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Personal licence

The law regarding Personal Licences is detailed in Part 6 of the Licensing Act 2003 and also in the Licensing Act 2003 (Personal Licences) Regulations 2004.

The Act defines a 'personal licence' as a licence which is granted to an individual which authorises them to sell alcohol or to supply alcohol in accordance with a premises licence.

A Personal Licence lasts indefinitely unless revoked, or forfeited.

During the lifetime of a licence the licence holder has a duty to notify the Licensing Authority of any change in their name or address.

A licence holder also has a duty to notify a court that they hold a personal licence if they are charged with a relevant offence (Schedule 4 of the Act outlines which offences are deemed as relevant offences).

A licence holder also has a duty to notify the Licensing Authority should they be convicted of a relevant or foreign offence and must provide their licence to the Licensing Authority for updating.

A licence holder also has a duty to produce their personal licence when asked to do so by a police officer or an authorised officer of the Licensing Authority at the premises where they are authorising the sale or supply of alcohol.

Download the application form:       Personal Licence Application Form (PDF) [311KB] (opens new window)

Eligibility criteria

In order to apply for a Personal Licence you must be aged 18 or over and possess a relevant licensing qualification.

From 6 April 2017, a personal licence may not be issued to an individual or an individual in a partnership which is not a limited liability partnership who is resident in the UK who:

  • does not have the right to live and work in the UK; or
  • is subject to a condition preventing him or her from doing work relating to the carrying on of a licensable activity

Any personal licence issued in respect of an application made on or after 6 April 2017 will become invalid if the holder ceases to be entitled to work in the UK.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have the right to work in the UK and are not subject to a condition preventing them from doing work relating to the carrying on of a licensing activity. They do this by providing with this application copies or scanned copies of the following documents (which do not need to be certified).

Documents which demonstrate entitlement to work in the UK:

  • An expired or current passport showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK [please see note below about which sections of the passport to copy]
  • An expired or current passport or national identity card showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland
  • A Registration Certificate or document certifying permanent residence issued by the Home Office to a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland
  • A Permanent Residence Card issued by the Home Office to the family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland
  • A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK
  • A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK
  • A current Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, when produced in combination with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer
  • A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder's parents or adoptive parents, when produced in combination withan official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer
  • A birth or adoption certificate issued in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland when produced in combination with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer
  • A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, when produced in combination with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer
  • A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK and is currently allowed to work and is not subject to a condition preventing the holder from doing work relating to the carrying on of a licensable activity
  • A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the holder which indicates that the named person can currently stay in the UK and is allowed to work relation to the carrying on of a licensable activity
  • A current Residence Card issued by the Home Office to a person who is not a national of a European Economic Area state or Switzerland but who is a family member of such a national or who has derivative rights or residence
  • A current Immigration Status Document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK, and is allowed to work and is not subject to a condition preventing the holder from doing work relating to the carrying on of a licensable activity when produced in combination withan official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer
  • A Certificate of Application, less than 6 months old, issued by the Home Office under regulation 17(3) or 18A (2) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, to a person who is not a national of a European Economic Area state or Switzerland but who is a family member of such a national or who has derivative rights of residence
  • Reasonable evidence that the person has an outstanding application to vary their permission to be in the UK with the Home Office such as the Home Office acknowledgement letter or proof of postage evidence, or reasonable evidence that the person has an appeal or administrative review pending on an immigration decision, such as an appeal or administrative review reference number
  • Reasonable evidence that a person who is not a national of a European Economic Area state or Switzerland but who is a family member of such a national or who has derivative rights of residence in exercising treaty rights in the UK including:

- evidence of the applicant's own identity - such as a passport,

- evidence of their relationship with the European Economic Area family member - e.g. a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate or birth certificate, and

- evidence that the European Economic Area national has a right of permanent residence in the UK or is one of the following if they have been in the UK for more than 3 months:

(i) working e.g. employment contract, wage slips, letter from the employer,

(ii) self-employed e.g. contracts, invoices, or audited accounts with a bank,

(iii) studying e.g. letter from the school, college or university and evidence of sufficient funds; or

(iv) self-sufficient e.g. bank statements.

Family members of European Economic Area nationals who are studying or financially independent must also provide evidence that the European Economic Area national and any family members hold comprehensive sickness insurance in the UK. This can include a private medical insurance policy, an EHIC card or an S1, S2 or S3 form.

Original documents must not be sent to licensing authorities. If the document copied is a passport, a copy of the following pages should be provided:

(i). any page containing the holder's personal details including nationality;

(ii) any page containing the holder's photograph;

(iii) any page containing the holder's signature;

(iv) any page containing the date of expiry; and

(v) any page containing information indicating the holder has permission to enter or remain in the UK and is

permitted to work

If the document is not a passport, a copy of the whole document should be provided.

Your right to work will be checked as part of your licensing application and this could involve us checking your immigration status with the Home Office. We may otherwise share information with the Home Office. Your licence application will not be determined until you have complied with this guidance.

Application process

Applications for a Personal Licence must be made to the Licensing Authority where you live rather than where you work.

Application must be in a specific format and be accompanied by:

  • The required fee
  • Two passport style photographs

- These must have a light background and show the face fully uncovered and without sunglasses and without a head covering unless the applicant wears one due to their religious beliefs

- One of the photographs must also be endorsed with a statement verifying the likeness of the photograph by a solicitor, notary, a person of standing in the Community or any individual with a personal qualification. The suggested wording of the statement is as follows:

'I (Name of endorser), (Position of endorser) hereby confirm this photograph to be a true likeness of (insert name of applicant).
(Signature of endorser)'

  • A criminal conviction certificate, a Basic Disclosure certificate (opens new window) or the result of a subject access search of the Police National Computer which have been issued no earlier than one calendar month before you submit your application
  • A declaration that you have not been convicted of a relevant offence or foreign offence or that you have the details and nature of the offence including the date of conviction and sentence imposed

Providing you meet the eligibility criteria and have not been convicted of a relevant or foreign offence then the Licensing Authority must grant the licence.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria then your application will be rejected immediately.

Convicted of a relevant offence

If you have been convicted of a relevant offence then the Licensing Authority must send the police a notice advising them of the application and convictions. The police then have 14 days in which to decide whether they would object to the granting of the licence as it would undermine the crime prevention objective. If the police do not object to the application then the Licensing Authority must grant the licence. If the police do object to the application then the Licensing Authority must hold a hearing, to which both the police and the applicant are invited to attend, within 20 working days of the end of the representation period to decide whether a licence should be granted.

The Licensing Authority will then issue a notice to both the applicant and the Police.

Application fee

The application fee for the grant a Personal Licence is £37.

Will "tacit consent" apply?

For the purposes of tacit consent, our target completion period for processing a correctly completed application is 14 working days.

This period will be extended by 20 working days if we receive representations in respect of your application but we will contact you to let you know if this is the case.

Public register

Under the Licensing Act 2003 the council is required to keep a record of applications received.

This may be inspected by appointment during the hours Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm at the City Centre Customer Services Centre at City Hall, Plater Way, Sunderland SR1 3AA

Failed application redress

Please contact our City and Neighbourhood team in the first instance.

If an application for a licence is refused, the applicant can appeal to a Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice of the decision.

Use of Personal Data Provided

Please note that personal data e.g. name, address etc. may be provided to bodies responsible for auditing and administering public funds for the purposes of preventing and detecting fraud. For more details you can view our privacy notice for licences issued under the Licensing Act 2003.

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