Personal licence

Premises that are licensed to sell alcohol must have a designated premises supervisor (DPS) specified on the licence. The DPS is responsible for authorising and supervising the sale of alcohol at the premises. To become a DPS you must hold a personal licence.

Applications for a personal licence must be made to the borough where the individual lives. A personal license is 'portable' between different premises throughout England and Wales and is valid for the lifetime of the holder unless surrendered, revoked or suspended. The holder is authorised to sell alcohol anywhere in the country at premises that have a premises licence.

You are not required to have a personal licence to be employed in a pub or other business that sells alcohol although some businesses like staff to have a personal licence. Anyone who does not hold a personal licence must be authorised to sell alcohol by a personal licence holder.

How to apply for a personal licence

Anyone can apply for a personal licence. You do not have to be currently employed or have business interests relevant to the use of the licence.

However, we will only grant a personal licence if you:

  • Are 18 years of age or over 
  • You are entitled to work in the UK
  • Possess a relevant licensing qualification 
  • Have not had a personal licence revoked or removed by the court in the previous five years 
  • Have not been convicted of any relevant offence as laid out in the Licensing Act 2003 (though we may grant a licence if you have been convicted of a relevant offence, if the police or Home Office (Home Office Immigration Enforcement) don't object) 

In addition, you must not already hold a personal licence or have applied for a personal licence with us or any other licensing authority.

Relevant Qualification

Before you apply for a personal licence, you must obtain an accredited qualification. The aim of the qualification is to ensure that licence holders are aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities involved in the sale of alcohol. Personal licence qualification providers are accredited by the Home Secretary.

Download the full list of accredited personal licence qualification providers.

Criminal Record Check

The application must be accompanied by a basic disclosure check disclosure certificate.

To apply for this certificate you should visit the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) website. You can contact DBS for help with this by:

Please note that any certificate or search results supplied must not have been issued any earlier than one calendar month before making the application for the personal licence to the licensing authority.

Proof of entitlement to work         

In order to apply for a personal licence you must demonstrate that you have an entitlement to work in the UK and are not subject to a condition preventing you from doing work relating to the carrying on of a licensable activity. To do this you must provide copies or scanned copies of the relevant documents with your application. The document(s) required are shown in the notes at the end of the application form.

Your right to work will be checked as part of your licence application and this could involve us checking your immigration status with the Home Office (Home Office Immigration Enforcement). We may otherwise share information with the Home Office. 

Application form

You can download the Personal Licence application form. The form should be fully completed and accompanied by the specified fee and appropriate documents. We are unable to accept online applications for a personal licence.

How to change details on a personal licence

A holder of a personal licence must notify the licensing authority that issued the original licence:

Of any change to their name or address

  • You must notify the authority in writing, enclosing your original licence (both ID card and paper copy) and the required fee. Download a notification of change of name and address, which can be completed and returned to the Licensing Team.
  • Please note that when notifying us of a change in name you must enclose proof of the change, such as a copy of your marriage certificate.

If their licence is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed

  • You must notify the authority in writing enclosing the required fee. Download an application for copy of personal licence, which can be completed and returned to the Licensing Team.
  • Where a Personal Licence is damaged you should enclose the old licence, both the ID card and paper copy.

We will then produce new licence documents, and post them to you.

How to surrender your personal licence

A holder of a personal licence must notify the licensing authority that issued the original licence if they wish to surrender it.

You must notify the authority in writing, enclosing your original licence (both ID card and paper copy).

Notification if charged with a relevant offence

A personal licence holder also has a legal duty to notify the Court if they are charged with a relevant offence and to notify their licensing authority if they are convicted of a relevant or a foreign offence.

Requirement to renew Personal Licence

You no longer need to contact us if your licence is about to expire. The expiry date shown on your licence and paper document no longer applies following an amendment to the Licensing Act 2003 which came into effect on 1 April 2015.

You still have to contact us if you wish to surrender your licence, if you have lost your licence, or if you have to notify us of any changes to your name and/or address (see below for further details).