Driver certificate

Tow truck drivers must hold a valid tow truck driver certificate issued by Fair Trading. Driver certificates allow motorists to identify who is authorised to tow their vehicle.

There are some situations where you may not be required to hold a license or drivers certificate.

These exemptions include:

  • an exemption from the requirement to hold a drivers certificate for a mechanic in the course of repairing a tow truck
  • the towing of recreational vehicles when being transported to or from a trade show, suppliers, manufacturers, dealers or repairers within the state
  • the towing, salvage or storage of a forklift truck, a golf-buggy, a ride-on mower, an excavator or a cherry picker
  • the list of exempt motor vehicles contained in schedule 1 of the regulation.

Apply for a driver certificate

How to apply

You now apply for or renew your Tow Truck licence directly through NSW Fair Trading. Post your application, supporting documents and payment (cheque, money order or credit card details) to:

NSW Fair Trading
PO Box 972
Parramatta NSW 2124

More information about applying for or renewing a Tow Truck licence is on the form.

Service NSW centres will continue to provide all other services, such as collecting or returning vehicle registration plates.

This change is designed to make it faster and simpler to get your licence. You will now also receive a notification via SMS or email about the status of your licence application, so you know what step it is at in the process.

If you have any questions or feedback, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

What you need

To apply for a tow truck driver certificate, you must answer all questions and sign the declaration on the application form (PDF, 395.22 KB).

You will also need:

  • a photocopy of your valid, unrestricted driver licence (front and back)
  • two current photographs (passport size and quality) of your head and neck without a hat or sunglasses on a pale background
  • if you currently live, or have lived, in another Australian state or territory within the past 10 years, you must provide an original copy of a National Criminal History Record check (NCHRC). This document must be dated within 6 weeks of the application being made. You can apply for a NCHRC through Police in your current state/territory or through the NSW Police website if you currently reside in NSW
  • If you have lived overseas within the last 10 years, you must provide an original copy of a criminal history check issued by the relevant authority from each country you lived in
  • your driving record and traffic history will also be checked and assessed. If you hold or have held a driver’s licence in another state, territory or overseas within the last 3 years, you will need to provide an original statement of your complete driving history from each state, territory or country from the relevant licencing authority, dated within 6 weeks of your application.

Your application will not be processed without the required documentation and checks.


For information on driver certificate fees for 2020/2021 visit Fair Trading Tow Truck fees.

Assessment process

Once we have your completed application form, supporting documents, and fee payment, we will assess your application.

If your application is approved, we will send you a certificate.

Sometimes we do not approve applications. Reasons for this can include:

  • you have not met the qualification requirements
  • you have been convicted or found guilty of an offence in the last 10 years
  • you do not hold an unrestricted Drivers Licence
  • you have been disqualified from holding a drivers certificate

You will be notified in writing if your application is refused. You can apply for a review if you disagree with the decision made. Anyone found driving a tow truck without a valid certificate, may be fined up to $5,500 or be sentenced to 6 months imprisonment or both.

Important things to remember if successful

You must wear your driver certificate so that it is clearly visible while you are:

  • at, or near a motor vehicle accident
  • driving a licensed tow truck on a road or road-related area
  • carrying out, or attempting to obtain, any towing work
  • travelling in a tow truck as a passenger
  • using or operating a tow truck in any way.

You must show your certificate to any authorised officer or police officer who asks to see it.

Driver Certificate Duration

All new driver certificates will be issued for a period of 1 year. A certificate takes effect on the date it is granted or a later date if specified and remains in force for that specified period.

Renewing a certificate

A renewal form will be sent to you before your current certificate expires. This will also state if you are eligible for a 1, 3 or 5 year drivers certificate.

We must receive your renewal application before your current certificate expires, otherwise you won’t be able to drive until the application is finalised.

If your renewal application is received by Fair Trading, in the manner prescribed, before the expiry date, you can continue working for up to 90 days or until Fair Trading make a decision to grant or refuse the application.

If an application for renewal is not made by the expiry date, the certificate expires. There is a uniform period of 3 months in which you can apply to have your expired certificate restored.

Click here for more information on restoration.

Updating certificate details

You need to notify Fair Trading in writing of any changes to the information listed on your driver certificate a minimum of seven business days before the change occurs.

You can do this by sending an email with a signed and dated letter including a copy of updated drivers licence to or by mail addressed to: Tow Truck Processing Team, PO Box 972, PARRAMATTA NSW 2124

Three or five year driver certificates

Drivers who have a clear driving record and have continuously held a driver certificate for three years without their certificate being suspended, revoked or lapsed may apply for a three or five year driver certificate at renewal.

Cancelled or suspended licences

If your driver licence is suspended, disqualified, cancelled or expires, your tow truck driver certificate will be revoked and you must return it to Fair Trading by the specified date. Failure to do so is an offence with a maximum penalty of $2,200.

If you are convicted of a criminal offence in a court, your driver certificate may be affected.  Contact Fair Trading if this happens.

If your certificate is revoked, you will not get a refund on your certificate fees.

No further application for a driver certificate will be considered until your revoked driver certificate is returned.

To have your driver certificate reinstated, you must lodge a new application for a tow truck driver certificate and pay the full fee. An exception from automatic revocation applies for illness, incapacity, a medical condition or an expired drivers licence.

Compliance and enforcement

As the regulator of the tow truck industry in NSW, Fair Trading undertakes compliance and enforcement activities in the sector as part of its oversight function and to ensure compliance with the legislation. The requirements in the Act and Regulation regarding licensing of operators and certification of tow truck drivers play an important role in ensuring minimum standards of professionalism and behaviour in the industry, while also protecting consumers often at a time of vulnerability and stress.

Fair Trading employs an intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement as part of its overall commitment to delivering improved and more efficient government services. This ensures the agency's resources are directed to areas where they can best address non-compliant conduct or where they can deliver the greatest overall benefit for consumers and compliant businesses.

Download the Statement of Compliance Approach (PDF, 171.3 KB) to read more about Fair Trading’s risk-based compliance and enforcement approach.

Interstate drivers and mutual recognition

Interstate applicants can apply for a tow truck driver certificate in NSW under mutual recognition, provided they hold a comparable licence or registration in another Australian state or territory.

To apply for a tow truck driver certificate through mutual recognition, you must answer all questions and sign the declaration on the mutual recognition application form.

You will also need to provide:

  • evidence of your current registration in another state or territory
  • two current photographs (passport size and quality) of your head and neck without a hat or sunglasses on a pale background
  • a photocopy of your current full driver licence, provisional driver licences are not acceptable
  • because you are applying under mutual recognition it is likely that you live outside NSW. You must therefore provide a national police certificate from the police in your state.
  • If you live, or have lived, in another state within the past 3 years, you will need to provide an original statement of your complete driving history and drivers licence details from each state or territory issued from the relevant licencing authority, dated within 6 weeks of your application.

Your application will not be accepted without the required documentation and checks.

For questions on mutual recognition applications, call the Licensing team on 1300 131 134 and select option 1.

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