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New style UK drivers licence and car hire abroad - advice: bring your national insurance number and be ready to access the DVLA's View Driving Licence Service

In the spring of 2015, confusion is widespread as to how the new British drivers licences will affect the rental of cars abroad.

At we try below to give you the best advice about how to proceed renting a car abroad with your new style drivers licence (British drivers licence with no counterpart).

New style UK drivers licence - online access of paper counterpart information
Previously a drivers licence in the UK consisted of two parts:

A) A proof of identity with picture, full name, address and other personal data coated in plastic. This part of a UK drivers licence is also referred to as the photocard

B) A counterpart in paper containing any endorsements or bans. This part is also referred to as the paper counterpart.

Most rental companies in the UK and many car hire companies abroad have required as part of their procedure a copy of both parts of the UK drivers licence in order to hand out keys to the customer.

As from 8th of June 2015, however, all drivers licences in the UK will consist only of the proof of identity (the photocard) - which will potentially lead to confusion when hiring a car (if not being able to provide copy of the counterpart).

The counterpart is abolished, but the data remain online. From June 8th 2015, it will be obtainable from the DVLA's View Driving Licence Service.

Please see the information video about the change in drivers licence rules below:

Also the old type UK drivers licences (issued before 1998) where the ID is made of paper will be subject to the change. Please note that the old style drivers licences are still valid, but information about endorsements (penalty points), bans and restrictions also for these types of UK drivers licences will have to be accessed online at the DVLA.

UK drivers licence changes unknown at rental car companies abroad
Since many foreign rental car companies, for years, have had a procedure of requiring to see both the Drivers Licence proof of ID with picture and the counterpart drivers licence in order to rent out a car to any British citizen, the new rules are bound, sometimes - and at least for a while, to create some confusion at car rental stations abroad.

The drivers licence changes may result in customers being denied car rental and turned away by failing to provide sufficient information of any possible restrictions, endorsements (penalty points) or bans of driving previously to be available from the paper counterpart drivers licence.

A solution has been made which involve the rental customer (and car rental company) to gain access to the paper counterpart data.

In order to access the data previously supplied with the drivers licence counterpart, customers for car hire will have to access the DVLA's View Driving Licence. Please see the DVLA video on the subject below:

How to access your DVLA drivers licence data - online DVLA code for car hire
Please go to the DVLA View Drivers Licence Service on the following link:

Check your drivers licence.

This web-based service is also referred to as the Share Driving Licence.

Here you can, based on your drivers licence number (from your ID drivers licence photocard) AND by entering your national insurance number, obtain a code - which you can give the staff at the car rental station.

The code is valid for 3 days only (72 hours) - so you must remember to bring your drivers licence as well as your national insurance number in order to access the code at the DVLA online from abroad.

With the code obtained from the DVLA, the car rental company staff can enter the last 8 digits of your drivers licence number and the postcode from your drivers licence (photocard) and see any endorsements, restrictions etc. on your UK drivers licence online - but only for 72 hours.

If you want direct help by phone, the DVLA premium-rate line is available at a hefty rate per minute. This is also the DVLA phone number that car rental companies can call.

Please see more information about new style UK driver’s licence on

New style UK drivers licence and car hire abroad - advice: bring your national insurance number and be ready to access the DVLA's View Driving Licence Service
Article: New style UK drivers licence and car hire abroad - advice: bring your national insurance number and be ready to access the DVLA's View Driving Licence Service
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Published: Wednesday, April 29 2015
Latest revision: Thursday, April 30 2015

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