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What Is A Cat C Licence?

What Is A Cat C Licence?

Are you a driver planning a slight change in career or looking to boost your earning potential? The Cat C licence could be your key to this shift. This vehicle licence unlocks a world of opportunities, allowing you to drive large goods vehicles. This brings us to the question, what is a Cat C licence? This article will go over everything you need to know about this HGV entitlement, including the eligibility requirements and the process of applying.

What Is A Cat C Licence?

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A Cat C licence is a vehicle licence that allows drivers to operate vehicles over 3,500 kg (3.5 tonnes), along with a trailer up to 750 kg (0.75 tonnes). This is the most popular licence for 7.5-t lorries in the UK and is a step up from the entry-level HGV licence.

The Cat C licence is perfect for anyone looking to graduate from driving vans and cars to driving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The Cat C licence suits HGV drivers transporting cargo for companies across various industries.

Check out our blog post to see vehicles you can drive on a Cat C licence.

Eligibility Requirements For The Cat C Licence

You need to meet a few prerequisites before applying for a Category C licence.

  • For starters, you must be at least 18 years old at the time of applying for the licence.
  • Next, you must hold a valid UK car licence issued through the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA).
  • Finally, you’ll need to pass a medical exam, consisting primarily of a blood pressure and eyesight test. This medical examination simply aims to ensure that you can drive the vehicle safely.

How To Get A Cat C Licence

Now let’s get into the process of applying for your Category C licence. Getting this HGV driving licence involves a few key steps.

1. Apply For Provisional Licence

Start by applying for a provisional entitlement for Category C with the DVLA. You can easily do this online or by mail. In this stage, you need your regular Cat B car licence, after which a medical exam follows.

2. Pass The Theory Test

As soon as you have your provisional licence, you can book theory tests for the Cat C entitlement. You’ll need to study for this test, which covers a range of subjects such as highway codes, vehicle knowledge and safe driving practices for large vehicles.

3. Pass The Practical Tests

Finally, you’ll take two practical tests, one is a manoeuvring test and the other is a driving test on public roads. Passing both of these tests will grant you your full Cat C licence. It’s important to enrol with a DVLA-approved training provider beforehand to hone your skills and increase your chance of passing these tests.

See here for an insight into the dimensions of a 7.5-tonne lorry.

Cat C Licence Training

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The Cat C training equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to be an HGV driver. It usually involves classroom learning to prepare you for the theory test and practical driving training to get you set for the practical tests.

Theory Test

The classroom HGV training for the theory tests will offer some refreshers on the Highway Code, with a focus on rules that apply to larger vehicles. It will also offer an in-depth insight into the components of a Cat C lorry, as well as potential hazards and safe driving tips. Your HGV training provider may also introduce you to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

Practical Training

For the practical Cat C training, your instructor will help you master the control of HGVs in a safe, controlled environment. You’ll also get to perfect manoeuvres like reversing around a corner, parking in a bay and coupling and uncoupling trailers. The HGV training ends with supervised driving on public roads to help you gain experience in real-world traffic conditions.

Benefits Of Holding A Cat C Licence

Holding a Category C licence allows you to drive heavy goods vehicles, which in turn unlocks a world of benefits.

  • More job opportunities: Given the fact that you’re now an HGV driver, capable of driving larger trucks, you’ll be expanding your job options across various industries.
  • Higher earning potential: Jobs requiring a Cat C licence often come with higher salaries compared to standard driving positions since you’ll be bringing along a specialised skill.
  • Advanced licences: A Cat C licence can be a stepping stone to obtaining a category C+E licence, allowing you to drive even larger, articulated lorries.

Looking to acquire a passenger vehicle licence instead? Check out our post on the D1 licence for minibus.

Maintaining Your Cat C Licence

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Unlike a standard car licence, the Cat C requires ongoing maintenance. You’ll need to undergo medical examinations every five years if you’re 45 or older. These examinations will continue to assess your fitness to operate the vehicle safely. If you’re driving professionally, you’ll also need to maintain your Driver CPC by completing 35 hours of periodic training every five years.

Reach out to SDVH today for 7.5-t trucks for hire. Our fleet also features numerous other truck rental options for short and long-term hire.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Cat C licence is an HGV licence. HGV stands for Heavy Goods Vehicle, and the Cat C licence falls under this category. In fact, it is also sometimes referred to as a Class 2 heavy goods vehicle licence. The Cat C licence specifically qualifies you to drive a rigid body vehicle over 3.5 tonnes with a trailer up to 0.75 tonnes.

Anyone over 18 years old holding a full car licence is eligible for a Cat C licence. In addition to these requirements, ​​you’ll need to pass a medical examination by a certified doctor to ensure you’re healthy enough to operate such a large goods vehicle. Also, you should normally live in the UK and hold a valid UK passport or residence permit.

The difference between the Cat C licence and the C1 licence is the weight limit of vehicles you can operate. The Cat C licence allows you to drive rigid goods vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes GVW with no upper weight limits. With a C1 licence, you can only operate vehicles between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes.

Yes, you can drive vehicles with a maximum authorised mass of 3,500 kg with a Cat C licence. A Category C licence typically allows you to drive larger vehicles over 3,500 kg. However, to acquire this licence, you must already have a Cat B licence, which permits you to drive cars and vans up to 3,500 kg in MAM.

It costs between £1,200 and £2,000 to get a Cat C licence. For starters, you’ll spend around £100 on the medical exam, followed by £32 for the provisional licence. After this, you’ll pay for the theory test, practical test and training, all of which will set you back over £1,000. The exact cost of the training can vary based on the length of the course and your provider.


So, what is a Cat C licence? This is your passport to driving all sorts of heavy goods vehicles in the UK. Combined with a CPC, the Cat C licence will open the doors to numerous opportunities in the transportation industry, from local deliveries to transporting large freight over long distances.

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