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Frequently Asked Questions

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You can still gain your personal licence with CPL.

In light of the on-going situation with coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided to postpone our face-to-face courses. However, you can still complete your training and gain your qualification with a fully online experience. Choose your course from the selection below, and we will do the rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains a number of widely asked questions from people looking for help with specific issues. We have tried to give as much detail to the answers to cover any issue you might have, however if you still have something you are not sure about then please contact us and we will endeavour to solve it for you.

Licensing Reset

What is a Personal Licence?

A licence granted to an individual person that enables that person to authorise sales of alcohol from any premises that holds a Premises Licence.

How old do you need to be to take your Personal Licence Holder's exam?

You can sit the examination before you are 18, but you must be at least 18 years old to hold a Personal Licence.

Would a criminal record stop me getting a Personal Licence?

If an applicant for a Personal Licence has unspent ‘relevant offences‘ or ‘foreign offences‘, the licensing authority can grant the licence only after having consulted the local police. If the police then object on the grounds that the ‘Crime Reduction‘ objective of the Licensing Act would be undermined by granting the application, then the application must be refused. The applicant can appeal the refusal and this will require a hearing. In practical terms, if an applicant has an unspent offence the police will object and in most cases the licence will end up not being granted. An offence is ‘spent‘ after a period of time – 5, 7 or 10 years depending on seriousness. Offences which are never ‘spent‘ are those where the offender was sentenced to 32 months in prison or more.

What would stop me from getting a Personal Licence?

Being under 18; not having an accredited qualification such as the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) -England and Wales or the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SCPLH) -Scotland; having an unspent criminal offence or forfeiting a licence (having it revoked) in the past 5 years.

Will a drink driving offence stop me from getting my Personal Licence?

A drink driving offence is a ‘relevant offence‘ and the police will object to an application from any person with an unspent drink driving conviction.

Will a caution affect an application for a Personal Licence?

Yes. To be given a caution the offender must first admit the offence. Contrary to popular belief a caution is treated as an offence and will lead to a police objection to an application.

Why do I need a Personal Licence?

To authorise sales of alcohol in accordance with the conditions stated on a Premises Licence.

Who can hold a Personal Licence?

Any person aged 18 or above who holds an accredited qualification, doesn't have any unspent criminal offences and hasn't forfeited a licence in the past 5 years.

What do you need to get a pub licence?

There's no such thing as a ‘pub licence‘ anymore. However, any premises, including pubs, whose owners want to engage in licensable activities from those premises, such as selling alcohol, providing most forms of entertainment or providing late night refreshment, need a Premises Licence. Applications for Premises Licences must be made to the local council in whose area the premises is situated.

Who requires a Personal Licence for the bar trade?

Any person in a position where they are expected to authorise alcohol sales – such as managers, assistant managers or Designated Premises Supervisors. It isn't necessary for every bar person to be a Personal Licence holder.

Who issues a Personal Licence?

The local licensing authority in England and Wales or licensing board in Scotland. Usually these authorities are local councils.

Who is in charge of granting an alcohol licence?

There is no such thing as an ‘alcohol licence‘ as such. To sell alcohol from a premises the premises must have a Premises Licence and sales must be authorised by a Personal Licence holder. Both of these licences are granted by the licensing authority or board of the local council.

Who is required to take the SCPLH (Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders)?

Any person in Scotland in a position where they are expected to authorise alcohol sales, such as managers, assistant managers or Designated Premises Supervisors. It isn't necessary for every bar person to be a Personal Licence holder.

Who are the Personal Licence Holders responsible to?

To the licensing authority that granted the licence.

Which disclosure do I need for a Personal License?

A Basic Disclosure which may be obtained from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Where would I obtain a copy of my Personal License?

From the licensing authority or licensing board that originally granted it.

Where do you send your Personal Licence holder certificate?

To the licensing authority or board to whom you are making your personal licence application.

Where do I need to display my Personal Licence?

You don't. You must display a summary of your Premises Licence in a prominent place but keep a copy of your personal licence for examination by police or licensing authority officials.

Where can I sit my APLH/SCPLH exam?

At any of CPL’s training venues located across the UK.

Where can I get a Personal Licence?

The local licensing authority in England and Wales or licensing board in Scotland. Usually these authorities are local councils.

When was the new Alcohol Licence law brought in?

The Licensing Act 2003 came into effect in November 2005 in England and Wales and the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 in September 2009 in Scotland.

When doing the level 2 Personal License exam, what questions do they ask?

An APLH or SCPLH exam is assessed by a 40 question, multiple-choice exam. You must get 28 out of 40 to pass. The exam assesses the knowledge and understanding you've gained on the training course. It's about ensuring you know the legal and social responsibilities of a personal licence holder – you'll have to sit the exam to find out the questions or view our mock exam here.

What's the difference between a Personal and a Premises Licence?

A personal licence is granted to an individual, enabling that person to authorise alcohol sales from licensed premises. A premises licence allows licensable activities, including the sale of alcohol, to take place from a particular premises.

What's the difference between a Personal License and an Occasional License?

In England and Wales the terms ‘occasional licence has been replaced by the term ‘temporary event notice'. In Scotland the term occasional licence has been retained. They both basically mean the same thing: a permission to sell alcohol, or provide entertainment or late night refreshment from a premises that doesn't have a permanent premises licence, or outside the terms of that licence if it does.

What do you learn doing a Personal License course?

All about the framework of law and social responsibility that surrounds the role of Personal Licence Holder.

What do you do once you get your Personal Licence certificate?

Apply for a Basic Level DBS check online and then submit a personal licence application to your local licensing authority or board.

What are the alcohol licence hours for Christmas day?

In England and Wales the hours within in which you can sell alcohol are not prescribed by statute law, regardless of whether we're talking about Christmas Day or any other day. The hours a premises can open or sell alcohol are set down in the premises licence. You apply for the hours you want and in the absence of any objections those hours will be granted. The same applies in Scotland with the following exceptions: there is a presumption against the grant of 24 hour licences in Scotland and off-sales premises are restricted to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on any day.

Do I need to renew my Personal Licence?

On 6th April 2015 the need to renew your Personal Licence in England & Wales was abolished.

In Scotland, Personal Licence Holders must complete accredited refresher training and renew their Personal Licence every 5 years.

How long does it take to get a Personal Licence?

Dependant on the workload at your local Licensing Authority then it can take approximately 6 – 8 weeks from the time you receive your Qualification Certificate with London Borough Councils taking the longest.

What else do I need to provide for a personal licence application?

As of 6th April 2017, applicants for a personal licence 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. For CPL to be able to process your application, you will need to provide copies or scanned copies of the following documents which can be found here:

You wereYou should provide a clear photocopy of...
Born INSIDE of the UK A current British passport


Birth Certificate along with payslip showing their National Insurance number
Born OUTSIDE of the UK but WITHIN the EEA* or Switzerland A current passport from a country within the EEA* or Switzerland


National Identity card showing them as a national of an EEA* country or Switzerland or

A Permanent Resident card issued by the Home Office


A registration certificate authorising permanent residence in the UK
Born OUTSIDE of the EEA* A current Biometric Immigration Document authorising indefinite stay within the UK


A current passport, endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control

*The European Economic Area (or EEA) is defined here: