If you have a British driving licence and are planning on hiring a car at any time in the future then you need to know about this.
We’re going to hire a car in Italy on holiday this summer. We usually hire a car with no problem when we go on a family trip abroad. Here’s a video I made last year showing what it was like driving in Sicily:
But I’m not sure how it will work out this time.
Booking the car is not the issue – we’ve shopped around for the best deal and reserved a car already. The part which I’m not sure about is actually collecting the car when we arrive in Italy. This is because the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) has gone and changed things.
New DVLA system
This week the DVLA has scrapped the driving licence counterpart – the green piece of paper which goes with the pink plastic driving licence. This counterpart shows your driving endorsements and is used by car hire companies to check your record when you hire a car. Although often they don’t actually check it at all.
In order to save money the DVLA has introduced a new online system where you can check and share your driving endorsements. From now on, before hiring a car you must obtain a code from the DVLA website to verify your driving record. You need to be organised because this code is only valid for 72 hours. This means that you have to make sure that you get the code no more than three days before collecting your hire car. So if you’re picking up the car several days or more after leaving home then you’ll need to take the necessary information with you and find some internet access in order to go on to the website and obtain the code.
How to obtain a code
The DVLA has published this detailed guide showing exactly how to check and share your driving licence details. This is what they say you need to do:
- Go to https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
- Enter your driver number, the postcode shown on your current driving licence and your National Insurance number.
- You can now view your driving licence information. You can click on a button to share that information with another person at this point.
- Click on the ‘Create a code’ button.
- You will now be shown a ‘check code’ which can be used only once and which is valid for 72 hours. You can also choose to ‘View, print or save your licence information’.
I’m sure that many people won’t know about this and that many who do know about it will forget to obtain a code before picking up a hire car. And many of the people who do go to the trouble of getting a code may not even be asked for it anyway.
I’ll be interested to see what happens to us in Italy. I’ll definitely get a code before we set off but my hunch is that we won’t even be asked it when we collect our hire car. My husband and I can’t remember ever being asked to show a driving licence counterpart when hiring a car.
The DVLA wants us to destroy our paper driving licence counterparts. Personally I think that they could be worth keeping because many car hire places abroad will have no idea about the new system.
What do you think?
Did you know about the change? What do you think about it? Have you hired a car yet under the new system?
Thank you so much for this, we are going to Sicily in a couple of weeks and are in the process of booking car hire and I have been finding it so difficult to find any information from the DVLA. We will be taking the counterpart with us too, just in case!
Gretta Schifano says
You’re welcome – I hope that it all works out OK.
Helen Menges says
Thank you for that, Im not sure there’s any other way we would have found out!
Gretta Schifano says
You’re welcome – I don’t think that many people know about it at all!
We haven’t hired abroad but have recently had to renew our licences and thought it a waste of money that they sent paper parts that then have to be destroyed. Best of luck but yeh I bet you don’t get asked.
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As I don’t drive it doesn’t affect me but I am in favour of being as paperless as possible x
Rachel recently posted…PMD Personal Microderma Device
Thanks for sharing! I hadn’t heard about this and will be renting a car next month in the US so will make sure to get the code ahead of our trip and hold onto my counterpart document to be safe. Do think it’s pretty fiddly though!
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Michelle Twin Mum says
Oh my word, I had no idea. Thanks so much for sharing and how crazy is 72 hours! Makes me so cross. Mich x
Michelle Twin Mum recently posted…Dear So and So – Random Musings June 2015
I think it is a great idea – I can never find mine when I need it, but you are right, it needs to be publicised more so people know what they need when hiring cars
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Sarah Bailey says
I think this sounds fiddly and the fact the code only lasts for 72 hours could really cause issues should timings go wrong.
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Jenny Young says
This is a typical civil service c… up! Bet theyhad a focus group with lots of meetings about this. In my view, as an ex civil servant, I bet they forgot about car hire and how it would impact. As I have recently had to renew my licence, I was informed about this change 2 months ago. I was very sceptical so am keeping the paper bit just in case
Cathy (MummyTravels) says
Really useful – I hadn’t realised about the 72h rule. But I suspect you’re right and a lot of places won’t ask. I shall be hanging on to my paper counterpart in the meantime anyway as it lives in my travel documents folder…
Jen aka Muminthemadhouse says
I do worry what will happen if the computers go down and you need access!
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What a palaava! That’s very annoying, thanks got info, will keep it in mind x
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Erica Price says
I’m planning to keep mine just in case – I think the AA are recommending that you take them abroad at the moment just in case. Could do with out having to get the code at the last minute before a holiday – there is always so much to do just before you go.
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This seems unduly complicated! Sometimes we rent a car last minute when we find we want to go explore and the regular tours don’t cover it. In the USA I find they always check the White piece of paper.
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This seems unduly complicated! Sometimes we rent a car last minute when we find we want to go exploring. I
Oh that is really interesting, I should come out of my box more often as I had no idea about this, we haven’t hired a car for a couple of years now but I will remember this when we do x
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