road trip car hire on holiday

Hiring a car abroad (without your license counterpart)

Changes to the hire process you might need to know

Hiring a car abroad is often an essential part of many holidays; a convenient means of getting out and about and exploring the local area. But will licenses changes that the DVLA will implement this summer effect the ease of this fairly straightforward process?

Currently the process simple – turn up at the car hire depot with your booking documents, both your photocard license and the paper counterpart, and off you go.

However, on 8th June 2015, the DVLA will scrap the paper counterpart of UK driving licenses. This is the part which holds all the information about your driving history and records of any past offences. It’s the part that is usually stored in a file somewhere between other important but rarely needed documents.

But, with the UK license counterpart invalid, how will hire companies be able to check on your driving record?

What you need to do if you want to hire a car abroad after 8 June 2015:

Log on to the DVLA website the day before you travel abroad

You will need your driving license number and National Insurance number to hand.

Input both numbers when prompted, and the DVLA website will issue a one-off passcode which you can then hand over to the hire company for them to check your driving record on a central database.

Important – this code will only be valid for 72 hours after activation. So rather frustratingly, if you are planning on collecting the hire car after this 72 hour window, you will need to either use a smartphone to log onto the system or find an internet café or business centre to loin while away.

Some rental companies will accept a printed out PDF copy of your driving history which you will be able to download when you first log onto the DVLA website with your details – we suggest you contact your hire company before you travel to see if this will be acceptable

The DVLA will set up a premium rate telephone line for hire companies to ring and check driving records, however there are no guarantees that companies will be willing to make this call or indeed if they can get through – so best not to rely on this service.

In all cases, it would be wise to cover yourself in all eventualities – log onto the DVLA system, make a note of the code 72 hours before you collect the hire car, print out the PDF and remember to take your national insurance number with you too.