Motorhome Driving Licences
& The Law

Are You Licensed To Drive A Motorhome?

Before you buy or even test drive a motorhome, it’s vital to understand if your driving licence will let you. You will be breaking the law if you hit the road without the proper motorhome driving licence.

That’s what this guide is for. So let’s jump right in:

Section 1

Understanding your Driver’s Licence

Can I Drive a Motorhome with a Car Licence?

Yes. You can drive a motorhome (including campervans) on a car licence as long as it weighs fewer than 3,500kg. That still leaves you with a great choice of models to choose from. In fact, many manufacturers deliberately try to keep their models below 3,500kg — to encourage more people to buy them. If it’s the right weight, you can simply climb behind the wheel and go. No extra test or qualification is required.

And if you’re old enough to have passed your driving test before 1 January 1997, then you can drive pretty much any motorhome on the market. A licence that predates 1 January 1997 will let you drive a motorhome as long as it weighs fewer than 7,500kg. 

Only the very largest American RV motorhomes are likely to be heavier than 7,500kg. 

Why do you Need a Special Licence to Drive a Motorhome after 1996?

Driving a big vehicle up to 7,500kg can be intimidating and feels a lot different to driving regular-sized cars or even a large van. Not everyone feels comfortable or safe behind the wheel. 

At some point, the government thought it would be safer to require that all new drivers learn about the challenges and considerations needed before driving a large vehicle. And so a law was passed that came into effect on 1 January 1997.

The Different Driving Licence Images

If you passed your driving test at any point after the first day of 1997 then it should look something like this on the back:

This standard licence lets you:

  • Drive vehicles in categories B, B1 and BE (despite it not showing on this image for BE, you will still have BE entitlements)

  • Drive a vehicle with a Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) of 3,500kg

  • Tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 750kg behind your car

If you passed your driving test at any point after the first day of 1997 then it should look something like this on the back:

As you can see, a licence this old automatically gives you a category C1 entitlement. This is essentially a bona fide motorhome licence. 

This standard licence lets you:

  • Drive C category vehicles with a MAM of up to 7,500kg

  • Gives you C1E entitlements — meaning you can drive vehicles weighing up to 7,500kg with trailers over 750kg

  • Dive a vehicle with a fully-loaded trailer. However, the fully-loaded trailer cannot weigh more than the vehicle. And the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer cannot be over 12,000kg

  • It’s thought of as a lower end, entry-level HGV licence 
Driver's licence 1996 & earlier

With a standard pre-1997 driving licence you can drive a vehicle up to 7,500kg in weight. It’s extremely unlikely you’ll find a motorhome heavier than that in the UK or Europe.

Top Tip:

If you’re still not sure what your driving licence entitlements are, you can find out directly on the UK Gov website. Just type in “Gov UK view driving licence” into your search engine. You’ll need your driving licence, national insurance number, and the postcode on your licence to get the information.

Section 2

Getting a Licence for Large Motorhomes

What to do if you want to drive a motorhome over 3,500kg

If your motorhome driving licence was issued after 1996 and doesn’t let you drive the bigger models you will need to:

  • Apply and successfully pass an HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) medical test
  • Take and pass an additional training course and test

Only then will the C category entitlements will be added to your licence. You will now be able to drive a vehicle up to 7,500kg. 

But be careful! If you want the privilege of being able to tow a trailer behind these even larger motorhomes, then you will need to pass an extra test for CE entitlements.

Always research if what you’re doing is within the law. 

What to do if you want to drive the very biggest, American RV-style motorhomes

You will need an HGV licence. Because these models are so massive, you will need to have both C and CE entitlements. This will put you in the Class 1 Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence category. 

Although please note that the UK government won’t let you drive an RV motorhome if it’s absolutely massive or impractical on our tiny roads. In fact, it is illegal to use or sell a vehicle that is over 2.55 metres wide or over 12 metres in length. (Although these measurements are just for the body itself and don’t take into account your driving mirrors, rear bumpers, reflectors or lamps.)

What licence do I need to drive a motorhome?

Did you know?

MAM refers to ‘maximum authorised mass’. It refers to the total weight of the vehicle or trailer. The MAM number is set for safety reasons so that you can drive safely on the road. It INCLUDES the maximum load that you can carry in the vehicle too. 

You can find the MAM either in the owner’s manual or on a plate or sticker fitted to the motorhome. Sometimes it is also referred to as the ‘permissible maximum weight’ or ‘gross vehicle weight’.

Section 3

Driving at 70+ Years Old

Can I drive a motorhome at 70?

Yes, but you will have to renew your driving licence and pass a medical to prove you are still able to drive the larger models. You might even be asked to take a driving assessment or go through further practical tests by the DVLA.

