Car hire confusion as paper licence is scrapped

Posted on June 2nd, 2015 by GEM Motoring Assist

GEM Motoring Assist is warning drivers of holiday car hire confusion and delay when the paper counterpart driving licence becomes obsolete next Monday (8 June 2015).

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is scrapping the paper counterpart licence that accompanies all plastic photocard licences. This means information about penalty points can only be accessed online, by phone or through the post from DVLA.

Anyone hiring a car will need to log in online at the DVLA ( to generate a licence check code. This will be valid for 72 hours and should be given it to the hire company who will be able to access driver details.

To access the site, drivers will need to provide their driving licence number, post code and national insurance number

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE says: “We predict long car hire delays, particularly at overseas holiday destinations, simply because many car hire firms are going to be unaware of the changes and are likely to want to examine a paper document, even though it will not be valid.

“The scrapping of the paper licence gives already stressed holidaymakers one more task to remember before setting off. Worse still, if they’re not hiring a car until later in their holiday, they will be forced to find internet access at their foreign destination, something that could be expensive as well as inconvenient.

“Our advice is to obtain the licence check code as instructed by DVLA, but also to keep the paper counterpart licence as a back-up when you travel, even though it will have no legal status. After all, if a rental desk is unfamiliar with the new rules, then producing your counterpart paper licence might be the only way for you to get behind the wheel of your holiday rental vehicle.”

Paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid.