Do you need to keep your paper driving licence?

Do you need to keep your paper driving licence?

Since 8 June 2015, the DVLA are not issuing the paper ‘half’ (or counterpart) to UK driving licence holders any more. So if you apply for a name change, address change or update to your details, it’s only the credit-card sized plastic card that will be updated.

Do I need to keep the green paper part of my licence?

If you have a green, paper driving licence counterpart at the moment, then that piece of paper will lose its validity this summer (2015). Unless your driving licence issued pre-1988, in theory you won’t need it to keep it at all. However, that may be a good idea for a while: it’s not clear yet how much information the car-hire companies in Europe have about these changes.

  • If you’re driving abroad after 8th June 2015, the DVLA advises you to show the hire-car company a special code taken from its Share Driving Licence service instead.
  • The code will be unique – and will be valid for 21 days – but it should give the company access to your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), online.

It looks as though driving licences issued for Northern Ireland aren’t affected. Our advice is to take a copy of your counterpart with you, as well as getting that up-to-date code from the DVLA. In the short term, many car hire firms may insist on seeing the paperwork they’re used to; it may take a while for other countries to catch up on changes in UK legislation.

Why did we have two parts to a licence in the first place?

The paperwork was a way to show details that would have taken up too much room on the credit-card sized plastic card: things like endorsements and points, vehicle categories and notes about physical disabilities. Now, that information’s all held centrally on the DVLA’s driver records system.

When the counterpart goes, will my points disappear?

No. Points, endorsements and other details will also be held on the DVLA’s driver records system. You can already use the DVLA’s View Driving Licence Information service to see what information is being held about you on the database. All you’ll need to know is your National Insurance number, your home postcode, and your driving licence number. And if you’re not sure that is, then you can find out quickly online: the service can be accessed using your name, date of birth and gender too.

Why is the driving licence counterpart disappearing, anyway?

It’s part of the government’s long-standing commitments to cut down on red tape and save money in vital services whenever and wherever it’s practical. It’s the same reason that you haven’t needed to display a tax disc since October 2014. The government hopes this latest change will save around £5m every year: it’s also a highly productive move towards reducing its carbon footprint – over 30 million pieces of paper won’t need to be printed, or posted, out to drivers.

Is this a good thing?

We think so, yes. It’ll be one less thing to worry about when you’re travelling. It’ll also mean you’ll have far fewer worries about someone using the paperwork in identity fraud. 

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