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The Licensing Act (Scotland) 2005 has has been in force since 1st September 2009, and those who have undertaken training will recall that the licence is valid for 10 years. Until recently, there had been little formal explanation as to the format of the refresher training required; however Scottish Government have been working to resolve the issues by consulting with various parties to finalise requirements. If your licence was issued on or before 1st September 2009, you need to act now!

Under the Act, personal licence holder have two important obligations: 

  • They must undergo refresher training every 5 years to refresh their knowledge of the licensing regime, and send the training certificate to the relevant Licensing Board; and
  • They must apply to renew their personal licence every ten years, and lodge the renewal application no later than 3 months before expiry date of the licence

To make this as straight-forward as possible, the Scottish Government has recommended to personal licence holders and Licensing Boards that these processes should be dealt with at the same time, by sitting a further refresher training course and then sending the certificate to the relevant Licensing Board along with the renewal application.

There is likely to be high demand for the half-day refresher training as we approach the renewal deadlines. personal licence holders are recommended to book a place on the refresher training now to ensure that this is completed ahead of the 5 year refresh deadline and the deadline for submitting renewal applications. The half-day refresher training course for the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (Refresher) at SCQF Level 6 is the appropriate course and qualification to take for both the requirement to undertake updated refresher training after five years and the requirement to apply to renew your licence. To find training providers who offer this course, visit 

From the 1st October 2018, the fee for a personal licence renewal is £50 (subject to approval by Parliament).


Your personal licence will cease to have effect, and you will need to reapply for your personal licence.

Personal licence holders need to complete their training at the 5 year refresher point and the 10 year renewal.

At the 5 year point, a personal licence holder must evidence their training no later than 3 months before the expiry of the licence.

At the 10 year renewal, a personal licence holder must evidence their training no later than 3 months before the expiry of the licence, and can submit this one year before the expiration of the personal licence.

For new applications, learners should sit the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders at SCQF Level 5.

For personal licence holders who need to evidence learning at the 5 year period and the 10 year renewal, the qualification they would need is the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (Refresher) at SCQF Level 5.

Many Personal Licence Holders undertook training, and secured a personal licence well in advance of 1 September 2009 when the 2005 Act came into force. The relevant date here is not the date that you undertook the qualification but the date of the issue of the personal licence. Any personal licences issued prior to 1 September 2009 are to be treated as being issued on 1 September 2009. Therefore, you should apply now to do your refresher training and apply to renew your personal licence as soon as possible.

Any personal licences issued after 1 September 2009 will have their own 10 year deadline to work to based on the date the licence was granted. For example if your personal licence was issued on 1 October 2010, then you would need to have submitted your renewal by 30 June 2020 (three months before the 10 year expiration).

You can apply for renewal as early as 12 months before the expiry date so with some forward planning around training dates, there should be plenty of time to complete the process. You must apply for renewal no later than 3 months before the expiry of your personal licence but you are advised to apply long before this date to ensure that your application can be processed.

Slightly separate deadlines operate for the submission of evidence of having undertaken refresher training, but we recommend that licence holders combine both requirements.

Licensing boards will charge applicants £50 for the renewal of a personal licence.