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​Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you!

A deal from , 20. Jul. 2015 9:00 am

Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you!

Up until recent years when applying for a driving licence you would have to sit a theory test and a practical driving test, once you have passed both sections of this examination you would have then been issued a driving licence by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This licence would have come in two parts the Photo ID and the Counterpart (Green paper part of your licence). The Photo ID was used to identify the driver of the vehicle whilst, the Counterpart was where any convictions or penalty points you may have incurred would have been recorded, along with special vehicle categories you may be entitled to drive.

As of 8 June 2015 the DVLA removed the Counterpart Section of your driving licence and it no longer has any legal importance. The Counterpart section of the licence now has been digitalised and any convictions you may have incurred will now be recorded online.

Note A: This does not apply to Photo Card licences issued by DVA Northern Ireland so you must keep you Counterpart Section of your licence safe. Furthermore, on the DVLA’s website it states you must destroy your Counterpart Section of your licence (except for NI) however, we suggest hanging on to your Counterpart in general.

Note B: If you do not have a Photo ID (Photo Card) licence as it was issued before 1998 you MUST keep your Counterpart Section of your licence as it will remain valid, if you do apply for a new licence you will be automatically issued a Photo Card licence.

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How does this affect my holiday car hire?

Traditionally you would turn up to the car hire company’s rental desk whereby you will be asked to show your photo card licence and Counterpart. However, this will no longer be the case instead you will have to provide a unique code plus the photo card licence. This unique code has a validity of 21 days (formally 72 hours which has now been extended). As each car hire company has varying policies on rentals it is strongly recommended you double check if you require any additional documentation with the specific vendor you have booked with.

Tip: We suggest also keeping your Counterpart with you as a back up - this is just in case the car hire company you are using has not heard about the changes to the UK driving licences (especially the smaller car hire companies), in general the main tourist destination should have been notified but there is no harm in being extra cautious.

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How do you check your driving licence details?

Currently all you have to do to check your driving licence details is to visit the DVLA Driving Licence Checker which is a free service setup to allow drivers to check their current status, it will display the current vehicles you are permitted to drive along with any outstanding convictions or penalty points you might have on your record.

You will require three pieces of information to access the your driving licence records, your Driving Licence Number, National Insurance Number and Postcode.

How to apply for your unique code online step by step guide

Online: When you are travelling abroad or in the uk and you are hiring a car you will need to use the DVLA Licence Checker to generate a unique code which they will need to see upon rental. This is a BETA testing page and is still a fairly new system but it should be fully functional very soon.

1. Access the DVLA Licence Checker and fill in your Driving Licence Number, National Insurance Number and Postcode.

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2. The page will now load your personal details, where you need to click on "share your licence information BETA" button towards the top right hand corner of the navigation bar.

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3. Click on "create a code" to create a unique code for when you are hiring a car, you can do this up to 21 days before you rent (previously 72 hours).

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4. Your unique code should now appear for you to show the car hire company upon arrival, we recommend saving the code in a PDF format so you will not incur any data charges whilst abroad. Additionally we also recommend you make a note of your code for safe keeping.

If you do not have your driving licence with you: You can still apply for the unique code however, you will be required to fill in your personal details using this link. You must NOT loose or missplace this code.

Alternative methods to applying for the unique code

Print: You can use the same steps as above and make a print out copy of the unique code and record for you to show the car hire firm.

By phone: Call the DVLA – If you cannot generate a unique code online then you can call 0300 083 0013 and the DVLA will provide you with a code.

Don’t forget: Whilst travelling abroad you should keep your Driving Licence Photo ID or Paper Licence and National Insurance Number with you just incase you are unable to access your code for any reason. It is a much better idea to be prepared just incase anything goes wrong.

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How long is the unique code for?

The unique code originally had a validity of 72 hours however, this has now been revised by the DVLA and now has a validity of 21 days this means you have ample time to obtain this code however, you must make sure you have not incurred any convictions or points to your licence after you have obtained the code. If you have any additional convictions after issuing your unique code you will have to obtain an up to date code before you hire a car.

Tip: We do not suggest trying to obtain your code at the rental desk for two main reasons firstly, you do require the internet to access the DVLA Driving Licence Checker which could incur data charges if there is no free Wi-Fi available and secondly, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing before your holiday at a car rental desk if the system is not working. It is best to get the code a few days before travel and save it to your phone or mobile device in a PDF format this will save you incurring any data charges whilst abroad and it is saved to your device alternatively keep a print out of the code.

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Additional Information

If you are interested in finding out some more information about the driving licence changes and how they may affect your holiday car hire you might just want to head over to the Official DVLA Website. There is also a great video step by step guide on their site which shows you how to obtain the unique code and how the car hire company will be able to check your unique code, this is particularly helpful if your local car hire company was not aware of these new changes.

It has been reported there are some "fake" or "bogus" companies offering a fast track application process online, this is totally untrue there is no way to fast track applications and the service is completely free using the Official DVLA Licence Checker so you should NOT use any services other than the DVLA Licence Checker.

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DVLA Licence Changes Timeframe: 14. Jul. 2015 - 28. Jul. 2015

  1. United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
  • Step By Step Guide

    ​Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you! - 4

    ​Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you! - 2

  • Hiring A Car Abroad

    ​Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you!


​Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you!