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 Waka Kotahi concerns related to driving.

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

Find out how to get a V endorsement.

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.

You don't need a V endorsement for:

  • 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 Waka Kotahi 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?

How do I apply?

  1. Complete an Application for new V, I or O endorsement application form (DL20B) [PDF, 472 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.

 Term Application fee Vetting fee Total Test fee 1
1 year $198.90 $9.70 $208.60 $59.90
5 years $48.50 $247.40

1 The full licence test isn’t required if you’ve passed a class 1 full licence test in the last 5 years. This is a one-off fee you pay when you book the test for the first time, there are no fees for changing, cancelling or rebooking a test.

What happens next?

Your application is sent to Waka Kotahi for processing. We'll also do the fit and proper person check.

  • If you’ve given us all the information we need and you meet all the endorsement requirements your application will be processed within 15 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 V endorsement will be sent to you. You must not tow or carry vehicles 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, 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 7-10 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 held a current New Zealand full licence (class 1) 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.

ID card

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

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 unless you’ve already passed one in the last five years.

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

Your application will be sent to Waka Kotahi 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

Commercial drivers must be in good health. We want to make sure you won’t cause a crash 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

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 make sure you know the legal requirements for vehicle recovery services and how to manage and log your time spent driving.

When you apply, you can either:

  • include a certificate showing you’ve successfully completed an approved course, or
  • apply without completing an approved course and either:
    • wait for the result of the fit and proper person check before doing a course, or
    • complete an approved course while you wait for the result of the fit and proper person check.

Find an approved course provider in your area

Having a course certificate doesn’t mean you can drive a vehicle recovery service vehicle on the road. You must also successfully apply and get the V endorsement on your driver licence.


Download Factsheet 46: V endorsement for vehicle recovery service [PDF, 237 KB]

Download Factsheet 66: Driver licensing courses for licence classes and endorsements [PDF, 237 KB]