On the rear of a licence, your categories included with the licence are listed with details of what they represent. The one to look for is D1 and unless you passed your test before January 1997, you will need to apply for it using a form D2 which you can download from the DVLA website.
Assuming you have a D1 or have added it, you can drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats and it must not be for hire or you must not be paid for driving it.
Where a minibus has 9 seats or more, you will need a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) entitlement if you are going to be paid in cash or in kind, whether it is by on or on behalf of the passengers. The PCV requires a medical or maybe a further test. This entitlement stays on your licence until the age of 70, then you will need to renew it. If you only need a small minibus then maybe a 9 seater will do
There is no relationship between your entitlement to drive a minibus and being insured to drive it. Check with your insurance company, making sure that they know the vehicle details and the how you intend to use the minibus
Assuming that you do not have D1 there are circumstances under which you are allowed to drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats but you must meet all of the points below.
1.You are driving on behalf of a non-commercial body of some kind. There is no payment involved .
2.You are over 21 years old.
3.You have had a full licence for over 2 years.
4.You are driving on a voluntary basis.
5.The minibus is no more than 3.5 tonnes, but weigh up to 4.25 tons if the additional weight is specialist equipment such as wheel chair ramps.
6.You cannot tow a trailer
When driving on behalf of an organisation related to education, religion, social welfare or recreation it may be possible to get a minibus and community bus permit. It allows you to make a charge but not make a profit and you must not drive for the general public. Under this arrangement it may not be necessary to have D1 entitlement
Another option is a community bus permit. Where local bus service is provided on a non-profit basis, then members of the public may be carried in the minibus.
Where a minibus being driven on a full D1 entitlement is pulling a trailer, it is necessary to have Category E as well as D1
We have posted more information on our blog site: