To find out which types of van you can drive with your licence, simply look at the list of entitlements. Each entitlement has a code such as B, C1, or C1E and can include multiple types of vehicle. For instance cars, vans, and tricycles via a single entitlement. If you have a standard car licence entitlement, you can drive a wide range of vans without having to pass another test.
Category B: car entitlement, if you passed your test from January 1st 1997
The Category B entitlement permits you to drive a van up to 3,500kg, maximum authorised mass (MAM). The MAM is the maximum combined weight of the van and its contents. You can also tow a trailer up to 750kg, MAM. You can alternatively tow a heavier trailer. However, the MAM of the vehicle and its trailer cannot exceed 3,500kg. Your van can have manual or automatic transmission.
Category B: car entitlement, if you passed your test before January 1st 1997
Drive a van and trailer combination up to 8,250kg, maximum authorised mass. The van can have manual or automatic transmission.
Category B auto: car entitlement
The Category B auto entitlement lets you drive any Category B vehicle, but it must have automatic transmission.
Category BE: car entitlement
Van with a maximum authorised mass of 3,500kg. You can also tow a trailer. The size of the trailer depends on the BE ‘valid from’ date on the driving license. If it’s before January 19th 2013, you can pull any trailer within the towing limits of your van. From that date onward, the trailer’s MAM cannot be greater than 3,500kg.
Category C1: medium size vehicle entitlement
The C1 entitlement lets you drive a van between 3,500kg and 7,500kg, MAM. You can simultaneously tow a trailer up to 750kg MAM.
Category C1E: medium size vehicle entitlement
With Category C1E, you can drive a van between 3,500kg and 7,500kg maximum authorised mass that is towing a trailer greater than 750kg. The MAM of your van and its trailer cannot be over 12,000kg.
Older driving licence entitlements
If your licence was issued long ago, the entitlements may be defined differently. From 1976 to 1990, Category B, BE, C1, and C1E were in Category A. Category A lets you drive a van up to 3,500kg MAM. You can add a trailer up to 750kg. Or, drive a van with a heavier trailer if the combination is no greater than 3,500kg, MAM.
There are penalties if you drive a van without the proper license entitlement. You could be fined £1,000 and get three to six points.