How to get a personal licence in England

You must have a personal licence to authorise the sale of alcohol from a licensed premises. All Licensed Premises must have an allocated Personal Licence Holder, which is also known as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS). The DPS, or other personal licence holder must authorise every sale of alcohol. 

How do I apply for a personal licence to sell alcohol?

In order to apply for a personal licence, there are several criteria that you must meet before applying. There are also several forms that you must complete and submit, as well as an application fee.

Personal licence in England & Wales application criteria 

To apply for a personal licence you must:

If you meet these criteria, send the application forms and pay the supporting fees, then you can apply for a personal licence to sell alcohol in England & Wales.

Forfeiture of a previous personal licence

In order to be successful with a personal licence application in England & Wales, you must have not forfeited an earlier personal licence in the past 5 years.

Forfeiture of your personal licence means that you have previously held a licence but a Court has revoked your licence as a punishment. Revocation can occur if you are found guilty of certain criminal offences or if you lied in your original application to the licensing authority.

Will previous convictions stop me from getting a personal licence?

As long as you meet these 4 criteria (age, qualification, non-forfeiture and right to work) you can apply for a personal licence regardless of what criminal convictions you may have.

If you have criminal convictions for certain relevant offences and which are unspent the police can object to your application. In some cases convictions are considered to be ‘spent’ after a certain period of time, depending on the original sentence you received. 

The Council will require proof of your criminal record in the form of a Basic Disclosure not more than one calendar month old. The basic disclosure is an official copy of your criminal record. 

If you have no criminal convictions to disclose you must be granted a personal licence. If you have unspent relevant convictions, the Police may object and a hearing before the Licensing Committee will be arranged to decide whether to grant or refuse your licence.

Need help applying for a personal licence in England & Wales?

We can help you with every aspect of your personal licence application, from providing the necessary training course, obtaining the basic disclosure and preparing and submitting your application to the licensing authority.

To join one of our training courses, view the APLH Combined course (England & Wales), or SCPLH Combined course (Scotland) today. These course pages will get you the necessary qualification needed to complete your Personal Licence application, and our team will be on hand to provide support along the way.

Get in touch with John Gaunt & Partners for any other questions regarding your Personal Licence or Personal Licence applications.


Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH)

This is an example of an accredited qualification required by anybody seeking a Personal Licence for England & Wales.  All applicants for a personal licence must first obtain an accredited qualification.

Basic Disclosure

An official copy of your criminal record. 

Designated Premises Supervisor

The person who is nominated as the single point of accountability in a premises, licensed to sell alcohol.  To be a Designated Premises supervisor you must be a Personal Licence holder.

Personal Licence

A licence granted pursuant to s.111 of Licensing Act 2003 by a licensing authority to an individual authorising that person to supply alcohol, or authorise the supply of alcohol, in accordance with the terms of a premises licence.