Read this if you hire cars on a UK driving licence

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  • Anonymous


    Paper counterparts are to be abolished and you need to know how to manage the change.


    News piece now on the BBC. There could well be problems hiring overseas.


    Equally, as the article says, nothing might change. In the US, I’ve yet to be asked for the counterpart – just the plastic card will do.

    I guess that’s because that is all they get from US hiring customers ….


    I only recently learned that the paper counterpart was required at all when I picked up a hire car in Edinburgh. I’ve hired 15+ cars in the US, Australia and Greece in the past year and it’s never been requested
    (nor at any time prior to that). In the end the guy from Avis in Edinburgh said it didn’t matter and let me have the car anyway.

    I’ve no clue where the paper bit is, I changed over to a UK licence about 5 years ago now and have no idea where it is – so I’m quite glad that soon it’ll no longer be needed!


    Hire at least a dozen times a year abroad with my UK licence and have NEVER been asked for the paper counterpart – they do ask in the UK which I why I hire here on my Aussi or US licence – like MrDarwin I haven’t a clue where the paper bit is!

    Unnecessary UK stupidity at its best!


    Hired cars abroad using my UK license and have never been asked for the paper part (apart from hiring in UK).

    First found this when hiring a car in the UK and the guy at Avis seemed to be struggling with processing my UK license. He then asked me if I have a different driving license from somewhere else. So I gave him my Hong Kong driving license and I was away within 5 minutes.

    Its funny how the UK makes things so complicated. I mean in this day in age where so many things are electronically updated onto a database, how has this managed to come around now!!!


    Cannot see why other countries would ask for the counterpart under the current system. For the most part none of them wouldn’t have any idea that one even existed, it being such an antiquated thing.

    The BBC report is so alarmist too. Again most other countries don’t have a counterpart and their holders don’t get asked to prove their driving record so why would a UK drivers licence holder be any different?


    Brother Jim

    All EC driving licences have traditionally had a paper counterpart, because of the different ways some data is stored.

    I cannot find a reference to show whether this change is part of an EC wide initiative or solely a UK move, does anyone else know?


    I regularly hire cars in Spain and am always asked for the paper counterpart of my UK licence. From 08JUN15, according to the chaps at Auto Express, you will need to go online to the DVLA site and generate a code:

    It seems this code is only valid for 72-hours so, unless collecting the vehicle within that time, you’ll need to go back online and generate another one. It remains to be seen whether or not the staff at the carhire desks will know what to do with that code!

    T’would appear that good old-fashioned red tape is being replaced by its electronic equivalent…….


    Living Switzerland I rent cars quite often all over Europe. I’ve never once been asked for the paper part of the British licence, I just hand over the plastic.

    The excuse “it’s to check for endorsements” is also rubbish since foreign licences do not show penalty points either. I really don’t understand this.


    The full story as to why UK hung on to paper counterpart is simple – and I got this info from a Gvt officer at the time – When the plastic card was introduced, the Gvt at the time was too cheap to invest in a system that had all our info (convictions et al) on a plastic card, hence we ended up again with a 2nd Class system ! Easy!


    Have to admit have never ever been asked for the paper counterpart when hiring a car.


    Surely the same system that would be used to check a code – could easily generate a code in a few seconds for a client who didn’t have one (for which you’ll be charge £50 + VAT by the car hire company – maybe a new money earner for them in the UK?). So massive scare mongering going on and potential for car hire companies to con more money out of UK consumers.


    I am never asked for paper counterpart anywhere except UK, and then only by Europcar. They have a policy that they must see it, and their booking conditions state that you must have:-

    ” Your photo card and original paper based driving licence and an original utility bill or bank statement that is less than 3 months old as proof of address”

    I have had a stroppy agent, at Manchester, actually refuse to let me have a car because I did not have the utility bill or bank statement. His supervisor eventually overruled him, as I am Europcar Privilege Elite, but told me that: “Next time you must have one or other or you won’t have a car”

    I now avoid Europcar in the UK, so they have lost about 12 rentals a year. The other companies only ask for the photo card, if that.

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