• / Information about the TV Licence

Information about the TV Licence

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to

  • watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service
  • download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer - live, catch up or on demand.

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.

A standard colour TV Licence costs £150.50. You can pay in one go or choose to spread the cost. This page also tells you about the different ways you can pay, licences for businesses, and whether you’re eligible for a concession.

Links on this page go to pages in English. If you would prefer to talk to us, please call our Welsh Language Helpline on 0300 790 6042*.

 
Do you need a TV Licence?

In the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you

  • watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device (in any language, received from anywhere in the world), or
  • download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

This also applies to any device and provider you use, including:

  • TV sets (including smart TVs)
  • DVD, Blu-ray and VHS recorders
  • Laptops and desktop computers
  • Tablets, mobile phones and other portable devices
  • Digital boxes or PVRs (such as Sky, Virgin Media or BT TV)
  • Games consoles
  • Media streaming devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Now TV)
  • Freeview, Freesat or YouView

You usually only need one TV Licence per address, even if you use lots of devices. Different conditions apply for homes without a joint tenancy agreement and businesses, where more than one licence may be needed. If you have a second home, you will need a separate licence for that address. Find out more by calling 0300 790 6042.

You are breaking the law if you watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, without being covered by a licence. You risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 (the maximum fine in Guernsey is £2,000) plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay. In Scotland, the Procurator Fiscal will decide whether or not to prosecute.

There are just a few exceptions for when you don’t need a TV Licence for BBC iPlayer. You don’t need one if you only ever watch S4C TV on demand, listen to radio, and watch films or TV shows you’ve bought on the BBC Store.

Have you moved home recently?

If you’ve moved home, or the details we have about you are wrong or have changed, please let us know your new address details or write to us at TV Licensing, Darlington DL98 1TL.

Don’t watch live TV or BBC iPlayer?

If you never watch or record any live TV programmes on any channel or device, and never download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you don’t need a TV Licence. Please let us know that you don’t need a licence or call 0300 790 6042*. Different conditions apply for businesses.

If you tell us you don’t need a licence, we may visit you to confirm that a licence isn’t needed. These visits are necessary because, when we make contact, we find almost one in six people who’ve told us they don’t need a licence actually do need one.

Don’t need your licence anymore?

If you have a TV Licence but no longer watch or record any live TV programmes on any channel or device, and no longer download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you may be eligible for a refund. To find out more, please call us on 0300 790 6042*.

How much is a TV Licence?

A colour TV Licence costs £150.50 a year. If you’re blind (severely sight impaired) or you are aged 74 or over, you could be entitled to a short term, reduced fee or free licence.

You can pay for or renew your TV Licence online with a debit or credit card. Alternatively, you’ll find all the different ways you can pay for a licence below. If you’re renewing your TV Licence you’ll need your current licence number.

How to pay for your TV Licence

You can pay in one go or choose to spread the cost quarterly, monthly or weekly.

The easiest way to pay for your TV Licence is online, by Direct Debit or with a debit or credit card.

Ways to pay:

Direct Debit

Spread the cost of your TV Licence monthly, quarterly or annually. We will take the payments for your licence automatically, so you never have to worry about missing a payment.

After your Direct Debit has been set up, your licence will be renewed automatically for you each year, so you’ll never risk being unlicensed.

If you move home, make sure you tell us so we can move your TV Licence to your new address.

You can set up a Direct Debit in Welsh either:

  • By calling 0300 790 6042 * with your bank details to hand
  • Or by downloading and completing and emailing a scanned copy of a Direct Debit instruction form to trwyddedu.teledu@tvlicensing.co.uk or post a paper copy to The Welsh Department, TV Licensing, Darlington DL98 1TL.

Direct Debit instruction (PDF 41 Kb opens in a new window)

Or you can set up a Direct Debit online in English.

Please note that if you decide to pay quarterly, there will be a £1.25 premium added to each payment.

Debit/credit card

Pay for your TV Licence by debit or credit card online, over the phone or with your debit card at a PayPoint (or post office in the Channel Islands). Please ensure you have your details to hand when paying. If you’re renewing your TV Licence it will be helpful if you have your current licence number to hand.

TV Licensing payment card

You can spread the cost of your TV Licence from as little as £6 a week with a payment card. You can use it to pay online, by phone, by text message or at any PayPoint. If you’re renewing your TV Licence it will be helpful if you have your current licence number to hand.

To find out more and request your payment card, call 0300 555 0286*.

Where to pay:

Online

You can pay for your TV Licence and manage your TV Licence on our website. You can also ask to receive your TV Licence and any other communications from us by email, but your email address can only contain letters and numbers from the English language.

You can pay for your TV Licence either by debit or credit card or by setting up a Direct Debit.

Please have your bank details to hand, and remember that the payment form will be in English.

