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Driving licence changes: counterpart to photocard is abolished

The paper counterpart to your driving licence displays any endorsements and penalty points, and which vehicle categories you are allowed to drive, but as of 8 June 2015 it will not longer be valid and won’t be issued by DVLA (unless you have a licence issued by DVA in Northern Ireland).

How does this affect you?

Taking your theory or driving test

From 8 June 2015, you don’t need to take your paper counterpart with you when you go for your theory or driving test, but you must still take your photocard, or your old-style paper licence. If you forget it, your test will be cancelled and you’ll have to pay again.

Customers with existing paper counterparts

DON’T destroy your current photocard licence, but DO destroy your paper counterpart.

Driving licence photocard and counterpart

Customers with paper driving licences

Paper driving licence
If you have one of the old paper licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, it remains valid. DON’T destroy it.

If you need to update your name or address, or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.

Penalty points (endorsements)

From 8 June 2015 new penalty points (endorsements) will only be recorded electronically, and will not be printed or written on either photocard licences or paper driving licences. This doesn’t mean that the fines go away, though. If you commit an offence you will still have to pay the fine and submit your licence to the court.

This means that from 8 June 2015 neither the photocard driving licence nor the paper licence will provide an accurate account of any driving endorsements you may have. Instead, this information will be held on DVLA’s driver record, and can be viewed online, by phone or by post.

How to view your driving licence details

DVSA’s free View Driving Licence service lets you see what details are on your licence, including what vehicles you can drive and any penalty points you may have.


Confirming your driving record to an employer

If you drive for a living and you’re asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), you can do this online for free by accessing our Share Driving Licence service. The service should be used by both paper and photocard driving licence holders. You can generate a ‘check code’ to pass to the person or organisation that needs to view your driving licence details.

Alternatively you can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.

Checking Your Driving Licence

If your organisation regularly checks the counterpart for entitlements or endorsements, you can use the Check driving Licence service to check the licence using the code provided by the driver. With the driver’s consent you can view the details on a driving licence, eg the vehicle categories they’re entitled to drive and any endorsements or penalty points. This service also gives you the option to print or save a copy of the information.

To help companies or employers who use the new service use this step-by-step guide.

You can make a check by phone if you don’t have a check code to use with the online service. You’ll need to ask the driver you’re doing the check on to call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for the check.

You can then call DVLA on 0906 139 3837 (calls cost 51p per minute) to check the driver’s details after they’ve given their permission.

Hiring a vehicle

Hiring a vehicle could be a bit more complex as it is not as simple to show a licence that proves you have the right to drive a certain vehicle. Check with the hire company what they need to see when you hire a vehicle. If you’re asked for evidence of what vehicles you can drive or confirmation of any penalty points, you can request a unique code from GOV.UK which allows you to share your driving licence details or you can download a summary of your driving licence record (this is obviously something that could be abused with a bit of Photoshop knowledge if they only require a printout). The code lasts for up to 72 hours and will allow the hire companies to make any necessary checks. You can also request a code by calling 0300 790 6801. This also applies if you have a paper licence that was issued before 1998.

Why is the counterpart being abolished?

The decision to abolish the counterpart was a result of the government’s Red Tape Challenge consultation on road transportation. It also aligns with DVLA’s Strategic Plan which includes a commitment to simplifying their services.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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