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Cambridge City Council

Apply or find out about a personal licence

Applications for a Personal Licence must be made to the council responsible for the area in which the applicant normally lives. Individuals applying to Cambridge City Council must therefore be ordinarily resident within the area covered by Cambridge City Council. If you live in South Cambridgeshire, but trade in the city, for example, you need to apply to South Cambridgeshire District Council. If you unsure of your local council you can use the search tool at 'Find your local council'.

A personal licence is a licence granted by the licensing authority to an individual that will authorise that person to sell or supply alcohol by retail or to supply alcohol in accordance with a premises licence.

A personal licence is not required for the provision of late night refreshment, regulated entertainment, or where alcohol is supplied at premises operating under a club premises certificate (previously a registered club).

Not every person retailing alcohol at premises licensed for that purpose needs to hold a personal licence, but every sale or supply must be authorised by a personal licence holder. Premises may have a number of personal licence holders.



Applications for a personal licence must be made;

  • on the correct form and
  • accompanied by the correct fee.

Where the applicant is not normally resident in England or Wales, the application can be sent to any licensing authority.

The applicant must:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • have the right to work in the UK
  • possess a licensing qualification accredited by the Secretary of State
  • not have forfeited a personal licence within 5 years of the application
  • not have been convicted of any relevant or foreign offence

Cambridge City Council is accredited with the British Innkeeping Institute Awarding Body (BIIAB) to provide the Level 2 Award in Personal Licence Holders. Visit our training page to find out more and book a place one of our courses. Other training providers are available – you do not have to use our services.

The application must also be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Two photographs of the applicant, which must be:
  1. taken against a light background so that features are distinguishable and contrast against the background;
  2. 45millimetres by 35 millimetres;
  3. full face uncovered and without sunglasses and, unless the applicant wears a head covering due to religious beliefs, without a headcovering;
  4. on photographic paper.
  • One photograph must be endorsed with a statement verifying the likeness of the photograph to the applicant by one of the following:
  1. a solicitor or notary;
  2. a person of standing in the community (includes bank or building society official, a police officer, a civil servant or a minister of religion);
  3. or an individual with a professional qualification.
  • Either:
  1. criminal conviction certificate issued under section 112 of the Police Act 1997;
  2. criminal record certificate issued under section 113A of the Police Act 1997;
  3. the results of a subject access search under the Data Protection Act 1998 of the Police National Computer by the National Identification Service and in any case such certificate or search results shall be issued within one month of submitting the application to the licensing authority, and
  • A declaration from the applicant, in the required form, stating that you have not been convicted of a relevant offence or a foreign offence, or that you have been convicted of a relevant offence or a foreign offence accompanied by details of the nature and date of the conviction and any sentence imposed in respect of it.
  • Evidence that the applicant has the right to work in the UK. Please see page 4 of the above application form for a list of documents we will accept. Please only send in copies of documents.

You can apply for a Basic Disclosure with the Disclosure and Barring Service direct.

An individual is only permitted to hold one personal licence. No connection with any licensed premises is needed to apply for a personal licence.

A licence lasts for an indefinite period of time beginning on the date it is granted.  It can be revoked, declared forfeit or suspended in certain circumstances.


As of the 1 April 2015, Personal Licences no longer need to be renewed. The personal Licence will still show an expiry date but this is no longer relevant.

All new Personal Licences will be issued without an expiry date.  If you wish to request a replacement licence, please provide a letter requesting this accompanied by two passport photographs, the current personal licence (card and paper copy) and the fee of £10.50.


A personal licence issued by the licensing authority may be surrendered upon notice to the same, provided the notice is accompanied by the licence or, if not practicable, a statement of the reasons for failing to provide the licence. The personal licence will lapse upon receipt of the notice by the authority.

Theft, loss etc

In the event of a personal licence being lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, a personal licence holder can apply to the licensing authority for a copy, provided it is the authority that issued the original licence. You must satisfy the licensing authority that the licence has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed and that where lost or stolen, the holder has reported such to the police. Applications for a replacement should also be accompanied by the correct fee, and must be accompanied by a statement declaring why you no longer have your personal licence (i.e theft/loss/damaged/destroyed), and the details of your personal licence.

Change of name/address

The holder of a personal licence has a duty to inform the licensing authority, as soon as reasonably practicable, of any change of name or address as stated in the personal licence. The personal licence and the correct fee should accompany this. Any person failing to do this will be committing an offence.


The holder of a personal licence has a duty to notify the licensing authority of any convictions for relevant offences, or for any conviction for a foreign offence as soon as reasonably practicable following conviction.

Similarly the courts are required to inform the licensing authority of convictions, whether or not they have ordered the suspension of forfeiture of the licence.

If a licence is suspended or declared forfeit, then the licensing authority will contact the personal licence holder, requesting the licence. Any licence declared forfeit will be retained by the licensing authority.

The Licensing Authority also has the power to suspend, for up to 6 months, or revoke a Personal Licence should it become aware that a Personal Licence Holder has been convicted for a relevant offence.


The licensing authority will maintain accessible records of licences held. It will also provide a service that will enable the police in any area and other licensing authorities to be advised of details of personal licence holders. A national database containing the details of all personal licence holders is likely to be developed in due course.

Provision of personal data to the Cabinet Office

We are required by law to protect the public funds that we administer. To do this we sometimes need to share the personal data you have given us with the bodies responsible for auditing or administering those funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Cabinet Office requires us to participate in the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), a data-matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud against ourselves and other public-sector organisations. We regularly provide particular sets of data to the Cabinet Office for this purpose, as set out in the code of practice.

Find out more about the fair processing of data.

Further guidance

Please see our 'Guidance for applicants' page.