How to Apply for a CSCS Card

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme or CSCS cards is an accreditation that demonstrates that you have been trained on how to be safe on construction sites. For many, this is the first step on the road to a long career in the construction industry.

People on a building site

While this is the key first step for most on their journey, it’s surprisingly tough to find much information about applying and attaining a CSCS card, a problem that will be solved with this guide to the entire process.

So, if you’re fresh out of college and are looking to take the first step in your career, or maybe someone that is looking for a career change further down the line, this article will help you understand the whole process of applying for a CSCS card.

What is a CSCS Card?

As we mentioned earlier, CSCS stands for Construction Skills Certification Scheme, and it is a certification that demonstrates that you are adept at maintaining safe standards while working on construction sites.

All sites and workplaces in construction will more than likely require this certification at the very minimum.

Essentially, companies won’t allow anyone to work on a construction site without this card, as it would leave them considerably liable for prosecution should any incidents arise in regard to health and safety, and to allow someone to work on-site without this card would definitely be regarded as negligent by the site owner.

There are actually eight different types of CSCS cards that reflect the job role of the holder. We’ll delve deeper into the different types of cards in the next section.

Types of CSCS Card

Green CSCS Card

Green CSCS cardholders are mostly used for Labourers, or as they were formerly known as Construction Site Operatives. Essentially, to qualify for this card, you need to be able to demonstrate that you are competent in some of the basic responsibilities of being a construction worker. These include, but are not limited to:

people at building site
  • Use and maintain power and hand tools relevant to the occupation
  • Oral reporting of information
  • Use of PPE
  • Can follow company and site guidelines safely

Blue CSCS Card

A blue CSCS card is for skilled workers that can prove their proficiency in the role. To qualify, workers must be able to produce:

  • A level 2 NVQ or SVQ
  • A NARIC report and certificate equivalent to NVQ level 2


  • Have completed an employer-sponsored apprenticeship, including the achievement of a City and Guilds of London Institute Craft Certificate.
  • Have taken and passed the Operative CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test. With a score of 47/50 or greater.

Gold CSCS Card

A Gold CSCS card isn’t too dissimilar from the blue card, as they are both for skilled workers. However, if you have taken the next step on the ladder to become a supervisor, you are then eligible for a gold CSCS card.

Of course, there needs to be some certifications to qualify for your new role, such as a Level 3 NVQ or SVQ, along with a completed apprenticeship.

White/Grey CSCS Card

White/Grey CSCS cards are for construction-related roles and not for construction roles precisely. This type of card is quite rare and is mainly for niche job roles that don’t fit under the conventions of any other colour CSCS card.

tradespeople wearing masks

Due to its rarity, there are no criteria for eligibility, as each application is judged on its own merit, and if it is deemed unsuitable for a white/grey card, there will be advise as to which colour card the person should apply for.

Yellow/White CSCS Card

A yellow/white card is for professionally qualified persons that don’t fit under the realm of any other card. This tends to be for job roles such as architects, surveyors and engineers.

To qualify for a yellow/white card, you must have passed the Health, Safety and Environment test for MAP and must be competency assessed and a member of one of the following bodies:

  • Architects Registration Board
  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Institute of Civil Engineering
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Association for Projects Safety
  • Energy Institute
  • Institute of Demolition Engineers
  • British Computer Society
  • Institution of Highways Engineers

Red CSCS Card

This card is for trainees, and to attain this card; you must be enrolled on a Construction Award course.

Yellow CSCS Card

A yellow CSCS card is simply for visitors to worksites and to attain this card you must have passed the Operatives Health & Safety test.

Black CSCS Card

A black CSCS card is for senior managers on the site, and to qualify for this card you must have passed the Health, Safety and Environment Test for MAP, along with hold a level 4 or 5 NVQ or SVQ.

Who Provides a CSCS Card?

Cards are attainable directly from the body that issues them, CSCS. As we mentioned earlier, it isn’t a legal requirement to hold a CSCS card to work on a construction site, but they are held in such high esteem that very few contractors will allow people to work on the sites without them.

Therefore, trying to work without a valid CSCS will block many opportunities for employment and training. You apply online for your CSCS card on

Who Needs a CSCS Card?

As you can see from the amount of different CSCS cards available, everyone from visitors to senior managers require a CSCS card on the majority of construction sites.

tradespeople at construction site

The different colour of CSCS card reflect the different roles that people play on construction sites, and each have different qualifying criteria from the trainee that must be enrolled on a course, to the manager that must have a level 5 NVQ or SVQ.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Apply for a CSCS Card?

There is a different qualifying criteria for each of the CSCS cards, and we delved deeper into the specificities of each of them in the ‘Types of CSCS Card’ section.

However, one constant throughout them all is the requirement that a CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test is taken and passed.

Now, this is sometimes referred to as a CSCS test, but no such test exists, and it refers to the CITB test. There is two exemptions. The first is for SOLAS cardholders who are not required to take the operatives level CITB test but are not exempt from the managers level test.

Additionally, those on apprenticeships are not required to have passed the CITB test as they will do so along their course.

How do You Apply for a CSCS Card?

CSCS have made it extremely easy to apply for a CSCS card. Simply visit their webpage, and head for the apply now button. From here, the website will take you through the step-by-step application, giving you the opportunity to upload all of the scanned copies of your test results and certifications.

filling out an application

Now, for the CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test, you’ll need to book this online here, and you can only apply for the CSCS card once you have the pass certificate from this test.

How Long Does an CSCS Card Application Take to Process?

There is a few timescales to take into account for this. Firstly, the timescale it takes to get a CITB test varies. Sometimes you may be able to get a test within a day or so, sometimes it may be closer to a week or two, but you can’t apply for a CSCS card until you have passed this test.

Once you have passed the test, and you have everything in hand, it takes between 3-5 working days to receive your CSCS card. Again, this can be delayed if any issues with your accompanying documents arise.

How Much Does a CSCS Card Application Cost?

There are two associated costs for the CSCS card application. Firstly, the cost of the CITB test is £22 per attempt, and the CSCS card costs £36.

Now, there are many websites masquerading as the CSCS card application site, but they will charge more than £36 for completing the application for you. You will not receive any extra services for using these companies, and you should always go directly through

There are some grants and schemes that can help pay for some or all of the CSCS card fee:

The CITB Levy and Grant System

Companies that pay the construction industry training levy can claim funding to put employees through the CSCS card application for free. If they are registered with CITB, they will be able to gain the same funding for the CITB test.

Local funding

Local Enterprise Partnerships are available in some areas to help with things like work certifications to help people that live within the community.

money growth

Now, not every council has an LEP, but reach out to your local Citizens Advice and find out if you fall within a catchment, or check online.


If you are unemployed, speak with your job coach, as there is funding available for you to take CITB training and apply for your CSCS card through your local job centre.

A CSCS card opens a lot of doors for people looking to get into the construction industry, and as we’ve discussed in this guide, the majority of sites will make it mandatory.

There are a number of resources available to help you attain this card, and it’s the first step on the road to attaining a career within construction.


Last updated by MyJobQuote on 22nd April 2022.
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