How to apply for a free and reduced BBC TV licence and who qualifies

photo of a tv licence on a computer keyboard
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Many people may not have a TV licence for a number of reasons - one of them being the high cost.

Currently, a colour licence costs £169.50, having risen on April 1 of this year. Meanwhile a black and white licence costs £57. If you are blind (severely sight impaired), you are still able to apply for a 50 percent concession meaning a colour licence costs £84.75.

However if you are struggling to pay these fees, there are ways to get a discount as well as getting it for free. But how do you do this, who qualifies and why do you need a TV licence? Here is what you need to know.

What do I need a TV licence for?

According to TV Licensing, your TV Licence lets you enjoy a wide variety of shows. It covers:

  • All TV channels, like BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Dave and international channels

  • Pay TV services, like Sky, Virgin Media and BT

  • Live TV on streaming services, like YouTube and Amazon Prime Video

  • Everything on BBC iPlayer.

They add: "This includes recording and downloading on any device."

Do I need a TV licence?

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photo of a tv licence on a computer keyboard
Do you need a TV licence? -Credit:Getty

You WILL need a TV licence if:

  • You watch or record TV at the time it's broadcast ('live' TV) through Freeview, Freesat or a pay-TV service such as Sky. This includes all channels, not just BBC channels.

  • You need a licence regardless of whether you rent or own your home.

  • You use BBC iPlayer on any device, including smartphones, laptops and tablets.

  • You watch live TV on streaming apps, such as ITVX, All 4, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.

You will NOT need a TV licence if:

  • You exclusively use the catch-up services on apps such as ITVX and All 4.

  • You only watch TV-streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video (if you watch live TV on Prime Video then you need a licence), Disney+ or Netflix, or YouTube videos.

  • You only use your TV to watch DVDs, Blu-rays or video cassettes.

  • You only use your TV to play video games.

  • If you're 75 or over and receive pension credit.

Can I get free TV licence?

You can get a free TV Licence if:

  • You, as the licence holder, are 75 years or older

  • AND you, or your partner living at the same address, receive Pension Credit.

However TV Licensing warn: "There is no discount or financial help with your TV Licence if you are on benefits or Universal Credit."

You can apply for a free TV licence here. You can also apply by phone - find out about call charges here

Telephone: 0300 790 6071
Minicom: 0300 709 6050

How do you qualify for a reduced fee licence?

You can get a reduced fee if you:

If these do not apply to you and your situation, you will need to buy a TV Licence.

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