DVLA Licence Changes: What you need to know for hiring a car abroad


From 08/06/15, the DVLA has scrapped the use of the paper counterpart for UK driving licences, and has replaced them with a new online system.  As a result, this affects travellers hiring a car abroad.

What does that mean for you?

If you are planning to hire a car on holiday, or already have one booked,  your paper licence counterpart will no longer be accepted.

This means that you need to log on to the new GOV.UK View Driving Licence page and get a special code, before you go on holiday. This code will  be valid for 21 days, and will be able to let the car hire firm log in to view all of your driving licence details, so that they can allow you to collect your  hire car.

How to get your code:

1. Visit the ‘View Driving Licence’ Website HERE

2. Login with your details; for this you will need your driving licence number, your National Insurance number, and the postcode on your driving licence.

3.  Obtain your special code (valid for 21 days as of 10/07/15) which will give a valid third-party, such as a car rental company, access to your driving licence details

4.  The advice is, as well as your code, log in to the system and print out a copy of your licence, plus bring your paper version along anyway on the off chance that the car hire firm isn’t yet aware of the changes. There may be a bit of confusion during the changeover period so better to be over prepared!

DVLA TOP TIP: Bring an old payslip with you on your holiday, just in case you forget your NI number or lose your NI card

More Information

You can now find all of your relevant driving licence information, from penalty points to what vehicle categories you’re allowed to drive, on the new View Driving Licence segment of GOV.UK.  As a result, the paper counterpart will now no longer be issued to drivers, or have any legal status- which also means that you won’t have to worry about having it on you every time you set out in the car!

It is worth noting however, that if your driver’s licence was issued in 1998 or earlier, then the paper counterpart is still considered to be valid. The DVLA system changes also do not apply in Northern Ireland.

The DVLA has advised that if you have a paper counterpart then it should be destroyed- however, some people are worried that this may affect them when they are trying to hire a car abroad, especially where rental companies may be unaware or not yet prepared for the changes to the system. For this reason, you may want to hold on to your copy for a little while, just in case.

 *** UPDATE***

The DVLA has now extended the lifetime of validation codes from 72 hours (as it was on the 8th June 2015) to 21 days, following a number of complaints

Tanya Johnson
Tanya Johnson

Tanya Johnson is the Marketing Manager at Tots to Travel, mum of one, big fan of family adventures, the great outdoors, sport and fitness.

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