From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photo-card driving licence will not be valid and will no longer be issued by DVLA. The counterpart was introduced to display driving licence details that could not be included on the photo-card. These details include some vehicle categories drivers are entitled to drive and any endorsement/penalty points. (Please note, this does not affect photo-card licences issued by DVA in Northern Ireland).

What this means

Drivers with existing paper counterparts

If a driver already holds a paper counterpart, after 8 June 2015 it will no longer have any legal status. They should destroy their paper counterpart after this date but they still need to keep their current photo-card driving licence.

Drivers with paper driving licences

Paper driving licences issued before the photo-card was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed.

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 photo-card licences or paper driving licences. From this date, if a driver commits an offence they will still have to pay any applicable fine and submit their licence to the court but the way the court deals with the paperwork will change.

  • For photo-card licences, the court will retain the paper counterpart and only return the photo-card.
  • For paper licences, the court will return it but they won’t have written or printed the offence details on it.

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

How to check your own driving licence details

The 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 or when hiring a vehicle

After 8 June 2015 if you are hiring a vehicle or you drive for a living and you are asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), you will be able to do this online for free by accessing the Share Driving Licence service. This service is currently in development but will be available before the counterpart is abolished. The service should be used by both paper and photo-card driving licence holders and will also allow you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared.

Alternatively, you can call DVLA and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.

Organisations and businesses that check the driving licence counterpart

If you rely on the counterpart to check the driving record of customers or employees then the free online Share Driving Licence service will be available before the counterpart is abolished.

This new service will be offered in addition to the existing services, but is designed for those who have a business need for real-time access to the information, and may not wish to call DVLA or be in a position to use an intermediary.

Driving licence information via Share Driving Licence will only be made available with the consent of the driving licence holder.

Why is the counterpart being abolished?

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

Northern Ireland

Driver licensing is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and therefore these changes do not affect licences issued by the DVA NI.

What next?

All relevant documents on the MAD-HR toolkit will be updated to reflect these changes; including the Employee Handbook and Company Car Policy.

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