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Paper driving licence now axed: what you need to know

On Monday 8th June, the DVLA scrapped the paper counterpart of UK driving licences, with just the photo card being valid.

The paper counterpart, which shows details of restrictions and penalties, is being replaced by an online system:

This service will allow you to view your driving record and create a licence check code, which is what you will need to do if you need to share your driving record with someone else, for example when hiring a car or to give details to an employer.

The change is just one of many to be implemented by the DVLA, with the aim being to simplify its services. Justine Greening, then Transport Secretary, explained the change, saying “Motorists shouldn’t have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance – we live in a digital age and we need to embrace that’. The change follows the recent abolition of the tax disc (October 2014).

So, what do these licence changes mean for you?


What if I only have a paper licence?

If you still have an old-style paper driving licence (issued before photocard introduction in 1998), this will remain valid & should not be destroyed. Should you need to update your licence for any reason, you will then be issued with a photocard.

Should I destroy the paper counterpart?

Although the paper licence will (after 8th June) no longer hold any legal status, the AA advises that you keep hold of it for now. They suggest this as you may find that for the first couple of months after implementation, you may still be asked for the paper counterpart if you are looking to hire a car or travelling abroad, as there may still be people unaware of the change.

I’ve booked my theory or driving test – what do I take with me?

Previously, it was mandatory to take both parts of your licence with you when sitting a theory or driving test. From 8th June, you will no longer need to take the paper counterpart with you, but you must still take your photocard with you – your test will be cancelled and you will need to pay again if not.

What if I get points on my licence?

From the 8th June, you will still need to pay any applicable fine and submit your licence to the court, but information regarding the offence committed will not be provided on your driving licence or paper counterpart, and will instead be held online. This would be the same for those with only a paper licence.

What happens if I want to hire a car?

It would be wise first to discuss this change with the hire company themselves. If they do ask for evidence of restrictions and/or penalties, you must provide them with a unique code from which gives them access to your driving licence details. The other available option is to call the DVLA, leaving permission with them to allow a nominated hire company to check your driving record verbally. This second option would be used by those with an old-style paper licence too.


For further information on these changes, please visit  

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