Changes to Licensing - Help and Guidance for Individuals

Guidance Videos for Applicants

You may find it useful to view a set of videos to help you understand how to use our licensing system.

Guidance Videos for Applicants


You want to understand the licensing process

Download a visual representation of the licence application process for new applicants, renewals and when applying for a licence in an additional sector.

New Application- this link opens in a new window (download size: 313kb)

Renewal- this link opens in a new window (download size: 313kb)

Additional sector- this link opens in a new window (download size: 313kb)


You want to renew a licence but can't

This may be because your previous licence has expired. You can't renew a licence unless you currently hold an active licence in that sector. If your licence has expired, you will need to apply for a new licence.

It may also be that you are trying to renew your licence too early. You can't renew a licence unless you are within 4 months of the expiry date of your current licence.


You want to call and renew your licence

We no longer accept renewals over the telephone. Please register for an online account and then renew your licence online.

Register for an online account


Passport Number

We ask for your passport number in two different places, for two very different purposes:

  1. Account matching. The first time you login to our licensing site we ask you if you’ve previously held or applied for a licence. We then ask for specific information, which in many cases will include your passport number. Your answers are used by us to match up your new user account with your existing records. Because of this, the information you provide here needs to be the same as the information you gave us previously, even if you have been issued with a new passport and a new number.
  2. Licence application. When you apply for a licence we ask if you hold a passport and (if you do) we ask for the number. Your answers are used by us to confirm your identity. Because of this, the information you provide here needs to be about the current, valid passport.

Once we have matched your new account with your old records, you can and should update the passport number for any licence applications you submit. Please do not apply for a licence using your old passport number.


What it means when you get a DBS certificate in the post

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will issue a certificate to you disclosing information about any relevant convictions or cautions you may have received. The DBS also shares the data contained in your criminality with us in accordance with the consent given on your application.

If, on receiving a DBS certificate, you believe the certificate is not accurate, you should inform the DBS and us. We will not make a decision on your application until we receive confirmation from the DBS.


You've set up an online account but you're having trouble logging in

Username / Password is incorrect

If you received the message "Username / Password is incorrect", this may be because you are trying to use your login details from our old licensing site. These won't work. You will need to set up a new account with a new username and password.

When you do, our system will ask you for information that we will then use to link your new account to your existing records.

Validation email not received

If you have not received a validation email when registering or requesting a new password you should:

  • Confirm that the email address you provided during registration is correct. You can do this by trying to register again and looking to see if your email address is recognised.
  • Check your trash/spam folders for the email, in case it has been mistaken for spam.

If you have still not received the validation email, you will need to re-register. Please create a new username, but use the same existing email address.


Criminal Record Checks

When you apply for or renew an SIA licence we check your criminal record. We do this by submitting something called a ‘disclosure request’ to one of the UK‘s three disclosure bodies: Access NI (Northern Ireland), Disclosure Scotland and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Which one we use will be determined by your address history.

  • If you have lived in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland at any time within the last five years we will send our request to Access NI.
  • If you currently live in Scotland or you live overseas we will send our request to Disclosure Scotland (please refer to link below for more information).
  • If you currently live in England and Wales we will send our request to the DBS.

Read more about Disclosure Scotland

Access NI requires that disclosure requests are submitted through their website by the person being checked, so we will send you instructions on how to do this. We initiate DBS checks directly following receipt of a completed application, so no further action from you is required.

If you live overseas or you have spent six continuous months or more outside the UK, you must in addition provide evidence of a criminal record check from the relevant country or countries. The checks need to cover the five years prior to your application.


Driving Licence number

We ask for your driving licence number in two different places, for two very different purposes:

  • Account matching. The first time you log in to our licensing site we ask you if you’ve previously held or applied for an SIA licence. We then ask for specific information, which in some cases will include your driving licence number. Your answers are used by us to match up your new user account with your existing records.
  • Licence application. When you apply for a licence we ask if you hold a UK driving licence and (if you say yes) we ask for the number. Your answers are used by us to confirm your identity.

Most UK driving licence numbers use a standard format that includes characters drawn from the driver’s name and date of birth (the exceptions to this are those issued in Northern Ireland). Our licensing system knows what this format is and uses the same logic that the DVLA uses to determine what your driving licence number should be. That means that the information you give us has to match the information you gave the DVLA. If it is different – for example, if you told the DVLA that you have a middle name but you didn’t tell us – then the number you put in won’t be the number our system is expecting. That’s why the help text in the application form says “Ensure that the name on your driving licence matches the details you provided on the previous page.”

If our licensing system is rejecting your driving licence number, please make sure that the name and date of birth details you give us match the name and date of birth details printed on the driving licence. If they are not please contact us through your online account and ask us to change your details on our system.

