What type of license do you need to drive a limo?

Updated March 23, 2017

Some limousine drivers have to pass training courses, exams and background checks before they can apply for licensing. Other workers have to get two or three licenses to drive limousines. The number of licenses they need depends on where they work and on the type of limousine they drive.

State Requirements

Limousine drivers in many states must have a regular driver's license issued by their state and a chauffeur's or limousine license, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, the Washington State Department of Licensing indicates that limousine drivers must have a valid Washington driver's license and a valid limousine license to transport passengers in stretch limousines. The state defines a stretch limousine as a vehicle that can seat up to 12 passengers in the rear seating area.

Commission Rules

Limousine drivers in some areas have to meet licensing requirements set by the state as well as other rules established by local commissions. For instance, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission requires drivers to have a license issued by the commission along with a state Department of Motor Vehicles chauffeur's license. The only out-of-state limousine drivers who can work in the state are those who have a valid chauffeur's license issued by Connecticut, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Commercial Licenses

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers around the nation who transport 16 or more passengers at a time to have a commercial driver's license. The BLS indicates that rule may affect chauffeurs because some stretch limousines are large enough to require a commercial license. Some drivers buy limousines to start their own chauffeuring business. These independent owner-drivers usually need all required licenses as well as a permit to operate a business.

Other Requirements

New York City limousine drivers can't qualify for licensing until they complete a certified defensive driving class. They must complete the class within six months before applying to get a Taxi and Limousine Commission license. In New Jersey, limousine drivers must pass background checks. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission uses a fingerprint scan for state criminal background checks to certify drivers. Other states have testing and background-check requirements as well, but the stipulations vary. Some cities require new drivers to complete up to 80 hours of classroom instruction before getting a limousine license, according to the BLS.

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About the Author

Frances Burks has more than 15 years experience in writing positions, including work as a news analyst for executive briefings and as an Associated Press journalist. Burks has banking and business development experience, and she has written numerous articles on consumer issues and home improvement. Burks holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Michigan.