Changes to the UK driving licence: what you need to know

Motoring advice

20 March 2018

The DVLA will phase out the paper counterpart to the UK photocard driving licence from June, 2015. If you’re planning on driving abroad here’s everything you need to know.

After June 8th, 2015, the paper counterpart to the UK photocard driving licence is no longer in use, however this will not impact your car insurance.

The DVLA won’t be issuing new paper counterparts, and drivers will no longer need to keep hold of existing ones.

All the information that used to be printed on paper counterparts, including which vehicles you’re eligible to drive, details of driving convictions and any penalty points (endorsements) you receive will be stored electronically. These changes don’t apply to licences issued by the DVA in Northern Ireland.

What you need to do

For day-to-day driving in the UK, you’re unlikely to notice the change. Photocard holders aren't required to update their licence and the photocard is still accepted as proof of your right to drive on UK roads. Pre-photocard (paper) driving licences are still valid proof of your right to drive in the UK too. In both instances, when you next renew your licence or change your address, you’ll just get a single, standard photocard back, without a paper counterpart. You can apply for a renewal online or at your nearest Post Office.

What is changing

After the 8th of June, no new information will be stored on paper licences or counterparts, and you’ll no longer be able to use these as legal proof that you have a ‘clean’ licence (with no penalty points) or that you can drive all vehicle types. Consequently, the government says photocard holders can destroy their paper counterpart.

However, it might be wise to hang onto it for a while. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has said the situation isn’t completely clear, so some businesses (like car hire firms, in the UK and abroad) may be slow to adapt – and could still expect customers to have their counterpart.

Checking your licence record

To access an up-to-date record of your penalty points and vehicle permissions, you’ll need to check the UK’s electronic driver record database. This can be done in three different ways:

  • Online, via the free View Driving Licence service. You’ll need your driving licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode on your licence.
  • By post, using the D888 request form and a cheque/postal order for £5 payable to ‘DVLA, Swansea’.
  • By phone, by calling 0300 790 6801 to request your driver record.

Providing licence details

Some concerns have been voiced about how businesses can confirm you’re safe to insure. This can be an issue for employers, car hire companies (especially if you're hiring a car outside of the UK), test drives and courtesy cars.

In order for these businesses to access your details after the 8th of June, you’ll need to use the new Share Your Licence service, which works like this:

  • Log in to the View Driving Licence service using your licence number, National Insurance number and postcode.
  • Click on the Share Your Licence tab.
  • This generates a unique, single-use code, which can be downloaded along with a printable licence summary.
  • Pass the code, along with the last 8 digits of your licence number, to your employer or hire company to allow them to see your record.
  • The code lasts for 72 hours. Leave it any later and you’ll have to generate a new one in the same way.
  • If you can’t get online, you can request a code by calling the DVLA on 0300 083 0013.