Personal Licences for England & Wales

Selling Alcohol is the same as driving a car: you need a licence if you’re going to do it legally. Along with a premises licence, every venue in England and Wales requires at least one person, the designated premises supervisor, to hold a current Personal Licence to sell alcohol.

For anyone looking to acquire their Personal Licence, be sure to view our APLH Combined course (England & Wales), or SCPLH Combined course (Scotland). These courses allow you to achieve the necessary qualifications to complete your Personal Licence application.

For further information about Personal Licences, please read on.

What is a Personal Licence?

A personal licence allows the holder to sell alcohol, or authorise the sale of Alcohol in a licenced venue or premises. Not all staff members in your business or premises need to hold personal licences to sell alcohol however, venues commonly only have one personal licence holder, the designated premises supervisor to oversee and authorise the sale of alcohol.

How long is a personal licence valid for?

Once you have obtained your personal licence to sell alcohol, it does not have an expiry date and is valid indefinitely. Unless the licence is revoked or forfeited for committing an offence, you do not need to reapply or refresh your licence.

Application Process

In order to apply for a personal licence, by law you need to have completed a relevant licensing qualification, such as the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH). We run these accredited qualifications throughout the year from our Sheffield office and can help you or your staff to complete the qualification.  We also offer an online elearning course for those unable to make it to Sheffield or who need to study more flexibly. We have online invigilation that enables us to offer training nationwide.

Once you have obtained your qualification you can apply for your licence as long as you have not forfeited an earlier personal licence in the past 5 years and have the right to work in the UK. Forfeiture means that you have previously held a licence but a Court has revoked the 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.

We can help you apply for your Personal Licence as long as you are 18 or over, hold the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) qualification and have not held a licence that has been revoked in the last five years. 

Check our application process page for more information.


If you don’t already have the Award For Personal Licence Holders qualification (APLH) then don’t worry: as an authorised provider, we can give you the training you need to get up to scratch. All of our live courses are taught by solicitors and have a 98% pass rate. We also have solicitor support on hand for use before the final exam, if extra assistance is required.

We offer regular training courses that you can complete at your own leisure from home, including the APLH course, exam and personal licence application all-in-one that covers your entire application.


Previous convictions may stand in your way of obtaining a personal licence. The police may object to your application and it will need to be heard by the local licensing committee, who will decide whether to grant or refuse it.

Once you have your personal licence, if you commit an offence and are convicted, the court may forfeit your personal licence. Courts may also choose to suspend your personal licence for up to six months.

Find out more about how previous convictions may affect your application, including our guide to spent convictions.



Spirits, wine, beer, cider or any other fermented distilled or spirituous liquid with an 0.5% or higher abv (alcohol by volume).

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.

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.