Updated Friday, December 4, 2015
The paper part of your driving licence (the ‘counterpart’) is no longer valid, and the DVLA will no longer issue any paper licences.
As with the abolition of the paper tax disc, the decision to issue no more paper licences is part of DVLA’s drive to digitise motorists’ records and simplify the services it offers, which in turn is part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge streamlining initiative.
What is the counterpart driving licence?
The counterpart licence is the paper section that is used to record any endorsements (penalty points) and is often requested by employers and car hire companies to confirm a person’s driving record. Although the counterpart licence is no longer valid for anyone with a photocard licence, all driving convictions and endorsements will still be recorded by the DVLA and stored electronically. Police are now able to access information at the roadside via the Police National Computer.
How will the abolition of the counterpart licence affect me?
If you hold a photocard driving licence, the paper counterpart is no longer valid after DVLA abolished it on June 8, 2015. If you still have a paper counterpart, DVLA advises you to destroy it.
You must continue to keep your current photocard until you need to update your details. If you have lost your licence you should get a new one immediately. To find out how to replace a lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed driving licence, visit GOV.UK.
So how can I check my driver record?
The DVLA has launched a View Your Driving Licence service which enables you to view your driving record online, including the types of vehicle you can drive and any endorsements (penalty points) you may have. For more information, check out Jess Bown’s article Check your driving licence online.
What if I want to hire a car?
If you're hiring a car abroad you'll only have to provide your photocard licence, but before you leave for your holiday you'll have to log in to your record online to generate a code for the hire company to use to access the details. Alternatively, the car hire company may continue to use the car hire line (09061 393837) - but you must first phone the Customer Enquiries Group on 0300 790 6801 and give them permission to discuss your record.
What if I apply for a job as a driver?
The DVLA is currently developing new digital enquiry services that will be launched later this year to allow businesses, such as car hire companies and employers, to view information that is currently shown on the counterpart. The information will only be shared with companies who have a right to see it and you will be informed before any checks are carried out – so no-one can check up on your driving record without you knowing about it.
What if I don’t have a photocard licence?
If you don’t have a photocard licence and only hold a paper driving licence that was issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, this will remain valid and should not be destroyed. The next time you update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard licence only, and you should surrender your old paper licence to the DVLA in the process. Unlike photocard licences, which must be renewed every 10 years, paper driving licences do not need to be renewed unless there is a change of details.
Will my entitlement or penalty points be affected?
There will be no change to the status of your driving licence. Any convictions and penalty points will remain on your driving record until they are spent. For more information, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes
Do you know where your paper counterpart driving licence is?
We put the question to regular MSM readers, it seems you're a pretty organised bunch...