HGV Category C+E Licence

The HGV Category C+E licence, also known as the Class 1 licence, is the highest HGV driving qualification you can hold. It’s therefore a great option for professional HGV drivers who want to increase their level of expertise and take a step up the career ladder. Obtaining a Category C licence may be the way to enter the profession, but to truly unlock your career as an HGV driver, open up job opportunities and boost your earning power, then the Category C+E licence is the way to go.

Training tip: If you’re new to HGV driving with no Category C licence then you should consider taking the combined Category C and C+E course. This course is actually both licence tests, taken back-to-back, and it will save you both time and money.

What Can You Drive With This Licence?

The Category C+E licence allows you to drive a vehicle weighing over 3,500 kg with a detachable trailer that’s over 750 kg. With this licence, drivers can haul an overall maximum weight of 44 tonnes, and will be qualified to drive two types of vehicle:
articulated truck

Fully articulated lorry – commonly known as artics, this combination is comprised of a tractor unit hauling a long trailer. These kings of the road are the most common Category C+E/Class 1 vehicles you’ll see on our motorways and highways today.


Drawbar – also known as ‘wagon and drag’ this is a combination of a rigid truck coupled with a trailer.

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The Type of Work You Can Expect

The Cat C+E licence will greatly increase your choice of job roles. Employers favour those who can diversify between rigid and artics, and you’ll be among the highest qualified drivers within the industry. This will give you more choice over the type of driving you want to do, be that short haul, long haul or international road haulage.
cat c+e types of work

The types of deliveries you’ll make include:

  • Supermarket deliveries
  • Warehouse deliveries
  • Milk or fuel tankers
  • Machinery transporters
  • Car transporters

Gaining a Category C+E licence will not only make you more employable, but you’ll also significantly boost your earning power. Indeed, drivers holding this licence frequently earn in excess of £40,000, which explains why for so many drivers it’s a natural progression from the Cat C licence.

How to Obtain a Category C+E Licence

The Category C+E or Class 1 licence is a follow-on qualification.

Here are the licence requirements.

You must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Hold a valid car licence. You can now go straight on to your C+E licence with only having to do a few days training on your Cat-C and then further training on your C+E. This can be done in one course and with only one test at the end. When applying for provisional licences you can now apply for both Category C and Category C+E entitlements at the same time.
  • Pass a practical driving test, to allow the ‘E’ entitlement (to haul a trailer over 750 kg) to be added to your licence.

Training courses can be completed in as little as 4-5 days and are available through HGV training providers nationwide.

how to obtain c+e licence

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Career Progression

As the pinnacle of your HGV driving career, gaining a Cat C+E licence means you’ll be among the most in demand and respected drivers on the road. Not only that, but you can further progress your career by becoming self-employed, either as a driver owner or by working through an agency. There are also options to add specialist training courses to your licence, such as HIAB and ADR, to further increase your earning potential.

Licence Types and Earning Potential

Category C licence
Drive rigid body vehicles up to 7500kg with trailer up to 750kg. The most common licence.

Average salary per year

up to £36k


Category C+E licence
Drive vehicles over 7500kg with trailers over 750kg. Higher earning potential.

Average salary per year

up to £50k

cat c1 licence

Category C1 licence
Cat C’s smaller cousin. Drive vehicles between 3500 – 7500kg with trailer up to 750kg.

Average salary per year

up to £28k

cat c1+e licence

Category C1+E licence
Small, rigid body vehicle towing a trailer weighing more than 750kg.

Average salary per year

up to £28k

An LGV CE driver is a lorry driver who holds a Category CE licence. LGV CE drivers are qualified to operate vehicles that weigh over 3,500 kg, with a trailer of over 750 kg. They can drive artics and drawbar combinations and can haul a maximum weight of 44 tonnes.

To get a Category C HGV licence you’ll need to be over 18, hold a UK driving licence and pass the Driver CPC. The Category C licence allows you to operate vehicles that are over 3,500 kg, with a trailer up to 750 kg MAM. The maximum weight you can haul is 32 tonnes.

On a C1 E licence, you can drive medium-sized goods vehicles that weigh 3,500 – 7,500 kg, with a trailer that weighs over 750 kg. The maximum authorised mass (MAM) is 12,000 kg. Drivers who passed their test before 1 January 1997 will automatically have this entitlement on their licence (up to 8.25 tonnes).

A Category BE licence allows holders to drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500 kg, with a trailer. The weight of the trailer depends on when your licence is ‘valid from’. Before 19 January 2013, you can tow any size trailer; after this date, maximum train weight is limited to 7,000 kg.

The difference between Class 1 and Class 2 HGV is the weight and type of vehicle. Class 1 vehicles can be rigid or articulated, they weigh over 3,500 kg and can haul a trailer of over 750 kg. Class 2 vehicles are rigid, weigh over 3,500kg, with a trailer of up to 750 kg MAM.

This depends on when you obtained your car driving licence. If it was before 1 January 1997, you’ll have ‘grandfather rights’ to C1 entitlement, allowing you to drive a 7.5 tonne lorry on a car licence. If you passed your test after this date, you’ll need to obtain a C1 licence.

Yes, in certain circumstances you can drive a 7.5 tonne lorry without a full Driver CPC. Reasons include when a vehicle has a maximum authorised speed of 28mph, or if it’s controlled by the police or the armed forces. However, you’ll still need to pass three of the four CPC elements.

Yes, 7.5 tonne vehicles are classed as being an HGV. Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes will require a Category C or C+E licence. A Cat C licence covers vehicle and trailer combinations over 3,500 kg but under 32 tonnes, while Cat C+E holders can operate heavier articulated combinations of up to 44 tonnes.

On a car licence, the biggest van you can drive is 3,500 kg (3.5 tonnes) in weight, with up to 8 passenger seats. If you passed your test before 1 January 1997, you may be entitled to drive larger vehicle and trailer combinations that weigh up to 8,250 kg MAM.

On a category B licence, you can drive cars and small vans that weigh under 3,500 kg MAM (with a trailer of up to 750 kg) and have a maximum of eight passenger seats. Licences obtained before 1 January 1997 entitle holders to drive heavier vehicle and trailer combinations of up to 8,250 kg MAM.

Day-to-Day Duties

As a Category C+E HGV driver, your main duty is to transport goods from a supplier to a customer or client.
day to day duties

However, the day-to-day job can also include:

  • Route and schedule planning
  • Liaising with customers
  • Supervising the loading and unloading of goods
  • Completing paperwork and log books
  • Ensuring vehicle maintenance is in order
  • Making sure loads are safely secured

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