Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 4 June 2015

Hiring a car using a British driving licence - procedures are changing

(Please see UPDATE at end)

If you are going to be renting a car any time after 8th June 2015 using a British driving licence, then you need to be aware that things are changing.

There are new DVLA procedures for when you are hiring a vehicle from next Monday (8th June), whether you are renting it in the UK or abroad. The paper counterpart is being abolished on 8th June 2015 and from then, in order to be able to hire a car, etc, in the UK or abroad, the car rental company will need to check on-line that your licence is valid and that you are not disqualified.

Until now they might have asked to see the paper counterpart (as I usually rent from the same company in Spain, they just ask to see the photo-card licence, but they never actually look at the paper counterpart or at least I don't recall them ever doing so in the last few years although I keep it in the same licence wallet as the photo-card); now you need to generate a code to give to the car rental agency so they can check it on-line if they wish. However, as the code is valid only for 72 hours (see UPDATE at end), you will need to do this within that time period and the code generated may be used once only and is 'case sensitive' - so there's a lot that can go wrong, if the desk clerk keys the code wrongly. Obviously if you will be renting a vehicle only for a part of your trip, you will still need to go on-line to generate the code within 72 hours (see UPDATE at end) of when you will be hiring it, so you need to think about this if you will be away from your usual internet connection during that critical period.

I'll be renting a car from my usual firm at the end of this month, so I've checked my details on-line with the DVLA and all seems to be in order. Here are a couple of links that may be useful in helping you to follow the required procedure:
- How to share your driving licence information (you can download a .pdf guide here).

To generate the required code, visit this page:
- DVLA’s Share Driving Licence service is available - and click on 'Share Driving Licence' - you need to know your driving licence number, your NI number and your postcode to use the service.

In theory it seems relatively straightforward, if an infernal pest. Good luck to all who need to use this service, including me!

NB/ This article is cross-posted from my other (Spanish) blog, because of its general applicability.

UPDATE (21JUL2015 RST/UTC+2 15.35) On 10th July the British Government (DVLA) published an amendment to these regulations (link - click here), extending the driving licence check code period from 72 hours to 21 days, a much more sensible and practical time-limit, to avoid last-minute panics just before people are about to travel and perhaps require to hire a vehicle.

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