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Driving Licence Check Code - Car Hire

On June 8th 2015 the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence was abolished leaving just the photocard element of the driving licence valid. The paper counter part was used to record endorsements on a driving licence such as speeding fines and drink driving convictions (DR10), however that recording process has now moved to digital records. The DVLA now record your licence details and endorsements on a digital system and it is your responsibility to activate a licence share code when hiring a car in the UK.

driving licence check code
Whilst it is recommended that you also create a license check code for any car rentals outside of the UK, the reality of the situation is that few non UK rental agents are checking and the photocard licence is sufficient. However the terms and conditions require you to provide the check code and so it’s highly recommended you spend the 2 minutes or so to create one. To do so, simply visit www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
You’ll need to enter the following details;
  • Driving licence number
  • Postcode (where driving licence is registered
  • National Insurance Number
At launch the license check code was valid for only 72 hours (3 days) which was soon extended to 21 days, given that a 3 day window was considered unreasonable for anyone hiring a car as it wouldn’t be unreasonable to plan a trip where the hire car was not collected for the first week or so of a trip. It also enables the same check code to be used on more than one occasion by the same person, for example if you had multiple rentals booked concurrently, the same code would be eligible for all rentals up to it’s expiry date. Don't forget, the code is only valid for 21 days, so even if you book your rental car 3 months in advance, you can only apply for your code 21 days (3 weeks) prior to the date you are collecting your car.
Whilst a UK driving licence is acceptable in most countries when hiring a car, some countries require an international driving permit, including the USA. However as with the licence check code in the EU, this is rarely requested by the rental agents, however for peace of mind, we do recommend that you apply for one. An international driving permit is valid for 12 months from the date of issue, to apply simply visit www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/international-driving-permit
Kellie Hodge
Posted: August 15, 2017 by Kellie Hodge
About the Author -

Travel writer, customer service guru, Kellie knows the ins and outs of car rental and always happy to share her knowledge on our blog. Favourite country to visit: Spain.

Last updated: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
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