Car hire chaos predicted this summer

Do you have a UK driving licence? Are intending to hire a car on holiday? If so, there’s an important change from early next month that you need to be aware of.

It could mean you leave the car hire depot with no keys and your holiday or business trip plans in chaos.

Counterpart Driving Licence

The problem is that – from June 8, 2015 – the paper part of the driving licence that goes with all photo card driving licences is being done away with. Any endorsements, currently shown on the paper counterpart, will now be held electronically on a new web-based service.

There are predictions of chaos at car hire desks, because many hire companies demand to see the paper counterpart when you hand over a photo card driving licence.

As if you didn’t have enough to think about before heading off abroad, you will now have to log onto the DVLA website the day before you leave and input your driving licence number and National Insurance number. In return you will get a one-time passcode which you can give to the car hire company, to allow them to check your details on the web.

Further complicating the issue, the code will only be valid for 72 hours.

So, if you are doing a multi-destination trip, then you will need to find a means to get online within 72 hours of hiring subsequent cars to get a new one-time passcode. So you need to search out an internet cafe, wi-fi hotspot or just live with the overseas data roaming charges.

What if you forget before you leave, if you can’t find an internet connection, or if you are one of the 5.9 million adults in the UK who have never used the internet? Well there is a safety net, of sorts.

There will be a premium rate phone number that you can ask the car hire company to call. Calls will be charged at up to £3 per minute according to some reports and, anyone who has tried to call a public service helpline, will be concerned about the ability to get through.

Quite apart from the charges, will a car rental company be willing to hang on the line listening to “Greensleeves” (or whatever musak the DVLA will play)?

Adding to the uncertainty surrounding this whole situation, DVLA says you can download your details as a printable PDF to take with you.

But, while some hire companies have said they will accept the PDF, there is no guarantee that all car hire companies will.

It is alarming that there still seems to be considerable uncertainty about the situation just a matter of days before it is due to take effect. You can check the latest news on the

So, if you are heading overseas in the next few weeks and plan to hire a car, go to the DVLA website and check the latest information at

Check with the companies you are going to hire from to find out what they will require you to bring with you. Also, make sure you take a note of your National Insurance number with you as you will need that if you have to access the details online or by the premium rate number.

After June 8, the DVLA are advising us to destroy the paper counterpart for security reasons. However, there are some drivers who have never upgraded to a photo card driving licences and these remain valid and should not be destroyed.

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