Do I need a TV licence?

You must have a valid TV licence if you:

  • watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on any channel
  • download or watch programmes on BBC iPlayer
  • watch or stream live programmes on an online TV service, such as ITV Hub or All 4.

Even if you don’t have a television, you may still need a TV licence for other devices – for example, a computer, laptop, tablet, digital box, games console or DVD recorder.

Can I get a free TV licence if I'm over 75?

The free TV licence scheme for people aged 75 or over changed in August 2020. You can only apply for a free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over and you, or someone in your household, is getting Pension Credit. This can be Savings Credit or Guarantee Pension Credit.

Pension Credit can be in your name or in someone else’s name if you’re living at the same address. This might be your partner or a relative, for example, or someone who is staying with you temporarily to care for you.

How to apply

You won’t get a free licence automatically. You need to apply online or by phone. You’ll also need to send proof that you or someone you live with is getting Pension Credit. This could be a copy of one of the following from the last 12 months:

  • your decision letter from the Department for Work and Pensions or the Pension Service
  • a bank statement showing your Pension Credit payment
  • a Warm Home Discount letter.

If you get a free TV licence, it covers you and anyone else you live with, no matter how old they are. If the licence at your address is in someone else's name, you’ll need the current licence number when you apply for your free licence.

If no one in your household is receiving Pension Credit, you’ll need to pay for your TV licence.

To find out if you qualify for Pension Credit, use our benefits calculator ocall our Helpline and arrange to speak to an adviser.

Are there any discounts?

If you’re registered severely sight impaired (blind), you can apply for a 50% discount on your TV licence. The licence will also cover anyone else who lives with you. You can find out how to apply on the TV licensing website.

You’ll need to send a copy of one of the following:

  • a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI)
  • a BD8 certificate
  • a certificate or document from your local council which shows that you’re registered as blind (severely sight impaired)
  • a certificate from an eye specialist, stating that you’re blind (severely sight impaired).

You won’t be able to get a discount if you’re partially sighted (sight impaired).

If you need information in Braille or audio, or you need other adjustments because of a disability, contact TV licensing on 0300 790 6076.

Do I need a TV licence if I live in a care home?

If you live in a care home, or supported or sheltered housing, you may qualify for an ARC Concessionary Licence. This is a special TV licence which costs £7.50 a year per room, flat or bungalow. You must be over 60 and retired, or disabled. The place where you live must also qualify. Speak to the manager or warden as they are responsible for organising this concession for you.

You won’t need a licence if you only watch television in common areas, such as a residents’ lounge.  

If you’re struggling to pay for your TV licence

You can apply for a TV licence on the TV Licensing website or by post, phone or at any PayPoint. There are different ways to pay. If you find it difficult to pay for your licence, you could spread the costs by setting up a Direct Debit or using a TV licensing payment card.

In some situations, you may qualify for a Simple Payment Plan. You can’t apply for this yourself – you need a referral from certain charities or debt advice agencies. These include Citizens Advice, National Debtline and Money Advice Scotland. You can find local debt advice agencies on the MoneyHelper website. Contact our Helpline if you need more information. 

If you watch television without a valid TV licence, you may be prosecuted. But this should be a last resort. Contact TV Licensing and ask them to help you work out the best way for you to pay. TV Licensing has more information about what to do if you're struggling to pay.

Beware of TV licence scams

Scammers sometimes target TV licensing customers. They may call you or send letters, emails or texts telling you, for example, that:

  • your licence is about to expire
  • you need to make an urgent payment
  • you’re entitled to a refund.

Scams can be very convincing. TV Licensing has advice on how to spot and report a TV licence scam.

To find out more about how you can protect yourself and what to do if you have been scammed, visit our scams pages.

Next steps

For more information, visit

To find out if you qualify for Pension Credit, read our free guide or call our Helpline to arrange to speak to an adviser.

Related publications

Share this article

Print this page