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Paperless driving licence one year on

Have you destroyed your paper counterpart?

UK driving licence

This week marks one year since the paper driving licence counterpart was abolished in the UK by the DVLA. The paper counterpart recorded all endorsements, penalty points and entitlements and was used as a legal document alongside the photocard licence.

Drivers were advised to destroy the paper part of their licence once the changes came into effect on 8 June 2015.

Paper-only licences

But there was one important exception — if the driver only holds an ‘old-style’ paper-only driving licence, issued before 1998. These paper-only licences are still valid and must not be destroyed.

Holders of paper-only licences can keep using their licence until any change of name or address, or if they receive any driving convictions. In these cases DVLA will then issue a photocard licence.

Hire car confusion

There was widespread confusion last year when the changes first came into place, as many drivers found when trying to hire a car. The paper driving licence counterpart had previously been required by car hire companies as a way to check if the driver had any driving offences recorded on their licence.

The DVLA rolled out a new online service to allow drivers to view and share any information that would previously be held on the paper counterpart. Drivers are able to generate a code on the site to enable hire companies to view relevant information about their licence, including penalty points and restrictions.

However when the system went live last year, the code was initially valid for just 72 hours. This created difficulties for drivers planning to hire a car abroad as many preferred to generate the code in the UK before they travelled. The window was subsequently extended so drivers could generate a code that would be valid for 21 days.

Among this confusion, it’s no surprise that some drivers were hesitant to destroy their paper driving licence counterpart. Have you destroyed yours or kept hold of it? Let us know in our poll below:

  • Keiron Roberts

    I had to go on a driver awareness course last year :( and we were told to bring both the photo an paper counterpart. On the day the police said it wasn’t them who wrote the letter and didn’t expect it.

  • Charles Gallagher

    I HAVE JUST RENEWED MY DRIVING LICENCE AT THE POST OFFICE I HAD TO TAKE BOTH PARTS OF MY LICENCE.

    • Jason

      I renewed mine 3 mths ago being 6 yrs out of date and they didn’t ask for paper

    • Carol

      I work at a main Post Office where we have a machine that is linked to the DVLA database at Swansea. I can confirm that only the plastic licence is required for renewal purposes, as the paper counterpart is now obsolete.

  • Andy Hornsby

    The original paper license is not replaced by a photo-card license if you collect points: it is valid until the expiry date or until you change address. The points aren’t added to the back any more, and anyone who needs to see your license will use exactly the same system as with a photo-card to get a current status.

  • William

    In my experience when hiring cars abroad they are not interested in the on line record, just the plastic licence.

    • reellifephotos

      Exactly! I hire cars abroad several times a year, both in Europe and further away, yet have never, ever needed either the paper counterpart or the new code, despite being prepared with them should they be needed.

  • Paul Diss

    I think we had to send ours in when we changed our address. We only have the new ones now!

  • Ian

    I hire cars abroad 3 or 4 times a year, and have never been asked for the paper counterpart. I was even told one time we only want the card here.

  • Flak magnet

    Thrifty Car Hire in Dubai don’t get old style paper licences. Affordablecarhire.com (UK) sent out an email to them stating that paper licences were no longer valid – they didn’t say old style paper licences still were though! Try explaining to a disinterested Philipino lady at 3am after a 10hr flight the difference between old style paper and new style paper. What a cock-up. Took hours to resolve. Affordablecarhire didn’t want to know.

    • Tony Curr

      Visit their offices with pepper spray and a baseball bat. See how disinterested they are then.

  • Jo

    I was unfortunate enough to be stopped by the Police a few months ago and given a fixed penalty fine. I was advised by the Police that it was essential that I produce the paper part of my licence when paying the fine. Having spent several days trying to find it when I did and presented it at the fines office I was told it was NOT required and was obsolete. Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to tell the Police about the change?

    • Steve

      They probably sent a tweet with #Police in it, and thought “Job done, police told.” About as effective as the way they told the public…

    • Murray Snudge

      The Tom Winsor report on the police force did say that the entry requirement was too low – in other words many police officers are thick.

    • Martin Winlow

      ‘Society gets the police service it deserves…’ MW

  • Nick

    I agree with Ian on this. I have been hiring cars abroad regularly for decades and I have never been asked for the green paper part. I was glad to be able to get rid of it. One less thing to keep in my wallet! All the fuss strrred up by the media on this is complete nonsense in my experience.

