If you live in the UK, you’ve probably been contacted by TV Licensing at some point – even if you don’t actually need a TV licence.
TV Licensing is the organisation responsible for enforcing the licensing laws. If the record shows you don’t have a licence, TV Licensing will reach out to you by post. An agent may visit your property to question you about your TV-watching habits.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to register as exempt.
Do I need a TV licence?
A TV licence is required to legally watch live broadcast TV or use BBC iPlayer in the UK.
You must have one if you do any of the following at home:
- Watch or record live TV as it’s being broadcast
- Watch live TV through streaming services like ITV Player, Sky Go, Channel 4, YouTube or BBC iPlayer
- Use the BBC catch-up service BBC iPlayer to watch recorded programs
- Watch live sports through Sky, BT or Amazon’s digital services
This applies whether you watch on a television, phone, PC or any other device.
One licence covers all of the residents and their TVs, computers and other devices at one property.
Can I stream without a licence?
Provided you are not watching live TV or using BBC iPlayer, you can legally stream recorded TV programs without a licence.
You also don’t need a licence if you have a TV that you use for gaming, watching DVDs or anything that is not tuning into live TV.
How to tell TV licensing that you’re exempt
If you don’t watch any live TV or BBC iPlayer at home, you can officially notify TV licensing of this fact.
Use this form on the TV licensing website to let them know that you don’t watch any TV services that require a licence.
This form is called the ‘No Licence Needed declaration’. Once you’ve completed it, TV licensing will update their records and stop contacting you about your ‘missing’ licence.
How much does a TV licence cost?
A TV licence costs £159 a year. You can pay this in one instalment, but it’s more common to split it into monthly direct debit payments of £13.25.
Discounts on your TV licence
Discounted TV licences are available if you meet one of the following criteria.
- If you’re aged 74 or over and you or your partner receive pension credit, you could qualify for a free licence.
- If you have a black and white TV you can pay a reduced licence fee of £53.50.
- If you’re blind or severely visually impaired you can qualify for a half-price licence fee of £79.50.
You can read more about the available discounts and apply through the TV licensing website
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