Getting a TV licence

You need to have a valid TV licence if you:

  • watch or record live TV programmes on any channel
  • download or watch programmes on BBC iPlayer.

Live TV means any programme you watch or record as it’s being shown on television – not just live events, such as sport or music.

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

You can apply for a TV licence on the TV Licensing website or by post, phone or at any PayPoint. There are various ways to pay and you can spread the costs.

Over 75 free TV licence

If you’re 75 or over you can get a free TV licence but you won’t automatically get one when you turn 75.  You – or a friend or relative – have to apply to TV Licensing.

You’ll need to give them your:

  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • address, including postcode
  • current TV licence number if you have one (you can look this up on the TV licensing website).

Don’t cancel your existing licence.  If you’ve already paid the full fee, you can ask for a refund.

If you’re 74, you can get a short-term TV licence to cover you until your 75th birthday when you should receive your free over 75 licence.

Your free TV licence covers you and anyone else you live with, no matter how old they are. If the current licence is in someone else’s name, you’ll need to apply for the free licence in your own name and provide the existing holder’s licence number.

Have you heard about the planned changes to the TV licence fee?

The BBC is planning to start charging over-75s for their licence fee unless they are receiving Pension Credit. That means it’s more important than ever to check you’re not missing out on Pension Credit. Check whether you’re eligible using our online benefits calculator now.

Other discounts

If you’re registered blind or severely sight-impaired you can apply for a 50% discount on your TV licence. You’ll need to provide a copy of your document of blind registration or a certificate from your ophthalmologist with your licence number. Your licence will also cover anyone else who lives with you. To apply, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/blind.

The discount doesn’t apply if you’re partially sighted (sight-impaired).

If you’re living in a care home or sheltered housing and you're under 75, you may be eligible for a reduction on your TV licence. Both you and the place where you live must qualify for an ARC Concessionary Licence. Check with the accommodation manager or warden to find out if this applies to you as they are responsible for organising this concession.

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

Next steps

For more information, go to tvlicensing.co.uk

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