The Personal Licence to Authorise Sale of Alcohol

Personal Licence Application Service

  • Are you a foreign national who wishes to obtain a Personal Licence?
  • Have you previously had contact with either the police or the judicial system (cautions, convictions etc.)
  • We advise on the documentation required and how to obtain it.
  • We prepare your application forms for submission to the Local Authority.
Learn more

Cost: £99

What is a Personal Licence?

  • Anyone working in a licensed premises can sell alcohol provided that sales are authorised by a Personal Licence holder.
  • Off-licences, bars or restaurants in England or Wales with a Premises Licence to sell alcohol to the public must by law appoint a Designated Premises Supervisor, or DPS. The DPS is required to hold a Personal Licence which permits them to authorise sales of alcohol.
  • A DPS authorising sales of alcohol does not have to be present on the premises to oversee each sale but must be contactable at all times, particularly when problems arise.
  • Premises often employ additional Personal Licence holders to protect against prolonged absence of the DPS and to provide greater flexibility for authorising sales. This makes the Personal Licence an attractive qualification for employers in the Licensed Trade.

arrow Train for a Personal Licence with Pro-Leagle's APLH Licensing Manual

How do I apply for a Personal Licence?

  • Personal Licences are issued by Licensing Authorities. These are Local District Council bodies in England and Wales.
  • Qualifying applicants must apply for a Personal Licence to the Licensing Authority of the Local Council covering the area in which they live.
  • You can contact your Local Council to learn about their application procedure. If you think your application may be complicated (e.g. you have previous criminal convictions) Pro-Leagle can handle it for you for £99. Contact us about this service.

Do I qualify for a Personal Licence?

  • If an applicant meets all four of the criteria below, a Licensing Authority must issue a licence. An applicant must:
    1. be aged 18 or over;
    2. have the right to live and work in the UK.
    3. possess a licensing qualification;
    4. have not had their Personal Licence forfeited in the previous 5 years;
    5. have not been convicted of any relevant or equivalent foreign offence.
  • Any applicant who does not meet criteria 1-4 above will be automatically rejected.
  • If a relevant or foreign offence has been committed, the application will be passed to the appropriate Chief of Police who may reject the application on the basis that the prevention of crime and disorder objective could be undermined. Such a rejection must be given, with an explanation, within 14 days. There is a right of appeal against this rejection.

What kind of licensing qualification do I need?

Valid qualifications include:

  1. An Accredited Licensing Qualification* Applies to most applicants

    The Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) (formerly known as the National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (NCPLH)) which must be obtained from an accredited body:

    • EDI (QCF Recognition number RN5134)
    • HABC (QCF Recognition number RN5219)
    • BIIAB (QCF Recognition number RN5118)
    • NCFE (QCF Recognition number RN5156)
    • SQA (QCF Recognition number RN5167)

    Pro-Leagle was previously an approved BIIAB centre for the APLH examination. We are now a training provider and supply licensing manual for the exam.

  2. A Certified Qualification

    This is a pre-February 2005 qualification designated by the Secretary of State as being comparable to an accredited licensing qualification.

  3. An Equivalent Licensing Qualification

    This is a qualification obtained in Scotland, Northern Ireland or in the European Economic Area which is equivalent to an accredited or certified qualification. For example, the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SCPLH).

  4. Status as a Person of Prescribed Description

    You can sell alcohol in England and Wales if you are a "Prescribed Person". Prescribed people are:

    • A member of the company of the Master, Wardens, Freemen and Commonality of the Mystery of the Vintners of the City of London.
    • A person operating premises under a licence granted by the University of Cambridge.
    • A person operating premises under a licence granted by the Board of the Green.

I used to have a Personal Licence. How do I know if it was forfeited?

  • Alcohol is often linked to crime and disorder. Because of this, criminal activity by Personal Licence holders is taken very seriously.
  • If a Personal Licence holder is convicted of a criminal offence considered relevant to the Licensed Trade, the court may revoke their Personal Licence as part of the sentence. The licence is then considered forfeit.

What is meant by relevant or foreign offences?

  • A 'relevant offence' means an offence listed in Schedule 4 of the Licensing Act 2003.
  • A 'foreign offence' means an offence under the law of any place outside England and Wales which could reasonably be considered to be equivalent to a relevant offence.
  • If you have been convicted of any relevant or foreign offences you will also need to supply a Disclosure of Criminal Convictions and Declaration Form with your application. Your Personal Licence application will be passed to the appropriate Chief of Police who may then reject the application. The rejection must be given, with an explanation, within 14 days. There is a right of appeal.
  • If you are convicted of any relevant or foreign offence during the period between when your application is made and when your application is determined or withdrawn, you must notify the authority to which your application was made.
Specific Examples:
  1. I previously received a police caution. Will it affect my Personal Licence application?
    • A police caution is not the same as a conviction (i.e. you have not be charged and convicted at Court). You do not need to disclose this as part of your Personal Licence application.
  2. I was convicted of drink-driving and received a fine. Will I still be able to obtain a Personal Licence?
    • Drink driving is considered a 'relevant offence' under the Licensing Act 2003. This means that you may not be able to obtain a Personal Licence until your conviction is spent.
    • Generally if a relevant offence does not receive a custodial sentence it will become spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c.53) after 5 years.
    • Spent offences should not be included on the application form. However, you must ensure that the offence is actually spent before you omit it.
    • The length of time required for a conviction to become spent depends on the offence committed. However, if you received a custodial sentence of more than 2 1/2 years, the conviction cannot become spent and is permanent.