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V endorsement for vehicle recovery services

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

Who needs a vehicle recovery endorsement?

You need a vehicle recovery (V) endorsement to drive a vehicle in a vehicle recovery service.

The most common types of vehicle used in vehicle recovery services are tow trucks and car transporters.

If you're not sure whether you need a V endorsement, call our contact centre 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, or whether or not the towing or carrying of the vehicle is carried out by a person intending to repair the vehicle.

It does not include the following activities:

  • towing or carrying a motorcycle or moped
  • towing or carrying your own vehicle
  • 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
  • any service where the NZ Transport Agency has notified the operator that the nature of the service is such that the carriage of vehicles should be treated as the carriage of goods
  • the removal of vehicles by the NZ Defence Force tow trucks at the request of an enforcement officer
  • routine towing services operated by the 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.

Requirements for a V endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get a V 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. 

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

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

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 V endorsement course. 

  • 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 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 vehicle recovery service vehicle on the road just because you’ve got the necessary certificates. You must successfully complete the application process and get the V endorsement added to your driver licence first.

How to make your application

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

You will need to:

You should allow six to eight weeks 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

You will need to choose a 'unique identifier' for your unique identification (ID) card when you make your application. You must always have your ID card with you when operating a vehicle recovery service vehicle. 

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. 

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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