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Paperless driving licence: What you need to know

Read about the changes to the driving licence system that came into effect in June 2015

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All UK driving licences issued since 1998 comprise of a photocard and a paper counterpart — the paper section currently records all endorsements, penalty points and entitlements and can be used as proof of your driving record. But on 8th June 2015, the DVLA scrapped the paper driving licence counterpart. Driving history details are now stored electronically and your details can be accessed securely online using the new View Driving Licence service.

The latest driving licence changes are part of a shake-up of DVLA’s processes, which includes scrapping the tax disc and cutting the cost of applying for a licence, which is set to save motorists £18 million per year.

The changes were originally planned for implementation in January 2015, but the scheme was pushed back 6 months in order for the online driving licence check system to be completed.

paperless driving licence

Can I destroy my paper driving licence?

If you have a two-part (card and paper) driving licence, you can destroy the paper counterpart of your driving licence after 8th June 2015. After this date, the paper section won’t be a legally recognised document.

However, if you have a pre-1998 paper-only driving licence, you must not destroy this. You don’t need to take any immediate action and can keep your old-style licence until you need to change your name or address, or if you need to renew after age 70. You can choose to upgrade to a photocard licence at any time, and can apply via the DVLA website or at the Post Office.

For most drivers, the new system requires little or no action. However, there are some changes you need to be aware of if you plan to hire a car or if your employer carries out driving history checks.

Sharing your licence details

You can view your own driving licence details at any time by visiting the DVLA website — you’ll need to enter your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and postcode to access the service.

But in some cases, you may need to share your driving licence details with others (hiring a car, taking driving lessons, or complying with employers’ checks, for example). In the past, you would have presented your paper counterpart as it showed all your driving entitlements and endorsements.

The new system allows you to download your driving licence history or provide temporary access to those you have granted permission to.

You can share your driving licence details in a number of secure ways:


  • Go to the DVLA website and log in using your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and postcode
  • Generate a unique code using the Share Driving Licence tool
  • Provide the unique code and the last 8 digits of your driving licence number to the hire company or employer that has requested your driving history. The code can only be used one and must be used within 21 days

By telephone:

  • Call DVLA on 0300 083 0013 and provide your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and postcode to generate a unique access code
  • Share the code with the hire company/employer. The code can only be used once and is only valid for 21 days

Alternatively, call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for a nominated person/business to check your driving licence history over the phone

By post:

Send a request form to:

Driver Licence Validation Service
SA99 1AJ

You must include a cheque or postal order for £5 (payable to DVLA, Swansea). You will then be provided with a hard copy of your driving licence information that you can share with your employer or car hire company.

Alternatively, you can access the site and download your driving licence history as a PDF once you have generated a code — but be aware that some companies may not accept this as it is not live information.

Hiring a car abroad

If you’re planning on hiring a car on holiday, it’s recommended you generate an access code online or by phone before you go away. As the code is only valid for 21 days you may have issues if you’re off travelling for a few weeks. If the hire company does insist on making licence checks, you’ll have to find access to the web to generate a code, or alternatively call the DVLA from your destination.

You may wish to print a PDF version of your driving licence history and take it on holiday with you, but be aware that not all hire companies will accept this as proof of your up-to-date driving history.

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