Driving licence requirements for agricultural vehicles

26 July 2023

Wheat being harvested

Is your big kit being driven legally? We look at the driving licence entitlements you and your workers need to drive different types of agricultural vehicles on the road, including telehandlers, sprayers and tracked vehicles.

Category F driving licence

In order to drive a tractor on the road, you need to have a category F driving licence.

There are two ways to get a category F licence:

  • Pass a car driving test. Category F is automatically acquired when you pass a car driving test. It is an entitlement that is linked to car category B. So with a category B licence, a driver gets the entitlement to drive a car and also gets the entitlement to drive a tractor.
  • Take a standalone tractor driving test. If you pass this test, you are issued with a category F licence. This allows you to drive agricultural tractors and trailers only. It will not cover any other type of vehicle.

What can 16-year-olds drive?

At age 16 a person with a category F licence is restricted to driving an agricultural tractor with a maximum width of 2.45m. This width restriction applies to both the tractor and the trailer with either a single axle or close coupled double axle.

Telehandlers and sprayers

A category B licence also allows the holder to drive other vehicles which are registered as agricultural machines on the road.

These include vehicles such as sprayers and telehandlers.

However, there are age restrictions on the maximum vehicle weights that can be driven by younger drivers:

  • Agricultural vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes – minimum age 17
  • Agricultural vehicles 3.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes – minimum age 18
  • Agricultural vehicles over 7.5 tonne – minimum age 21

Please note that tractors are not subject to the age/weight restrictions.

Category H – tracked vehicles

Tracked vehicles steered by their tracks are in a separate H category. There is no automatic entitlement to drive vehicles in category H linked to the B category. In order to get the licence you need to drive tracked vehicles steered by their tracks, you must have passed an additional H category driving test.

This requirement is sometimes missed by drivers. If someone needs to drive a category H vehicle which is steered by its tracks, and they do not have a category H entitlement they should make arrangements to take the test as soon as possible.

Fast Tractors

High speed tractors only have two machines that fall into this category: JCB Fastrac and Mercedes Unimog, where the Unimog is registered as a tractor. The Unimog can fall within various categories and the rules which apply differ depending on its functionality, its use and how it is taxed with DVLA. 

For advice on licence requirements and other information on fast tractors, visit: High speed tractors vs. standard tractors – what’s the difference?

Seasonal worker considerations

As agriculture employ many seasonal workers from outside the UK it is important to understand the rules around temporary residents as non-UK driving licences are not always comparable with UK driving licences. 

EEA/EU licences Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man

Any category of vehicle shown on the user’s licence can be driven in the UK on a temporary or permanent basis. When a driver from these regions reaches 70, they will need to exchange their licence UK licence, as their licence will expire.

If the resident has a car licence, but the country of issue does not include the tractor provision within the car licence, the resident will not be able to drive a tractor on this licence, and Category F test will need to be completed.

Countries applicable:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Other countries

Workers will only be able to drive vehicles up to a MAM (maximum authorised mass) of 3.5 tons, and with up to 8 passenger seats. This information must be shown on the user’s licence.

Licences can be exchanged on arrival in the UK if the driver is staying more than 185 days. Exchanging for a category B licence will automatically grant the category F licence.

See Exchange a foreign driving licence – GOV.UK for more information.

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Ukraine
  • UAE
  • Zimbabwe

More information

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