Becoming an Approved Driver

Becoming a Union Approved Driver only entitles someone to drive Imperial College Union minibuses. The approval process has no validity elsewhere.

In this article we will cover:

To become a Union Approved Driver you must meet the criteria listed in Sections One and Two below.


To become a Union Approved Driver you must meet the criteria listed in Sections One and Two  below.

Section One

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have held a Full UK/EU Driving Licence for at least 2 years with Manual Car category (B) on it (to be eligible international licences must have been issued inside the EU)
  • Be any of the following:
  1. A current staff member of Imperial College or Imperial College Union,
  2. A Full Member of Imperial College Union (current student),
  3. A Life Member of Imperial College Union,
  4. An Associate Member of Imperial College Union.

If you answered “No” to any part, then you will be unable to become a Union Approved Driver.

Staff members of Imperial College should be aware of the ‘not for hire or reward’ rule regarding driving minibuses while at work. Guidance provided by the College can be found here.

In essence, if a minibus driver is paid or rewarded for the time they are behind the wheel whilst on College business, or if passengers are charged a fare or contribution for the right to travel in a College minibus, the driver is deemed to be driving for “hire or reward”. This is a contravention of our Section 19 Permit and is not allowed

Section Two

  • Have you received any endorsements (penalty points) in the last three years?
  • Have you ever been disqualified from driving?
  • Have you had any accidents in the last three years? 
  • Do you have any restrictions on the entitlements on your driving licence?
  • Are you aged 67 or over?

If you answered “No” to all the questions in Section Two then you can book a Minibus Introduction session via the Union website. If you answered “Yes” to any question in Section Two then your application to become a Union Approved Driver will have to go through a separate process which may involve it being referred to the ICU Executive Committee - though you are not automatically excluded from becoming a Union Approved Driver. If you have answered “Yes” to any part in Section Two then please contact, giving details of which part you are ineligble for.  If at any time your status regarding the criteria in Sections One & Two change then you must inform the Union by emailing This may change your driving status as a Union approved driver.

Minibus Inductions

Minibus Induction involves both a Theory and Practical test.  All Union Approved Drivers need to have passed both of these tests for insurance purposes, and to ensure that you are up to the standard of driving the Union expects.  If you do not pass your Theory test the first time around, you can re-take it as many times as necessary. If you do not pass your Practical test, then you are eligible for one free re-test.


You must complete the Theory test before you undertake your Practical test. The theoretical test involves familiarizing yourself with the training materials, related to minibuses, in the training hub

The questions are taken from sample DSA minibus theory test questions and the information in this training hub and can be completed “open book” style. 


The practical part of the introduction needs to be booked in advance. This must be done online via the Union website shop. There will be a small cost for a scheduled session within working hours and slightly more for an introduction outside these times.

Please arrive promptly at the Union Reception on the 2nd Floor of the main Union Building in Beit Quad, as the staff are not able to wait for you.

The website may not display any available dates, or display dates which are “out of stock”. This means that there are no sessions currently scheduled, or in case of the latter, that these sessions are full. You will have to put your name down on the Minibus Induction Waiting List or pick a different date.

The Practical test involves familiarisation with the minibuses, including learning how to do the daily routine checks. This is followed by a drive around the local area. In particular, the assessor will be checking to see that you drive safely, can manage the length of the vehicle and are generally happy with driving. If you are not up to the required standard you will be given the chance to have a re-test, free of charge.

Please note that the minibuses are all manual vehicles, and you should only attempt the minibus test if you are comfortable driving using a manual gearbox.

When you come to the Practical test, please remember to bring the following:

  • Your Driving Licence (if you have the new style UK licence this includes the paper section as well as the plastic card as BOTH parts need to be seen)
  • A completed Union Approved Driver Form.
  • A DVLA Check Code (for UK Drivers only)

Once you have passed the Theory and Practical tests, you will be granted approval to drive minibuses for three years. After this period you will have to go through the process again.

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