News story

Driving licence counterpart abolished: changes you need to know

The paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence was abolished on 8 June 2015, so how you view your licence information has changed.

View your driving licence information online at www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

The changes affect driving licences in England, Scotland and Wales. There are different rules in Northern Ireland, where the paper counterpart is still needed.

Change the address on your licence

You should change the address on your driving licence when you move.

What to do with your paper counterpart

The paper counterpart to a driving licence has had no legal status since 8 June 2015. You should destroy yours if you have one, but keep your photocard driving licence.

If you have a paper driving licence

Paper driving licences issued before 1998 are still valid. Do not destroy your licence.

When you update your name or address, or renew your licence, you’ll only get a photocard licence.

View or share your driving licence information

You can view your driving licence information to see:

  • what vehicles you can drive
  • how many penalty points you have, if any
  • when your licence runs to

If you get penalty points

When you get penalty points, you’ll still have to pay any fines and give your photocard or paper licence to the court. They’ll give the licence back to you, but it won’t have penalty points printed or written on it.

You’ll only be able to see penalty points using the view your driving licence information service. You can also check by phone or post.

Share your information with an employer or hire company

You can share your driving licence information with an employer or vehicle hire company.

Use the service to create a ‘check code’ that you can give to the person or organisation that needs to view your details.

The code lasts for up to 21 days, and can only be used once. You can have up to 15 different codes at once.

You can also give permission to share your details by phone.

Check someone’s driving licence information

You can check someone’s driving licence information using the ‘check code’ they’ve given you.

You can see:

  • what vehicles they can drive
  • how many penalty points they have, if any
  • when their licence runs to

You can print or save a copy of the information.

You can also do a check by phone.

Lorry and bus drivers with an EU licence

If you’re a lorry or a bus driver living in Great Britain with a driving licence from an EU country, you need to register your licence with DVLA.

DVLA will send you a ‘confirmation of registration document’ (D91) instead of a counterpart licence. You can use the D91 form to tell DVLA you’ve changed address. Send it to:

DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1BH

Why the counterpart was abolished

The counterpart was abolished to save motorists money, reduce red tape, and make sure that employers weren’t relying on potentially out-of-date paper.

It’s part of DVLA’s strategy to get the right drivers and vehicles taxed and on the road, as simply, safely and efficiently for the public as possible.

Published 18 July 2014
Last updated 10 July 2015 + full page history
  1. Amending how long the code lasts for. It now lasts for up to 21 days.
  2. Links to general and hiring a vehicle infographics added.
  3. Information added for EU lorry and bus drivers who are registered with DVLA.
  4. Added how to request a check code from DVLA if you're unable to use the online service.
  5. Guidance on how to use our new services: Share Driving Licence and Check Driving Licence. Structure of the page also simplified.
  6. Information about the documents needed to take to a theory or driving test added.
  7. Check driving licence and share driving licence services now available
  8. Information added to clarify that the courts aren't able to respond to queries about the destruction of a paper counterpart driving licence.
  9. Updat to hiring a vehicle information.
  10. YouTube videos for hiring a vehicle and driving for a living added.
  11. Information added on how penalty points will be handled from 8 June 2015.
  12. Further guidance added on the abolishing of the counterpart changes
  13. Video added
  14. Update to timings on the abolition of the counterpart.
  15. Timescales for implementation are under discussion but no changes will come into effect over the busy festive season.
  16. First published.