Current application processing times

To help minimise delays, please ensure you submit your application as early as possible.

Standard applications are more likely to be processed without delay, and meet the following criteria:

  • Application completed correctly
  • All required documents are attached
  • No fit and proper check issues
  • No prior Waka Kotahi concerns related to driving.

Check the table to see how long it will take us to process your application.

Find out who needs an endorsement to carry passengers and how to get one.

Who needs a passenger endorsement?

If you carry passengers for hire or reward you need a passenger (P) endorsement.

You also need a P endorsement if you drive a large passenger service vehicle – even if you're not being paid for it.

Volunteers and some others may not need a P endorsement. See Volunteer drivers and exempt passenger services to check if that’s you.

Small / large vehicle P endorsement

Small passenger service vehicle

A small passenger service vehicle has 12 seats or less, including the driver.

For example, taxi, shuttle, app-based service, private hire service. You also need a P endorsement if you're a dial-a-driver and drive the customer’s vehicle.

To drive a small passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement
  • a current driver identification (ID) card
  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you’re driving. For example, a class 1 licence for a car or a van
  • a small passenger service licence, or work for someone who holds one.

You’ll need to choose a unique identifier for your driver ID card. This should be an easy to remember name, with up to eight alphabetic characters.

Large passenger service vehicle

A large passenger service vehicle has more than 12 seats.

To drive a large passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement
  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you’re driving (for example, if you’re driving a bus with a gross vehicle mass of 10,000kg, you’ll need a class 2 licence)
  • a large passenger service licence, or work for someone who holds one.

You don't need to have an ID card to drive large passenger service vehicles.

Why do I need a passenger endorsement?

To make sure people are safe when using a passenger service, Waka Kotahi checks the background of anyone applying for an endorsement to carry passengers, including criminal history, traffic offences, and medical health.

What do I need?

How do I apply?

  1. Complete an Application for new passenger (P) endorsement application form (DL20A) [PDF, 332 KB].
  2. Take the completed form and the above documents to a driver licensing agent.
  3. Pay the application fee.
  4. The agent will take your photo and signature.

How much does it cost?

You can choose to get your endorsement for 1 year or 5 years. The application fee is the same no matter which term you choose.

Type Term Application fee Vetting fee Total
Small vehicles 1 year $213.90 $9.70 $223.60
5 years $48.50 $262.40
Large vehicles 1 year $203.10 $9.701 $212.80
5 years

1 If you only drive large passenger vehicles you only pay the vetting fee once every 5 years.

What happens next?

If you’ve given us all the information we need and you meet all the endorsement requirements, your application will be processed within 22 working days.

If you haven’t given us everything we need, or you haven’t met some requirements, your application will take longer to process.

If your application is granted, your new licence showing you hold a P endorsement will be sent to you. You must not carry passengers until you get your new licence.

If you don’t meet the fit and proper requirements, we’ll tell you in writing and give you a chance to explain before we make the final decision. If we decide to decline your application you can appeal our decision to the District Court.

Use our online tracking tool(external link) to view your application status:

Status What does this mean?
Received We’ve got your application, but we haven’t started working on it yet. We’ll send you an email to let you know it’s been received.
Gathering information

We’re waiting for something.

For example, we could be waiting for vetting information from the police, more information from a foreign country, or reviewing your medical certificate.

We’ll contact you if we need more information from you.

Processing We’ve got all the information we need, and we’re now assessing your application.

We’ve finished processing your application.

  • If your passenger endorsement is approved, we’ll send you a new photo driver licence (and ID card if relevant) within 7-10 days.
  • If your passenger endorsement is declined, we’ll send you a letter explaining why, and what you can do.

Requirements for a P endorsement

Licensing requirements

You must have held a current New Zealand full car licence (class 1) for at least two years to get a P endorsement.

Holding an equivalent overseas licence doesn’t meet this requirement, but you may be able to apply for an exemption to get your overseas driving experience recognised.

Make sure you have the right class of licence

If you’re planning to drive a heavy vehicle as a passenger service vehicle, make sure you have the right class of driver licence.

We’ll check to see if you’re a fit and proper person

To make sure people are safe while using passenger services in New Zealand, a fit and proper person check will be done. This will check on things like transport-related offences, criminal convictions, and past complaints about you. Serious criminal convictions may prevent you from ever receiving a passenger endorsement.

Once you have your endorsement, we use real-time data to make sure you continue to meet our fit and proper person criteria.

Foreign documentation

If you’ve lived overseas for more than 12 months after the age of 14, or since your last application, you’ll need to have police and traffic documentation from those countries too.

You must provide certified copies of these documents when you apply for your endorsement at the agent. If you don’t, your application will not be accepted.

Immigration status

You don’t need to provide evidence of your immigration status to Waka Kotahi.

Go to link) for more information about working in New Zealand.

Medical certificate

Commercial drivers must be in good health. We want to make sure that you won’t cause an accident through health-related issues when you’re responsible for the lives of passengers or driving large vehicles on public roads.

Ask your doctor to complete a Waka Kotahi medical certificate for you.

If you need a medical certificate, you must provide it when you apply for your endorsement at the agent. If you don’t, your application will not be accepted.

Eyesight requirements

Good vision is essential to driving a vehicle safely. You’ll need to provide proof your vision meets the standards for safe driving.

Endorsement length

You can choose whether you want your endorsement to last for one year or five years.

When the term of your endorsement has ended, you must renew the endorsement if you want to keep working as a passenger service driver.

Find out more about renewing your passenger endorsement


Download Factsheet 42: P endorsements for carrying passengers [PDF, 265 KB]