Telephone

If you have a debit or credit card – such as Maestro, Delta, Solo, Visa or MasterCard – you can pay for your TV Licence by calling 0300 790 6042*. Please make sure you have your card details to hand.

PayPoint

You can go to any PayPoint and buy a TV Licence with cash or a debit card. You will just need to give the shop assistant your name and address and pay the full fee of £150.50 by cash or debit card.

There are over 28,000 PayPoints across the UK, which you’ll find in convenience stores, newsagents, off-licences, supermarkets and petrol stations. Many are open long hours, seven days a week. You can find your local PayPoint here or by calling 0300 790 6137* and giving your postcode (this is an automated service in English only).

There aren’t any PayPoints in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Instead you can pay at any post office.

Post

You can send a cheque to TV Licensing, Darlington DL98 1TL. Please make the cheque payable to ‘TV Licensing’ for the full licence fee, and remember to write your name, address and postcode on the back of the cheque. Please do not send cash.

Could you get a concession?

If you are blind (severely sight impaired), you may qualify for a 50% concession. And if you are aged 74 or over, you could be entitled to a short term or free licence. If you live in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, different conditions may apply.

Are you, or is someone you live with:

  • 75 years old or over? You may be eligible for a free TV Licence. To apply, simply call 0300 790 6042* with the National Insurance number, or another proof of age if you don’t have one, of the person you’re applying for.
  • 74 years old? You can apply for a short-term TV Licence to cover you until your 75th birthday. Call 0300 790 6042* to find out more.
  • Blind and can provide the appropriate evidence? You are eligible to apply for a 50% concession. If you are partially sighted (sight impaired) you are not eligible. To apply, go online at tvlicensing.co.uk/blind or post a photocopy of your document of blind registration or a certificate from your ophthalmologist with your licence number, phone number and cheque payment to TV Licensing, Blind Concession Group, Darlington DL98 1TL.

Do you live in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man?

If you live in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, and you or someone you live with are 75 or over, you could be eligible for help paying for a TV Licence.

  • If you live in Jersey and are aged 75 or over, you may be eligible for a free over 75 TV Licence. Please call the Jersey Social Security Department on 01534 445505.
  • If you live in Guernsey, are aged 65 or over, and receive income support, you could be eligible for a free TV Licence. Please call the Guernsey Social Security Department on 01481 732559 or email mark.seabrook@gov.gg.
  • If you live in Sark, unfortunately there is no free over 75 TV Licence for over 75 year olds and no short-term TV Licence for 74 year olds.
  • If you live in the Isle of Man, are aged 75 or over, and receive income support, you could get help paying for a licence from the Isle of Man Government. Please call the Income Support for Pensioners team on 01624 687020 or email isp@gov.im.
  • There are no PayPoints in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, but you can pay at any post office.
Businesses and organisations

Your business premises need to be covered by a TV Licence if staff, customers or guests watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to any device you’ve provided, as well as any devices of their own that are plugged into the mains.

If your business has just one premises, you may only need a single TV Licence. A licence costs £150.50 a year for each address and will cover all devices used at that address. The easiest way to pay for a single TV Licence is online with a debit or credit card, or by Direct Debit.

If you need to cover more than one address, the simplest way is with a Company Group TV Licence. There are no forms to fill in. You will only need to make one payment each year, and you will receive just one reminder which will be sent to a single address. To pay for a Company Group TV Licence, call us on 0300 790 6165* and we’ll be happy to help.

A TV Licence does not cover:

  • residential accommodation on your premises,
  • welfare or social clubs on your premises but run by someone else,
  • premises sublet by you to other organisations, or
  • hospitality areas.

There are also different rules for hotels, hostels, mobile units and campsites.

Please note: if music is ever played on your premises for customers or staff – through radio, TV, computer or CD/DVD, for example – in most cases you will need to buy music licences from both PRS for Music and PPL. Go to prsformusic.com and PPLUK.com for more information.

What are the terms and conditions of a standard TV Licence?

You means the person named on the licence.

What is a TV Licence needed for?

To use and install TV receiving equipment at the licensed place. It covers:

  • watching and recording programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, including programmes streamed over the internet and satellite programmes from outside the UK, and
  • watching and downloading BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer.

This can be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorder, or anything else.

The licence allows use and installation of TV receiving equipment:

  • At the licensed place by anyone.
  • In a vehicle, boat or caravan by:
    • You and anyone who normally lives here with you at the licensed place (except in non-touring caravans when someone is watching or recording TV at the licensed place).
    • Anyone who normally works at the licensed place (so long as the vehicle, boat or caravan is being used for a business purpose).
  • Use of TV receiving equipment powered by its internal batteries anywhere by you and anyone who normally lives with you at the licensed place.

This licence usually does not cover:

  • Areas occupied solely by tenants, lodgers or paying guests.
  • Areas that are self-contained.
  • Areas covered by separate legal arrangements.
  • Areas of business premises used for a different purpose.

