This is a common question we’re getting from Private Hire drivers, both existing and new applicants.
From new private hire applicants, we are getting the question; “do I do the SERU assessment before or after my PCO application?”.
The answer for this is, at the moment it is after you apply as TfL will invite you to do the SERU assessment. This means you cannot book the SERU assessment yourself. It is best to complete your full PCO licence application, submit it and then as and when TfL contacts you with an invitation via letter or email, you can go ahead and book a SERU test date at one of 2 TfL SERU test centres.
Here is the current flow of things you need to do to apply for a Private Hire licence with TfL to become a minicab driver in London.
- Register with TfL
You have to start the Private Hire Licence application form by registering online with TfL, here is the link you need to visit to register – TfL Private Hire Application
- Enhanced DBS check
You need to complete your Enhanced DBS check to get your DBS certificate which is a criminal background check. This must be done using TfL’s service provider, you cannot use any other provider. The link to TfL’s DBS provider is TfL CRB Check – (https://fadv.onlinedisclosures.co.uk/Registration/Registration )
- Medical Check
You must do this at your GP, use the yellow TfL medical form provided when you log on to complete your private hire application online.
- HMRC Tax Check
As you will most likely become self-employed as a Private Hire driver, you need to register with HMRC and obtain your unique 9-character tax check code to share with TfL. You will need to register on the GOV.UK Government Gateway. You can find more information on this at gov.uk
After you have done these 4 steps, you should submit your Private Hire Licence application online and then once TfL has started processing your application, they will do the following.
- Topographical Skills Assessment
You will be receive a letter and email from TfL with your Topographical Skills Assessment date, time and location. You will need to attend the TfL topographical test centre to take the Topographical Skills Assessment.
- SERU Assessment
TfL will also send you a letter and email inviting you to book your SERU Assessment. This may be after you have passed your topographical skills assessment and maybe even after your Private Hire License has been issued.
Update 06/07/2023 : On TfL’s updated TPH Driver Policy on 6th of July 2023, they stated that the SERU Assessment date will be the same as your Topographical Skills Assessment date.
- Speaking & Listening Assessment
When you get the invite for your SERU assessment, you may also be asked to take the TfL Speaking & Listening Assessment. For existing private hire license holder this depends on the status of your English Language Requirement. Find out more about the TfL Speaking & Listening test here.
We hope in the future, once all the SERU assessment deadlines have past, TfL makes the process of booking topographical skills assessments and SERU assessments easier by having an online booking system. Until then drivers will just have to wait patiently, our advice is to make sure you prepare for the SERU assessment as TfL may invite you at any time.