Are you planning to rent a car? If you are a UK driver, you may need a DVLA code. We have prepared some useful content that will give you all the relevant information about the DVLA code to clear up your queries before hiring a car.
What is a DVLA driving licence check code?
Since June 2015, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has offered a digital DVLA code for all drivers with a driver's licence registered in England, Wales or Scotland. A driver will need this code in certain situations - in particular, you will need to produce it if you want to hire a car in the UK or abroad wherever a car hire company requires you to produce the code.
This document allows the car hire company to check your driving records, such as penalty points and which vehicles you are allowed to drive, as well as the expiry date of your driving license and other general information. It allows them to check the profile of a driver who wants to rent a car and determine their suitability. In short, this is how you can share your driver's license information with companies.
This code also gives the company insight into your driving history. For example, if you have penalties or suspensions on record, the company will be more careful when renting you a car. However, in most cases, the DVLA code shows the car hire company that the driver has a 'clean' driving history, so they can trust them to drive and handle the car. Thus, in the end, the DVLA code is just another useful tool that car hire companies can use to place trust in the driver.
DVLA driving licence check code – do I need one?
Many car hire companies will only ask for your photocard or paper driving licence; however, some will want to cheque your licence and will ask for your DVLA code. If you hire a car in the UK with your UK driving licence, you will most likely be asked to show your DVLA code. On the other hand, when renting a car abroad, it's not very common for you to be asked for it. But there are exceptions, and that's why if you're a UK driver, we advise you to get one, even if you're travelling abroad. (Also cheque if you are travelling abroad to see if you need an international driving licence).
When booking your car and before picking it up, it is necessary to read the terms and conditions and policies of the car hire company you wish to rent a car from. The terms and conditions regarding the DVLA code vary from company to company, so find out about them and get the DVLA code even if you are not required to show it at the end.
How to get your DVLA code?
Visit gov.uk, the government services and information website, to find all the requirements for your DVLA licence code. To get your DVLA driving licence cheque code you will need:
- Your driving licence number
- Your national insurance number
- Your postcode
Follow the process on the page as shown in the image below and you will be given a code that you can print out or simply write down. If you can't get the number through the online process, call the DVLA office. A DVLA staff member will give you your driving licence verification code, but first, you will need to confirm your identity by answering some security questions. When you receive your DVLA driving licence verification code, save it to your computer so you can print it out later. The whole process takes just 2 minutes and only a few clicks. If you have any problems, there is a link to a feedback form so you can get help if needed.
Once at the car rental counter, simply give the code to the staff along with your other documents.
How to use your DVLA driving licence check code?
Once at the car rental agency, simply give the code (printed on paper) to the staff along with your other documents. The car hire company agent will then use it to access your licence details, as mentioned above.
If you are hiring a car outside the UK, you should probably wait until you are asked to show your DVLA code. Some countries or rental agencies do not require the DVLA code. So if you're not asked for it, don't show it.
How long does the DVLA licence check code last?
The driver's licence verification code expires after 21 days and can only be used once. After that time, you will need to get a new one. If you plan to hire more than one car during your holiday, don't worry; it's also possible to get more than one active DVLA code at the same time for different car hire or other purposes.
What documents do I need at the car hire pick-up?
International Driver's Licence - Cheque out our post on international driver's licences to find out when you need one.
Other required documents:
- Passport/ID card
- Credit Card (in the name of the main driver) with available credit for the deposit.
- Valid driver's licence (international, if required)
Car hire companies require the DVLA code, but not all. It depends on the car rental company and their policies, so be sure to check your car rental company's policies carefully.
I forgot to get my DVLA driving licence check code – what now?
If you forgot to get your driving licence verification code before your trip and you are asked for your DVLA code at the counter, don't panic. There are a few ways you can get it in just a few steps.
The easiest way is to use your smartphone or call the DVLA office during business hours. They'll give you a code that will help you avoid additional fees - or worse, not get the car. The process is quick and straightforward, and you could even ask the car hire company to help you get one.
If that's not an option, just find a computer, go to the official DVLA website and fill in the form with information about your driving licence. Then print it out directly from the website and show it to the car hire company.
The last option is to visit the website on your smartphone, fill out the form and show it to the car rental agent at the counter directly from your smartphone.
Do I need a licence check every time I hire a car?
In the UK, the answer is simple: yes. Car rental companies must check your DVLA code every time you rent a car. Your code is valid for 21 days, but can only be used once. This means that you will need a new code every time you rent a car, even if it is within 21 days. You need to get a new code for each car rental because the car rental company needs your driver's license information. However, you can get several codes before you travel and then use them with different car hire companies.
In other countries, DVLA codes are checked less frequently, so you probably won't need one, but it's better to check with your car rental company. At the end of the day, because the process is so simple and can be done over the internet, you can acquire the code every time and if you don't need it, nothing is wasted.