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Paper Cut - The end of the counterpart driving licence

James Watkins - Law on the Web

  1. 08 December 2014
  2. Cars and Motoring
  3. 0 comments
Driving licences

Changes to driving licence and tax regulations have been coming thick and fast as we approach the end of the year. Back in October we saw a drop in driving licence fees, with online applications for first driving licences falling from £50 to £32, and licence renewals falling from £20 to £14.

October also marked the end of the paper tax disc, with all records of vehicle tax now being stored digitally by the DVLA.

Now another change is on the horizon – from the 8th of June 2015, the DVLA will no longer issue paper driving licences, officially replacing them with the photocard licence which was introduced in 1998.

Do I need to replace my paper driving licence?

You can, but it isn’t essential. The paper driving licence is being phased out in the sense that they will no longer be issued when you update your licence (when you change your name or address, for example). However, if you still have your paper driving licence from before the photo-card was introduced, it will still be valid.

However, when the time comes to update your licence, you will be upgraded to a photocard licence. You will only need to update your licence if you change your name or address, unless you are over 70 years of age – once you reach this age, you need to update it every three years and add information on any medical conditions.

You can upgrade to a photocard licence even if you have no need to upgrade – however, this will cost you £20. Upgrading when you need to update your licence will cost you nothing.

Where can I find information about my licence?

The photocard driving licence does not display some of the information you can find on a paper driving licence – information on endorsements and penalty points, for example. However, the DVLA runs an online service for looking up licence information (provided that you applied for or updated your licence online).

You can also get this information by post from the DVLA by sending the D888 request form to the DVLA, along with a cheque or postal order made out to “DVLA, Swansea”. You will need to post this to the following address:

Driver Licence Validation Service
SA99 1AJ

Why are they getting rid of the paper licence?

The DVLA has been moving more and more of its services online, as part of its Strategic Plan for the next three years. We have already seen this with the abolition of the tax disc – the abolition of the paper driving licence is the latest step in that. The DVLA believes that fewer people will dodge their licence responsibilities if they make it “easier to be safe and compliant”.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport has said that abolishing the paper driving licence will do away with “needless paper bureaucracy”.

The move is part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge, an initiative designed to reduce regulations and paperwork in all walks of UK life. According to the government, scrapping the licence will save UK drivers £8m.

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