  • Railwayman

    I knew that we didn’t need to keep the paper part any more. Good job too as mine was about to fall apart anyway. However, something stopped me from destroying it. Ah yes! If we vote to leave the EU, I bet the paper part will be reintroduced just to make it difficult for non-EU Europeans to hire a car in the EU! LOL

  • tanith

    Not destroying mine have kept it all in tact no way will I its got photo aswell im not getting caught out that easy

  • DaveH

    I hired from Europcar in Belfast In May. They were the first to ask me for a code since the requirement came in. I asked what would have happened if I hadn’t got a code. They told me that they would have generated a code for me but would soon be charging for that service. The code can only be used once so be sure you have generated enough for your whole trip or have access to gov.uk while you are away and you will need your NI number as well.

  • Roger

    I’ve still got my “red book” style licence and my fathers which was cloth bound, of course The’re no use but eventually the paper one will be equally nostalgic!

    • Gjh

      …and probably worth money to a collector!

      • alpato

        Or fraudster?

  • Litcho

    Still kept mine as I don’t trust the governments various attempts to digitise everything, the various schemes that have been introduced i.e with the NHS and the DWP that have not worked. Plus anyone with a hackers skill may be able to wipe out your digital record.

  • Cynical with reason

    Haven’t destroyed mine as I have absolutely no faith whatsoever that any new system brought in by our gov will actually work correctly or without some ‘loop hole’ that they hadn’t thought of which then requires a further rethink or even a U- turn. So I’ll wait and see….

  • Daljit Saund

    Why must it be DESTROYED? D’oh!

  • Eclectic Badger

    A change of address forced a new plastic credit card licence recently, replacing my zero endorsed paper licence. As a British passport holder, I didn’t even have to provide a current photograph as the DVLA and HMPO share information. Now all I have to remember is to renew the plastic licence (and photo) every ten years to prevent being fined.

  • Faz Sataki

    The Department of Transport minister has made the British Drivers life more complicated so the Corporations who have the tendered Contract can make more money. Yet the communication between each department is a complete mess. The transport minister and department employees involved are not in touch with the grass root level. The Tramsport minister should be scrutinised and should be called up for scrutiny.
    The transport minister is not fit to be minister of the department. Again, it is the middle-classes and hard working classes who are left in a limbo.
    Extremely poor leadership and representation for the British people by this Conservative Party Leaders who probably do not have a clue about what is going on the Transport Department. Makes us wonder, how much money Corporations are making from these blunders and poorly organised system.

    They need to keep things simple and straight-forward for the safety and welfare of the driver’s. As if they create confusion and problems than the Department of Transport should be liable for confusing, mis-managing relating to mis-leading the British drivers.
    It’s simple. The transport minister should be scrutinised and disciplined at-least as the British public has paid their Tax’s to be spent sensibly.

    I hope this helps the British 6driver’s to bring these raised issues forward.

  • Faz Sataki

    Please ‘SHARE’ as privatisation is one step forward and two steps backwards.

    The Department of Transport minister has made the British drivers life more complicated so the Corporations who have the tendered contract’s can make more money. Yet the communication between each department is a complete mess. The transport minister and department employees involved are not in touch with the general British public at grass root level. The Transport minister should be scrutinised and should be called up for scrutiny.
    The transport minister is not fit to be minister of the department.
    Again, it is the middle-classes and hard working classes who are left in a limbo.
    Extremely poor leadership and representation for the British people by this Conservative Party Leaders who probably do not have a clue about what is going on the Transport Department and how the British drivers are left completely mis-guided and confised. Makes us wonder, how much money Corporations are making from these blunders and poorly organised system.

    They need to keep things simple and straight-forward for the safety and welfare of the driver’s. If they create confusion and problems then the Department of Transport should be liable for confusing the British public, mis-managing in relation to mis-leading the British drivers.
    It’s simple. The transport minister should be scrutinised and disciplined at-least as the British public who has paid their Tax’s to be spent sensibly.

    I hope this helps the British driver’s to bring these raised issues forward.

  • Angela

    Changed my licence only last month to a photo card. I had to send my paper licence which I have held since 1979 to the DVLA along with the application form. On receiving my card the paper licence had not been returned. I hope this does not cause problems in the future

  • adrian hart

    when i hired a van i had to produce photocard and paper licence and also my national insurance number.i have learned not to throw paperwork away as i also had problems getting a passport although i have had one before.

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