If you meet the minimum eyesight requirement and aren’t prevented from driving for any reason, it should be a straightforward process to renew your motorhome driving licence at 70. You can view the government’s driving eyesight rules here. 

The DVLA will send over a D46P application form about 90 days before your 70th birthday. To renew, complete the form and deliver it to the DVLA together with your current driving licence photocard.

You may also need to provide a fresh passport-style photo — the form will let you know if this is required.

If you apply by post, it may take up to three weeks. It is faster to renew your license using the GOV.UK website. But to do so, you must register. If you visit the website, you will be provided step-by-step instructions on what to do.

The government’s standard renewal procedure will automatically strip you of your C1 entitlement. And if you lose your C1 entitlement, you will no longer be able to drive a motorhome if it weighs between 3,500kg and 7,500kg. 

To prevent your C1 entitlement from automatically being taken away, fill in form D2 on your renewal documents. Then download and ask your GP to fill in D4 — the medical report form. Although bear in mind that this might count as a private healthcare appointment. Meaning your GP might charge a fee for the service. 

Once the DVLA is happy that you can drive safely, you’ll be free to carry on as normal. Although this process will need to be repeated every three years. 

Download the D4 medical examination report here.

Top Tip

You will likely have to pay a doctor to go over the D4 medical report for you. But it doesn’t have to be your GP. You can shop around online for doctors who will be willing to look over the report for you, for the cheapest price.

What to expect from a medical examination

First, your doctor will talk to you about whether you have any conditions that may possibly interfere with your driving. After that, things will get physical. Your doctor will test your eyesight, among other things. 

And that’s it! The whole thing shouldn’t last longer than an hour. Then you will be in a position to take a C1 training course, at the end of which will follow an hour-long exam. In which case your examiner will assess your skills against the same criteria that you would have done so in your initial driving test.

This medical won’t be free. Either your GP or a private doctor can carry out your medical. But you’ll have to pay for the service regardless. 

And needless to say, you must be honest when answering questions about your medical. Failure to do so could get you into trouble. 

What to do if you don’t want to take a medical

If you don’t want to — or if you fail — your medical, there is still one other option. Downplating. You could have your motorhome downplated so that it is certified to operate at 3,500kg. However, you must be careful to make sure that it does not weigh more than 3,500kg once it is fully loaded with everything you need. 

Downplating has its own advantages and disadvantages so it’s worth checking them out for yourself. Bear in mind that you will still have to pay more in road tax, even if you downplate your vehicle.

Section 4

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. You do not need any kind of special licence to rent an RV in the United States. Your UK driver’s licence will be acceptable, but you must be aged 25 or over. And your driver’s licence has to have been valid for more than 12 months.

Yes. You can rent an RV in Canada as long as you have an ordinary, valid UK driving licence. But you must be aged 21 or over. And your driver’s licence has to have been valid for more than 12 months.

Yes. With a B licence you can drive cars, small motorhomes and campervans as long as they are under 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes) in weight. Most motorhomes are in this category. To drive heavier models, you will need more than a B licence.

Yes. A regular car licence will do just fine — so long as the campervan doesn’t weigh more than 3,500kg (which would be very unlikely).

A campervan is a category B (or B-class) motorhome. You will be able to drive virtually all campervan models with a standard Category B driver’s licence. Learn more about the different types of motorhomes here.

Is your motorhome too big, or are you feeling too old to drive it? Then we can help.

Hopefully this guide has cleared a lot of things up and answered all of your questions. Perhaps you have even decided now that you are thinking of selling up. If that’s the case, then we’ll buy your motorhome from you quickly and hassle-free.

And because we operate within a large network of buyers, we’re able to offer great value prices to our customers. Just check out our five-star Trustpilot reviews

We’ll come and collect your motorhome personally from a location of your choice, and pay for it INSTANTLY via an instant bank transfer. 

There are no call-out fees or hidden charges. And unlike private Internet listings, you won’t have to pay for advert listings or worry about dodgy buyers, time-wasters, or inconvenient viewing times. 

All you’ll have to do is give us a few quick details on the condition of your motorhome so that we’ll know what to expect. It’ll only take a minute — and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 

Either way, I hope you found the information in this article useful. Thank you for reading.

A Note from the Author — Shane Malpass

In the last 10 years, we’ve helped hundreds of happy customers to sell up their motorhomes quickly, without a fuss and no matter what the condition — for a great price in return.

So if you want to simply sell your motorhome and move on, or are looking to upgrade to a newer model or caravan — we’re here to make you happy and keep you satisfied. Your opinions matter to us. Just check out our five-star TrustPilot reviews!

You can give me a call directly on 07879 816463. In the meantime, find out more about me here and follow our YouTube channel for all the latest caravan and motorhome reviews, tips, and tricks.