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Important changes to your driving licence

The DVLA as an organisation is committed to removing red tape and streamlining services; as part of this, a major change to the driving licence comes into effect on the 8th June 2015, (date subject to change). From that date onwards, the paper counterpart to the photocard licence is no longer valid and new drivers will only receive the photocard component.

This new rule has various implications, depending on how your licence is currently handled. Those with both photo and paper licence counterparts will no longer need the paper part, and may safely dispose of this once this change comes into effect. You will obviously need to retain the photocard part, as new cards are not being issued as part of this change.

If you still have the old style paper licence, you can continue to use it until the licence is changed or updated, at which point you will be issued with a new photocard as a replacement. This applies to all drivers who qualified prior to the introduction of the photocard in 1998 and who have never needed to amend or replace their licence for a change of name or address, for example.

One of the key parts of the existing paper counterpart is a section displaying a driver’s penalty points and endorsements; this will no longer be stored as part of the licence but be kept on the DVLA driver record – access to the information will be available online or by contacting the DVLA in writing or on the phone. There is a free online service allowing anyone to check the details of their licence, including driver entitlements, penalty points, the range of vehicles that the driver may use, and a range of personal information. To access this, drivers will need to provide their licence number, national insurance number and postcode.

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This new free online service will also be available for drivers to use in the event of wishing to hire a vehicle or show proof of their licence and any endorsements to employers. Business or motor trade users who need to verify employee or customer driver details can also make use of this new online service – checks can be made prior to allowing an employee to drive a bus or HGV, for example, or to confirm that a driver has a licence when selling new and used cars. Note that the consent of the driver in question must be obtained before using the information, and is offered in conjunction with existing driver checks from the DVLA using form D888/1 through the post. The online service is quick and free, and can be used by anyone needing to verify a driver’s details, subject to consent.

Note that the changes to the driving licence have no effect on related services such as a driver’s insurance policy, the use of trade plates, or on any other records held by the DVLA and other bodies.


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