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P endorsement for carrying passengers

Information about passenger endorsements – who needs one, how to get one, and what you can drive with one.

Who needs a passenger endorsement?

You need a passenger (P) endorsement if you are driving a small passenger service vehicle such as a taxi or shuttle and you are getting paid for it or receiving any type of reward.  This includes dial-a-driver type services where the passenger provides the vehicle and you are paid to drive it.

You also need a P endorsement if you are driving a large passenger service vehicle such as a bus, regardless of whether or not you are getting paid for it. 

Difference between small and large

Small passenger service vehicle

A small passenger service vehicle has a maximum of 12 seats, including the driver. 

To drive a small passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement, and 
  • a current driver identification card (ID), and 
  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you are driving. For example, if you are driving a car or van, you need a class 1 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 are driving. For example, if you are driving a bus with a gross vehicle mass of 10,000kg, you will need a class 2 licence.

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

Check which vehicles you can drive on each class of driver licence

Some services may be exempt

You do not need a P endorsement if you drive in an exempt passenger service or are exempt by the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999.

See who might be exempt from holding a P endorsement

Requirements for a P endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get a P endorsement, you must hold, and have held for at least two years, a full New Zealand class 1 driver licence. 

Holding an equivalent overseas licence does not meet this requirement. 

We will check if you are 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. 

Further information about the fit and proper person criteria

You will need to complete a course

You'll need to provide a certificate showing that you've successfully completed an approved P endorsement course. 

  • If you want to, you can make your application before sitting the P endorsement course. You can then do the course while the application is being processed (it can take up to 10 working days).
  • If you are 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 will be sent a Notice of determination to let you know, and you can then do your course. 

Find an approved course provider in your area

You can’t drive until you have the endorsement on your licence

You can’t drive a passenger service vehicle on the road just because you’ve got the necessary certificates. You must successfully complete the application process and get the P endorsement added to your driver licence first.

How to make your application

To get your P endorsement, you must apply at a driver licensing agent

You will need to:

You should allow up to 10 working days for your application to be processed (providing you have supplied everything required), because of the time it takes to do the fit and proper person check.

If you give us your email address, we will send you updates on your application status. We’ll also email you a link so you can track your application‘s progress online.

Choose your unique identifier

If you will be driving small passenger service vehicles, you will need to choose a 'unique identifier' for your ID card when you make your application. 

A unique identifier is a name made up of a combination of letters that could be easily recalled by users of the service. If you choose a unique identifier that somebody else already has, the Transport Agency will assign numbers to the chosen name to avoid duplication.

If your identifier can’t be easily remembered by your passengers, the Transport Agency will ask you to select another one.

You may need a work permit

If you're not a New Zealand citizen or don't hold a residence permit, you will need a work permit or some other temporary permit to show that you are allowed to work in New Zealand. 

Taxi drivers may also need an area knowledge certificate

To drive a taxi, you may also need to hold an area knowledge certificate, depending on where you drive. 

Full requirements for area knowledge certificates

Download Factsheet 42: P endorsement for carrying passengers [PDF, 82 KB]

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

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