Black and white licences

Even if you have a black and white TV, you need a colour licence to record programmes. This is because DVD, VHS and digital box recorders record in colour. A black and white licence is only valid if you use a digital box that can’t record TV programmes.

Other conditions

  • We can cancel or change your licence. If we cancel it, we will let you know.
  • If we change the licence conditions, we will publish a general notice on the BBC website and, if we consider it appropriate, in other national media.
  • Our Officers may visit the licensed place to check our records and inspect the TV receiving equipment. You don’t have to let them in.
  • The TV receiving equipment must not cause unreasonable interference to radio or TV reception.

Think you might need a TV Licence? Check now.

Please note: separate terms and conditions apply to the following types of TV Licence: hotel and mobile units TV Licence, ARC concessionary TV Licence and entertainment units TV Licence. If you have one of these, please refer to your licence for specific terms and conditions or contact us for information.

Contacting the Welsh Language team

When you phone us or write to us, please give your TV Licence number if you have one. You can contact the TV Licensing Welsh team as follows:

  • Give us a call on 0300 790 6042*
  • Write to us at The Welsh Department, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL
  • Send us an email at trwyddedu.teledu@tvlicensing.co.uk (please note – only Welsh language or bilingual emails sent to this address will receive a reply)
Monitoring Welsh Language Standards Compliance

The BBC TV Licensing Management Team is responsible for overseeing TV Licensing’s compliance with the Welsh Language Standards. Arrangements in place to oversee compliance include quarterly reporting on key Welsh language metrics (and information relating to the record keeping standards with which TV Licensing is required to comply) and a Welsh Language working group which meets regularly. The BBC also has oversight of all complaints relating to the TV Licensing Welsh Language service and Welsh Language Standards compliance.

As required under the standards, the BBC will submit a report each year to the Welsh Language Commissioner, which will also be published on this website (accessible from the main Welsh page (tvlicensing.co.uk/cymraeg). This will be published in September each year.

TV Licensing Welsh Language Service and Standards compliance - Complaints procedure

Complaints about TV Licensing’s Welsh language services, or about compliance with the Welsh Language Standards applicable to TV Licensing, will be dealt with under the normal TV Licensing complaints procedure. Whilst the process for such complaints is equivalent in most respects to the process for any complaint received by TV Licensing, some additional provisions are in place regarding Welsh Language complaints to ensure compliance with the Welsh Language Standards. These provisions are as follows:

  • Complaints received about the Welsh language service or Welsh Language Standards compliance must be translated by the TV Licensing Welsh team
  • Complaints received in Welsh or in English about our Welsh language service or Welsh Language Standards compliance must receive a response in both Welsh and English (Welsh appearing first).
  • Complaints received in Welsh or which require a response in Welsh are subject to the same response time as English complaints.
  • All complaints relating to compliance with the Welsh Language Standards or relating to TV Licensing’s Welsh Language Service must be:
    • Reviewed by relevant managers responsible for Welsh Language Standards compliance
    • Notified to the BBC
    • Reported on a quarterly basis.

All relevant staff receive training on the procedure for Welsh language complaints and this training is refreshed periodically. The procedure is also defined within work instructions. Regular checks are carried out to ensure the process is followed.

Welsh Language Standards and TV Licensing

The Welsh language service provided by TV Licensing is governed by the Welsh Language Standards (No. 2) Regulations 2016. These Standards replace the previous TV Licensing Welsh Language Scheme and means that specific Welsh Language standards are applicable to TV Licensing.

Further information about these Standards, including an edited version of the compliance notice giving details of the standards which apply to TV Licensing, appear on the Welsh Language Standards page.

TV Licensing Welsh Language Online Service

At the moment we are working on improvements which will mean that Welsh language customers can buy or renew a TV Licence online in Welsh by the end of September 2018, as agreed with the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Details of this commitment are reflected in the Welsh Language Standards notice issued on the BBC (Welsh Language Standard no. 48) under the Welsh Language Standards (No. 2) Regulations 2016.

Further information about the standards relevant to TV Licensing (including an edited version of the compliance notice) is available on the TV Licensing website at tvlicensing.co.uk/safonaurgymraeg.

The information you give us

Your information will only be used by TV Licensing (the BBC and its service providers) to administer the TV Licence system, including licence applications, fee collection and enforcement. We will not supply it to anyone outside TV Licensing without first obtaining your consent, unless we are obliged or permitted by law to do so. Find out more about our privacy policy here tvlicensing.co.uk/privacypolicy. You can refer any enquiries about data protection to the Data Protection Manager, TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL.

* Calls to our 0300 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number, whether from a mobile or landline. Calls from landlines are typically charged at up to 9p per minute and calls from mobiles typically cost between 8p and 40p per minute. If you get inclusive minutes with your mobile or landline, calls to an 0300 number will be included.

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: