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The law has changed. Your TV Licence now also covers you to download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer. Find out more

Check if you need a licence for Live TV and BBC iPlayer

If you’re one of the 63% of students who use BBC iPlayer*, you need to know that the law has changed. You now need to be covered by a TV Licence if you download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

Of course, you’ll still need a licence if you plug in to watch or record live TV on any channel (including on iPlayer), no matter what device you use.

It’s easy to sort out online. You can pay for your licence all in one go or spread the cost. Just choose a way to pay that suits you best.

* TV Licensing research 2015-2016.

Frequently asked questions
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How much does a TV Licence cost?

A TV Licence costs £145.50 a year. You can pay it all in one go, or spread the cost weekly, monthly or quarterly. Once it’s set up, the easiest way to manage your licence is online.

 

Do I only need a TV Licence if I have a TV?

No, it doesn’t matter what device you use. If you watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you must be covered by a licence. This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorder.

 

Won't my halls already be covered?

Your room needs to be covered by its own licence if you're plugged in to watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. If there are TVs in communal areas, check with your halls' manager to see if they’re covered by a halls' licence.

 

What if I live in a shared house?

You'll probably only need one licence between you if you have a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house – this is the most common type of shared house arrangement. You might need your own licence if your accommodation is self-contained. That means you have exclusive access to washing facilities, or your own entrance to the property. You will also need your own licence if you have a separate tenancy agreement for your own room. If you're not sure, check our advice for tenants and lodgers for more information.

 

Won't my parents' licence cover me?

Your parents' licence will not cover you while you're away at uni unless you only use a device that's powered solely by its own internal batteries and not connected to the mains.

 

I really don't think I need a licence – what do I need to do?

If you think you don't need a TV Licence, please check that all the following are true before getting in touch with us:

  1. You never watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service
  2. AND never download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand
  3. OR you only do the above using a device that’s never connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains and you are covered by a licence at another address.

We sometimes visit to check if people need a licence. Why do we do this? Well, when we’ve made contact during these visits we’ve found that almost one in six people who say they don’t need a licence actually do need one. So it’s really important to be certain before you get in touch.

 

What if I'm not at uni for the summer?

If you're leaving your halls or rented accommodation and moving back home for the summer, there's a good chance you won't need your TV Licence if there's one at home. You can see our policy and apply for a refund online.

 

What if I change address?

Your licence won’t automatically move with you. Don’t worry – if you know where you’re moving to and when, update your details and you'll be sure you're covered. Or find out what to do with your TV Licence when you move home.