Can I Hire a Car Without my Driving Licence?

The DVLA are set to scrap the use of the paper counterpart traditionally issued as standard with your driving licence. But what will this mean for drivers who hire cars and will the alternative system cause difficulties for drivers? We’ve answered a few questions surrounding the topic to help keep you up to date with the changes.

Can I rent a car without my licence?

Although it is inadvisable to turn up to a rental desk without your driving licence, if you have misplaced it you may still be able to hire a car without your licence. Car rental companies are permitted to contact the DVLA, who can fax a copy of your licence (at a fee) to a number anywhere in the world. However, one thing to bear in mind - particularly if you are travelling abroad - is that this service is only available during DVLA opening hours. You can contact the DVLA from overseas on +44 (0)300 083 0013. 

How to access your driving licence information online 24/7

The DVLA provide a 24/7, free service called Share Driving Licence. 

Here's what you need to do to view and/or share your driving licence information:

  1. Set up View Driving Licence Service through GOV.UK - all you'll need is your driving licence number and your National Insurance number

  2. Click on ‘Share your licence ’.You will be given a code unique code which allows a third party temporary to access your driving history. Alternatively, you can download a summary document and send it to the car hire company

  3. Present the code to the car hire company and they will be able to check your history before you proceed to hire a car

Tips for hiring a car without a paper licence or photocard licence card

  1. Speak to your car hire company before you travel to check what they will require from you, it may be that you can send the document before you travel

  2. Check out the DVLA website before you go away to set up your individual ‘View Driving Licence’ service

  3. As always, make sure you have the appropriate car hire excess insurance, just in case

Can I still use my paper licence at a rental desk?

If your licence was issued before 1998, is still valid and has not been replaced since, you will have a paper licence rather than a photocard. This is valid for use at rental desks and need not be exchanged for a photocard licence. However, you are required to get a new licence, which will be a photocard, if: you change your address, your licence has been damaged, lost or stolen, or if you change your name.