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Are you ready for the paperless driving licence?

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June 4, 2015
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The paper section of the British driving licence is going the way of the tax disc from Monday, June 8. But what does it mean to you, and are you ready for the change?


Judging by media reports, the DVLA’s decision to scrap the paper counterpart – which displays drivers’ motoring convictions – is set to cause growing chaos for those looking to rent a car, either in the UK or abroad.

And let’s face it, having already queued for an age at baggage reclaim, another massive wait to collect a hire car from the airport – and then potentially be refused it – is hardly the way to get your summer holiday off to a scorching start.

But that’s the prospect facing British tourists as many seem blissfully unaware that, from Monday, they will need to generate a special code from the DVLA’s driving licence information website to hand over at the rental kiosk. Northern Ireland licences are currently unaffected.

Motorists will need to submit their driving licence number and national insurance number to generate a code, which is valid for just 72 hours.

Failure to do so could result in delays at the rental desk, or even being refused a hire car if you don’t have the information you need on you at the time you hire. Once you’ve generated a code, it’s worth printing off a PDF copy of the information to take with you to the car rental desk as a little bit of extra insurance.

The DVLA does stress that it will also provide a telephone number to access the information, but delays could still be rife.

So as well as your passport, sun cream, credit card, currency etc, it’s well worth adding the following to your holiday packing checklist if you’re planning on hiring a car:

  • Photocard driving licence
  • Note of national insurance number
  • Note of DVLA access code
  • Printed PDF copy of your DVLA digital information
  • Old paper counterpart just in case the rental desk itself are unaware of the changes

The move to digital could save the government up to £8m, on top of the annual £2m admin costs saved by scrapping the paper tax disc.

So, apart from renting vehicles, what else does it mean for drivers?

Should I destroy my paper licence?

Older licences issued before 1998, which do not also have a photocard licence, should not be destroyed as they will remain valid.

The MyLicence service that will allow insurance companies and brokers to check on customer’s licences is not yet live, so some providers – including Adrian Flux – will still be asking for copies of the paper licence in the meantime. It’s therefore worth holding on to your paper licence for a while. But if you have already lost or destroyed it, you can print off a PDF of your details from the government’s digital service and use that instead.

How will endorsements like speeding etc be recorded?

All motoring offences will be recorded digitally and held on the DVLA database, accessible at the roadside by police via the Police National Computer, and by insurance companies and other authorised agencies.

How will I change my address or other personal details?

You can either use your existing paper counterpart to post details of changes – though you’ll only receive a photocard in return – or you can amend your details online.

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