Driving licence changes: what do paper licence holders need to know?
Ask an expert: The paper element of the driving licence is to be phased out next January. Several readers who only have the paper counterpart of the licence ask what they need to do when the changes are enforced
I read your article regarding the removal of the paper tax disk . At the bottom of the story it states: “The paper element of the driving licence, which accompanies the credit card size photo-card, is also due to be axed in January 2015.”
At the moment I only have a paper driving licence; does this mean that I will be forced to apply for a photo version next year? RB, by email
From January 2015 the paper part of the driving licence will officially disappear as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) continues its aim to digitise motorists’ records.
Last month we reported how the traditional paper tax disc would be replaced by an electronic system from October, which ministers believe will streamline services and save money.
Last October, the Department for Transport launched a review into how to make the DVLA “deliver better services and save money for the taxpayer”.
Stephen Hammond, roads minister, concluded in a report that one of the main reforms would be to “remove the driving licence paper counterpart.”
But what does this mean for the 46 million motorists in Britain, particularly for those who only have the paper component of the licence?
The DVLA says you do not need to take any action. The paper licence will continue to be valid – at least until it needs to renewed.
“Those who have an old style paper driving licence issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, this change won’t affect you, and you should keep your licence.
“The next time you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.”
Those who have the photocard should continue using it, remembering to renew it when necessary ( gov.uk/renew-driving-licence ). Motorists could face a £1,000 fine if they are caught with an invalid licence.
The DVLA confirmed that there would be no charge for changing an old style paper licence to a photocard licence with a change of details.
However, once the motorist has the photocard licence, they will have to pay £20 each time it is renewed (every 10 years). Paper licences do not need to be renewed.
Anyone over the age of 70 will need to renew their licence every three years, updating it with any medical conditions. “If a driver updated their licence with a change of address, name or notified a medical conditions then the updated licence issued will be a photocard licence,” the DVLA said.
Lee Griffin, of comparison site Gocompare.com, said: “Your old paper licence only needs to be updated if you change your name, address or if you reach 70 years of age. If any of these circumstances arise before January 2015 you will be issued with a photocard licence and paper counterpart, but from January 2015 onwards you will only receive a photocard licence.
“If you wanted to, you could upgrade even if your address hasn’t changed, but then you would need to pay a £20 fee and provide a valid form of identification.”
Mr Griffin added that this was a good move for British motorists, who will no longer have to keep track of separate bits of paper that they’ll need to produce when hiring a car or when requested to check speeding endorsements.
A spokesman for the DVLA said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to access government services.
“Getting rid of needless bits of paper, making changes to free up drivers’ time, while saving money for the taxpayer, is all part of our commitment to cut unnecessary red tape. That is why we are introducing new and easy to use digital services that will allow drivers and businesses to check driving entitlement and endorsements. This means there will no longer be a need for the paper counterpart of the driving licence which will save drivers over £5m every year.”
The spokesman said that holiday-makers hiring a vehicle abroad should speak with the hire company before leaving. “The old style paper licence will continue to be valid and we are able to confirm to a company, with the driver’s permission, the driving entitlements they hold. However, drivers may wish to check with the car hire company their requirements for proof of driving entitlement before travelling.”