Driving Licence Changes: what you need to know

There’s set to be a considerable change to the UK driving licence early next month, when the paper counterpart of our licence will no longer be needed. If you’re worried about what this means for you, or even what you need to do before the change comes into force on 8 June, our guide should help answer all your questions.

What exactly is happening?

The paper counterpart is being abolished and will no longer be issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). All owners of the paper counterpart are advised by the DVLA to destroy it and keep only the photocard. It means that it’s never been more important to keep your photocard safe. When you come to renew your licence, those living in England, Scotland or Wales will receive a photocard with a Union Flag displayed on it. Those from Northern Ireland are exempt from this.

Why is this happening?

It is part of the DVLA’s commitment to create a seamless service relating to your driving licence, allowing drivers to locate all manner of related information all in one place. As well as being a significant cost-cutting measure for the DVLA, it also means that drivers now need to only keep their photocard rather than worrying about keeping their paper licence safe. It means that licence holders can drive away from our Ford dealership in Somerset with a new vehicle with complete peace of mind.

What if I only have a paper licence?

If you have only a paper licence – those which were issued until 1998 – do not destroy them as they will continue to remain valid until you reach 70 years of age, provided that no other details need to be changed. In addition to this, the green paper licence remains valid and if the details are correct, it remains your choice on whether you wish to upgrade to a photocard. If you do wish to upgrade and need to change your address, name or add a driving entitlement, this can be done completely free. For standard renewals, which you are instructed to do every 10 years, it will cost £14 via online and £17 via post.

Paper Driving Licence

How will licences be issued after 8 June?

New licences will be in card form only. If you need to renew your licence or change your address after this date, only a new photocard will be sent back to you. As the old paper counterpart licence will no longer be legally valid, drivers are being instructed to destroy it after 8 June.

Where can I see my driving licence information?

As the original purpose of your driving licence was to inform you how many penalty points you have, offer a full breakdown of the vehicles you can drive and also when it expires, this is all information you will obviously want to keep. Fortunately, the DVLA has now created the ‘View Driving Licence’ online service, which allows you to see all the information relating to your licence by putting in three details:

  • Licence number
  • National insurance number
  • Postcode

From 8 June, penalty points will no longer be recorded on your paper licence and instead will be logged on the DVLA’s digital portal.

View my Driving Licence

How will I be able to update my address, change my name or add a photo?

You can now update your driving licence details by visiting the DVLA website, as well as by post.

  • Online – If you need to change your address it is free. If you need to change your name, you will need to do so by post. It will cost £14 if you need to change your photo.
  • By post – If you need to change your name or address it is free. It will cost £17 to change your photo. You can order the necessary forms here, or head to your nearest Post Office.

Be sure to change these details as soon as you can, as there is a fine of £1,000 for anyone who holds an invalid driving licence.

Does the new photocard expire regularly?

Your photocard licence will expire every 10 years. To renew it will cost £14 online or £17 by post.

What does this mean if I want to hire a car?

In the past, the paper counterpart was key for anyone intending to hire a car, offering a clear indication of speeding offences and other convictions to the hire company. It may seem like the abolishment of the paper licence could cause a huge problem with this, but the DVLA has developed a simple code system instead for drivers to use.

In order for this to work, you will need to obtain a code from the DVLA website when you go to hire a new vehicle. This code can then be used by the hire company to access all the necessary details relating to your licence. However, each code is only valid for 72 hours, meaning that you will have to log on and get a new code if you do not use it for three days. This feature isn’t yet live, but is scheduled to be active all ready for the change on 8 June.

How will this affect me trying to take a test drive?

Finally, the subject of test drives has been hugely contested since these changes were first proposed, and car dealers have said that the removal of the paper counterpart licence could make the process far more confusing than it has to be. Although it’s expected that car dealers will have a host of tools at their disposal in this situation – such as a premium rate phone line and the aforementioned View My Licence portal, there is still a huge worry about the effect it could have on the thousands of test drives undertaken every day across the UK.

Here at Foray we understand exactly what is happening with the driving licence changes, so if you’re still unsure, speak to one of our experts at our Ford dealership in Wiltshire, Somerset and other counties across southern England.

This content was written by Ben Edwards. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.