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What Is DVLA Driving Licence Check Code?

Are you planning to hire a car? If you’re a UK driver, you may need a DVLA code. We’ve prepared some useful content that will give you all relevant information about the DVLA code to clarify your questions before hiring a car.
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What is a DVLA driving licence check code?

Since June 2015, the 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 may need this code in specific situations – in particular, you'll need to present one if you would like to hire a car in the UK or abroad, wherever a car hire company demands the code from you. 

Using this document, the car rental agency can check your driving record, such as penalty points and what vehicles you are licensed to drive as well as the expiration date of your licence and other general information. It allows them to check the profile of a driver who wants to hire a car and determine his or her eligibility. In short, this way you can share your driving licence information with companies.

This code also gives the company insight into your driving history. If, for example, you have penalties or disqualification periods recorded, the company will be more careful when renting you a car. In most cases, however, the DVLA code shows the car rental agency that the driver has a “clear” driving history, so they can trust him or her to drive and take care of the car. Thus, the DVLA code is ultimately just another useful tool allowing car hire providers to place trust in the driver.


DVLA driving licence check code – do I need one?

Many car rental companies will only ask for your photocard/paper driver’s licence; however, some may want to check your driving record and will ask for your DVLA code. If you are hiring a car in the UK with your UK driver’s licence, you will most likely be asked to present your DVLA code. In contrast, it is not very common to be asked for one when hiring a car abroad. But exceptions remain, and therefore, if you are a UK driver, we advise you to get one even when travelling abroad. (Also, if you are traveling abroad, check if you need an international drivers licence)

Upon the booking of your car and before pick-up, it is necessary to read the Terms & Conditions and policies of the car hire company from which you want to hire a car. The terms regarding DVLA code vary from company to company, so be informed about it and get the DVLA code even if you end up not being obligated to show it.

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 obtain your DVLA licence check code, you’ll need:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your postcode

Follow the process on the page as shown in the picture below, and you’ll get a code you can print out or simply write down. If you cannot obtain the number through the online procedure, call the DVLA office. A DVLA agent will provide you with your driving licence check code, but first, you will need to validate your identity by answering some security questions. When you get your DVLA driving licence check code, save it on your computer so you can print it later. The whole process will take only 2 minutes and only a couple of clicks. If you have any problems, there is an link to a feedback form, so that you can get help if needed.

Once at the car rental desk, you’ll simply hand the code to the staff, together with your other documents.

How to use your DVLA driving licence check code?

Once at the car rental desk, you’ll simply hand the code (printed out on paper) to the staff, together with your other documents. The car hire agent will then use it to access your licence data, as mentioned above.

If you are renting a car outside of UK, you should probably wait to be asked to show your DVLA code. Some countries or rental agencies don't require the DVLA code. So if you are not asked for it, don't show it. 

How long does the DVLA licence check code last?

The driving licence check code expires after 21 days, and it can be used only once. You’ll need to get a new one after that period. If you’re planning on renting multiple cars during your holiday, don’t worry; it is also possible to get more than one active DVLA code at the same time for different car hire agencies or other purposes.

What documents do I need at the car hire pick-up?

International driver’s licence - You can check out our post about international driver’s licences to get a clear picture of when you will need one. 

Other necessary documents:

  • Passport/ID
  • Credit Card (in the main driver’s name) with available credit for the deposit
  • Voucher
  • Valid driver’s licence (international, if required)

Car hire companies need the DVLA code, but not all of them. It depends on the specific car rental agency and its policies, so check the policies of your car hire company carefully.

I forgot to get my DVLA driving licence check code – what now?

If you forgot to get your driving licence check code before your trip and you are asked for your DVLA code at the counter, do not panic. There are a few ways to easily get one in a few steps. 

The easiest way is to use your smartphone or call the DVLA office during working hours. They will provide you with a code so you can avoid additional charges – or worse, not getting the car. The process is fast and straightforward, and you could even ask the car hire agent to help you get one. 

If that’s not an option, simply find a computer, go to the official DVLA website and fill the form with information about your driver’s licence. Then print it straight from the webpage and show it to the car rental agency. 

The last option is to visit the website on your smartphone, fill the form and show it to the car hire agent at the desk from your smartphone directly.  

Do I need a license check every time I hire a car?

In the UK, the answer is simple, yes. Rental car agencies will need to check your DVLA code for every rental. Your code lasts 21 days, but it can only be used once. This means that you need to get a new code for every rent a car that you do, even if it is within 21 days. You need to get a new code for every rent a car because the rent-a-car agency will need your driving license information. But you can get multiple codes before you travel and then use them in different rent-a-car agencies.

In other countries, the DVLA codes are checked less often, so you probably won't need one, but it is better that you check with your rent a car agency. At the end of the day, because the process is so easy and can be done over the internet, you can acquire the code every time, and if you don't need it, nothing is wasted.

DVLA contact:

Website: www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

Phone number: 0300 083 0013, more on a website: www.gov.uk/call-charges

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