want to, you can make your application before sitting the V endorsement course. You can then do the course while the application is being processed (it can take up to eight weeks)
  • If you’re not sure whether you might pass the fit and proper person check, you can choose to make your application and have the check done first. If you pass the check, you’ll be sent a Notice of determination (valid for 90 days) to let you know, and you can then do your course.

Find an approved course provider in your area

Passing the endorsement course doesn’t guarantee the approval of your application for a V endorsement. It is only one of the necessary steps.


Download Factsheet 46: V endorsement for vehicle recovery service [PDF, 57 KB]

Download Factsheet 66: Driver licensing courses for licence classes and endorsements [PDF, 70 KB]


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