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Car hire with newly issued UK drivers license - How to qualify for car hire

Most car hire companies require drivers to have held their drivers license for at least 12 months to qualify for car hire.

On some European holiday destinations such as Croatia (e.g. Zadar Airport, Zagreb Airport and Dubrovnik Airport) a 2 year requirement for holding a drivers license for car hire is the most common.

Foreigners with UK drivers licence - How to qualify for car hire
In some cases it’s also a requirement that the license for driving a hire car is issued by the main driver’s country of residence.

Foreign nationals with permanent residency in the UK, who hold a valid EU drivers license from another member state, can volunteer their licence in exchange for a UK license at the DVLA.

It’s important to note that the date of issue of any foreign license will NOT be transferred to the UK replacement license. So for instance, if a Spanish or Polish drivers license has been held for several years, only the issue date of the UK replacement licence will appear, as the DVLA currently cannot transfer seniority from any foreign licences to a UK license. It is, therefore, highly recommended to take a copy or scan of the original driving license prior to volunteering it to the DVLA.

Rent cars with a new UK drivers licence – less than 12 months old
As of August 2012, there is no set industry standard for what documentation is required from the main driver to prove any additional period for which a foreign licence may have been held prior to obtaining a new UK license.

To try to shed some light over the situation for many foreign drivers of hire cars in Britain www.Find-cheap-car-hire.co.uk has been in contact with AVIS and Hertz, who both confirm that foreign nationals with new UK drivers licence still can rent cars even though the time passed since the date of issue may be less than a year.

How to rent a car with a drivers licence less than one year old
The below information was found in August 2012:

Hertz Car Hire for foreigners
Upon collection of your hire car, Hertz rent a car will require the main driver to produce either a photo copy/scan of the old foreign driver’s license or other documentation of authentication by the foreign authorities where the previous license was issued.

Avis Car hire for foreigners
AVIS on the other hand has no specific document requirement, but deals with the driving license approval on individual basis at the local car hire office.

AVIS, therefore, recommends calling the car rental station prior to collection of the car, to confirm what additional documentation may be required apart from the “less than 12 months old” UK drivers license.

Sixt Car hire for foreigners
Gary Coughlan Customer Service Supervisor (Social Media) explains: There is no way for us to prove if the customer holds a licence for longer than 1 year, as DVLA has no Information and the customer don't have their old licence and like Avis we would review if the scenario presented itself.

We recommend that until the situation is clear for drivers with a newly issued UK drivers license (and holding a foreign drivers license more than one year), drivers renting cars with other hire vehicle suppliers than Hertz and Avis call the rental station in advance to avoid unforeseen delay and the possible refusal of renting a vehicle.

British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association ready to help customers
Car hire companies such as Sixt, Thrifty, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Enterprise and Green Motion are all members of British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association. The organisation is happy to help customers who may have encountered issues with their members relating to recently volunteered foreign licenses in the UK.

Vehicle rental with full peace of mind
When booking a car through the Cartrawler search engine on this website, an email confirmation will be sent out shortly after booking.

On the Cartrawler booking confirmation, full contact details of the local hire car company will be clearly highlighted. In the unlikely event that the car hire company require documentation, which is impossible for the main driver to obtain prior to the date of rental, it is possible to cancel the booking and the entire deposit will be refunded to the debit/credit card used as long as the cancellation is made no later than 48 hours before the scheduled collection of the vehicle.

For more details about legislation and exchanging a foreign European Community and European Economic Area (EC/EEA) licence to a full UK driving license, please use this this link for more information about the procedures of exchanging a foreign license to a GB licence.

Contact DVLA Swansea
You can also phone DVLA switchboard on: 01792 782 341. If you wish to skip DVLA’s automated phone service or can’t use DVLA 0300 number from your mobile, use DVLA’s standard landline 01792 782 341 and press option 2 (as if you were calling from abroad) and you will be put straight through to a live UK DVLA operator.


Car hire with newly issued UK drivers license - How to qualify for car hire
Article: Car hire with newly issued UK drivers license - How to qualify for car hire
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Published: Wednesday, October 24 2012
Latest revision: Monday, November 14 2016

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