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How to prepare for driving licence changes

by Steph 29th April 2015
Driving licence changes

Monday 8th June 2015: The UK Government has introduced driving licence changes that will impact you if you’re planning to hire a car in the UK and Northern Ireland. Here’s a guide to the changes being introduced and how to prepare for them.

Before driving licence changes

British driving licences existed in two parts: a photocard and paper counterpart. You probably use your photocard on a day-to-day basis as proof of identity/ address, whilst the paper part is filed away somewhere. The paper part of your licence was originally introduced to show any details that couldn’t be included on the photocard, including vehicle categories you’re entitled to drive and any fines/ penalty points.

Driving licence changes: the end of paper counterparts

The paper counterpart is no longer valid and will cease to be issued by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). All information traditionally shown on the paper counterpart will now be recored electronically on DVLA’s driver record and can be checked online free of charge.

What changes mean for your holiday

If you are hiring a car on holiday in Europe, you do not need to take any further action or do anything differently. Europcar, our car hire partner, has released a statement confirming that:

“UK driving licence holders hiring vehicles outside of the UK and any drivers holding a non-UK driving licence are unaffected by these changes”

If you are holidaying elsewhere in the UK or Northern Ireland, however, you will now need to obtain a special code that companies will use to access all of your driving details and penalty-point record.

How to access your driving licence code

You will need to request your unique code from GOV.UK and present it to your chosen hire company. Alternatively, you can apply by post or call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801 to request a code.

Codes will only be valid for 72 hours, meaning that if you want to hire a car more than 3 days after your holiday starts, you may need to generate a new code while you are away.

Further help and support

Full details of the driving licence changes can be found on the DVLA’s website and this short online video provides a summary of what to do when hiring a car.


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