What’s the Difference between a Personal and a Premises Licence?

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personal license

So you want to open a pub. It’s not as simple as just buying a place and stocking up on booze. You need a couple of different licences before you can open your doors. But what exactly do you need?

You may heard about the two types of licence, the personal and premises, but what do each of them mean and how do you get them?

You can’t have one without the other

If you want to sell alcohol in England, Wales and Scotland you will need to have a personal licence in order to make these sales. A personal licence also allows you to authorise others (your staff) to make sales on your behalf.

The next thing you need is the premises licence which allows you to make these sales in an authorised place. So each pub or restaurant you visit will have a premises licence of its own that allows people with a personal licence (or those they authorise) to sell alcohol there.

Each place with a premises licence requires at least one person to hold a personal licence for the business to operate legally.

What do you need?

In order to apply for the personal licence you need to gain the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) qualification in England and Wales. If you’re in Scotland then it’s the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (SCPLH).

You need to make your personal and premises licence applications to the Licensing Authority in England or Wales, or the Licensing Board in Scotland.

How to apply for a personal licence

In order to apply you must submit the following to the Licensing Authority as part of your application:

  • A completed application form
  • Disclosure of Convictions certificate (DBS)
  • Disclosure of Convictions and declaration form
  • A certificate of a licencing qualification (the APLH)
  • 2 photographs
  • The fee

How to apply for a premise licence

There are a few different types you can get:

  • The Retail Sale of Alcohol
  • The provision of Regulated Entertainment
  • The provision of Late Night Refreshment

The first one is the main one you want to focus on so that you can start selling alcohol.

Besides that, you may want to apply for a licence for Regulated Entertainment. This is for if you want to run something like a nightclub or a live music venue rather than just a regular pub. You may also need this licence if you plan to provide any entertainment between the hours of 11pm and 8am. For more information on entertainment licencing, you can visit the government’s website here.

The provision of Late Night Refreshment is only if you plan to sell hot food or drink to the public between the hours of 11pm and 5am on or off the premises.

You will need to make any premises licence application to the appropriate Licensing Authority. You’ll need to complete an application and present an operating schedule for your business and scale plans. A notice of the application must also be on the premises when you open for business.

How we can help

We provide training and assistance for those who want to get their personal and premises licences.

For your personal licence, we have training courses to help you gain your APLH certificate. At the top of the page you’ll find a mock exam to help you prepare and the option to book one of our courses.

For a premises licence, we provide a fixed-fee service to manage your application and to liaise with you and the Licencing Authority to get you in business.


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