Some UK driving licences feature two additional numbers to the right of and separate to the main number (for example: XXXXX111111XX1XX 99). Please do not enter these last two digits.


Your licence has been granted, but you haven't received your licence card

If you are waiting to receive your licence from us you can still work lawfully, providing your licence has been 'granted'.

Once your licence has been granted your name will appear on our register of licence holders. You can print out your entry on our register of licence holders and carry it with you along with some form of photographic Identification. This will enable you to prove that you are licensed if you are asked to do so by an SIA investigator or one of our enforcement partners (for example, a police officer or a local authority licensing officer).

Go to the register of licence holders


Password requirements

Your password must meet certain requirements:

  • at least 8 characters
  • no more than 30 characters
  • at least 1 number
  • at least 1 special character
  • at least 1 capital letter

You application is stuck at Next Steps

If your application is at 'Next Steps' then we are waiting for you to do something. Your application will not move forward until you have done whatever it is we have asked you to do, so please make sure that you follow all of the instructions we send you. For example:

  • If you were asked to go the post office and then send us documents, make sure that you do send the requested documents to us
  • Make sure that you respond to any 'Further Information Requests' we may have sent you

We aim to process 80% of applications within 25 working days, but this time does not start until you move our of 'Next Steps' and into 'Checks in Progress'.


Your existing licences or qualifications are not showing in your new online account

This may be because your new online account has not yet been matched to your existing records.

The first time you login, we ask you if you have previously held or applied for a licence. We then request from you information such as your passport number or your driving licence number; your answers are used by us, to match up your new user account with your existing records.

If we cannot match your new user account with your previous records, you will see a message on screen that says: "We were not able to definitively match the details you provided with anyone in our records, so we have created a new user account for you. One of our Customer Support Officers will check to make sure that this is correct. If we find that you do appear in our records after all, we will move your old details over into your new account. This will happen within five working days."

Do not contact us, as we are matching accounts. You will need to wait until your records are updated before you can apply for / renew your licence.


Paying for your licence

New applications

If you do not currently hold a licence and you are applying as an individual applicant you must pay the application fee when you visit a participating UK post office to have your photograph taken and your documents checked. You can pay by cash, credit or debit card. You will not be able to pay online.

Renewals

If you already hold a licence and you are renewing your licence or applying for an additional sector, you will be prompted to pay the application fee online unless we need you to provide an up-to-date photograph. If that is the case then you will be instructed to visit a post office to have your photograph taken and pay the application fee. You can pay by cash, credit or debit card.

We do not accept cheques, postal orders or any other form of payment.

Alternatively, if your employer is using one of our new services: Licence Pay Only, Licence Assist or Licence Management, they will be able to pay the application fee on your behalf through their online business account.


You are having problems when trying to pay for your application online

Have you been asked to go to a post office?

You can't pay online if you've been asked to visit the post office to complete your application. In this scenario your payment will be taken when you visit the post office.

Are you using a smartphone or tablet?

Our licensing site was designed to be used on desktop and laptop computers. We recommend that you use a desktop or laptop to pay, rather than trying to do it from a smartphone or tablet device.

It may be your browser settings

You may be unable to pay online if your browser is set to prevent the use of cookies. Temporarily changing your computer settings to 'allow/enable cookies' may fix the problem.

Please see the links below, which will tell you how to change this setting for some commonly used web browsers. If you are using a device that doesn't belong to you, speak to the owner or relevant support personnel before making any changes. We advise you to change your settings back immediately after you have tried to pay again.

Internet Explorer- this link opens in a new window

Firefox- this link opens in a new window

Chrome- this link opens in a new window

Safari- this link opens in a new window

If you are still having problems making an online payment then please contact us using the 'Contact the SIA' option in your online account. Please give us the following information when you contact us:

  • Name and version of the operating system you were using (e.g. Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.11, Android 6.0)
  • Name and version of the web browser you were using (e.g. Internet Explorer 11, Chrome 54.0 or Safari)
  • Type of device you were using (i.e. desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet).
  • If you were using a smartphone or tablet then please provide the make and model (e.g. Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S7, Amazon Fire 7).

Providing this information will help us to diagnose and fix your problem.


Your employer will be paying for your licence

Please make sure that you link with your employer before you do anything else. They will not be able to pay for an application that was started before you linked with them.

Read more about linking


You are trying to use our licensing site on a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet

Our licensing site is optimised for users on desktops and laptops. While it will usually work on mobile devices, we cannot guarantee this and mobile devices are not officially supported. If you are experiencing technical issues with the site and you are using a mobile device, we recommend trying again on a desktop or a laptop.