Detection and penalties

The law is changing. From 1 September 2016 you'll need a TV Licence to watch or download BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer. Find out more

It’s against the law to watch or record TV programmes as they're being shown on TV without a valid licence. This includes the use of devices such as a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

Watching TV without a valid licence is a criminal offence. This can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 (not including legal costs). The exceptions are in Guernsey where the maximum fine is £2 000 and Jersey it is £500.

It costs £145.50 for a colour and £49.00 for a black and white TV Licence.

We have various ways of checking if you’re covered by a valid licence or not.

How we can detect if you’re correctly licensed

How we can detect if you’re correctly licensed

National database We have a database of approximately 31 million licensed and unlicensed addresses. This tells us if your address has a TV Licence.
Enforcement officers

All our enforcement officers have access to this database. This means they can check if you have a valid licence or not.

If you inform us that you do not watch television, enforcement officers may still visit you to confirm this.

Detector vans We also have a fleet of detector vans that can detect the use of TV receiving equipment at specifically targeted addresses within minutes.


If you still have questions take a look at TV Licensing FAQs where you can find all the answers in one place.