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Applying for a vehicle recovery (V) endorsement

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 Transport Agency concerns related to driving.

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

Who needs a vehicle recovery endorsement?

Tow truck and car transporter drivers are the most common drivers who need an endorsement for vehicle recovery. If you operate a vehicle recovery service of any kind, you’ll also need a V endorsement.

If you're not sure whether you need a V endorsement, please call us on 0800 822 422.

What is a vehicle recovery service?

A vehicle recovery service is the towing or carrying, on any road, of a motor vehicle.

The size or design of the towing or carrying vehicle doesn't matter, nor whether the towing or carrying of the vehicle is carried out by a person intending to repair the vehicle.

It doesn’t include the following activities:

  • towing or carrying your own vehicle

  • towing or carrying a motorcycle or moped

  • the towing or carrying of one motor vehicle by another when not directly or indirectly for reward, and when the towing or carrying vehicle is not designed or adapted for towing or carrying motor vehicles

  • towing of disabled vehicles using a rope or flat tow by:

    • a person employed or contracted by a motoring association or an insurance company where the towing or carrying is limited to the removal of a vehicle to a place of safety, or

    • the owner or employee of a garage or workshop who intends to repair the vehicle

  • when the NZ Transport agency has notified the operator of the service that the vehicles carried can be considered goods

  • the removal of vehicles by the NZ Defence Force tow trucks at the request of an enforcement officer

  • routine towing services operated by NZ Defence Force personnel in areas where there is no suitable and available commercial towing service nearby

  • any service specified as an exempt vehicle recovery service.

What do I need to apply?

  • You must have held a full New Zealand car licence (class 1) for at least two years

  • You'll need to complete an approved course
  • You’ll need a medical certificate (unless you’ve provided one to the Transport Agency in the last five years)

  • If you’re not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you’ll need a work permit or visa approving work in New Zealand in the appropriate field

  • You’ll need a current passport or New Zealand driver licence, or another form of acceptable evidence of identity.

How do I apply?

  1. Complete an Application for new V, I or O endorsement application form (DL20B) [PDF, 466 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 to apply?

  1 year 5 years
Endorsement application $73.00 $254.90
Vetting fee $9.70 $48.50
Full licence test* $59.90 $59.90
Total cost $142.60 $363.30

What happens next?

Your application will be sent to the NZ Transport Agency to be processed, and for the fit and proper person check to be performed.

  • If you’ve provided all the necessary information with your application and all the endorsement requirements have been met, please allow 10 working days for your application to be processed.

  • If some information hasn’t been provided yet, or if some requirements haven’t been met, your application will take longer to process.

If you're cleared and your application is granted, your endorsement will be approved and your new licence will be made and sent to you.

If you’re not cleared, you’ll receive a letter explaining this and the process you may take to appeal the decision in 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, 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 endorsement is approved, we’ll send you a new photo driver licence (and ID card) within 15-20 days.

  • If your endorsement is declined, we’ll send you a letter explaining why, and what you can do.

Requirements for a V endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get a V endorsement, you must have a current New Zealand full licence (class 1) that you have held for at least two years.

Holding an equivalent overseas licence doesn’t meet this requirement. If you’ve held an overseas licence, you may be able apply for an exemption to get your overseas driving experience recognised. You’ll still need to sit a practical driving test (see below).

Make sure you have the right class of licence

If you're planning to drive a heavy vehicle in a vehicle recovery service, make sure you have the right class of driver licence.

Practical driving test

Before a V endorsement is granted you must demonstrate your ability to drive safely. This means you’ll need to sit a full licence test or show that you’ve passed one in the last five years.

It's easy to book the test online before you go into the agent. If you book online, you'll still need to go to a driver licensing agent before your test to make your application.

Book a driver licence test

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

Your application will be sent to the Transport Agency so that a fit and proper person check can be done. This will check on things like transport-related offences, criminal convictions and past complaints about you.

Medical certificate

It’s important that commercial drivers are in good health. We want to ensure that you won’t cause an accident through a health-related incident when you’re responsible for the lives of passengers or driving large vehicles on public roads.

Ask your doctor to complete a Transport Agency medical certificate for you.

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

You’ll need to complete a course

You'll need to provide a certificate showing you've successfully completed an approved V endorsement course. This course will ensure you know the legal requirements for vehicle recovery services and how to manage and log your time spent driving.

  • If you want to, you can make your application before sitting the V endorsement course. You can then do the course while the application is being processed (it can take up to eight weeks)
  • If you’re not sure whether you might pass the fit and proper person check, you can choose to make your application and have the check done first. If you pass the check, you’ll be sent a Notice of determination (valid for 90 days) to let you know, and you can then do your course.

Find an approved course provider in your area

Passing the endorsement course doesn’t guarantee the approval of your application for a V endorsement. It is only one of the necessary steps.


Download Factsheet 46: V endorsement for vehicle recovery service [PDF, 80 KB]

Download Factsheet 66: Driver licensing courses for licence classes and endorsements [PDF, 68 KB]


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