A guide to DVLA licence check codes

UK Drivers: licence check codes explained

Why do I need a check code?

Rental companies like to know that the people driving their vehicles are responsible drivers with a clean record. But how can they be sure of this? A UK driver's licence doesn't provide your full driving record, which is why as a UK driver, you will be asked for a licence check code. This guide will walk you through how to get a DVLA check code when renting a car.

What is a licence check code?

A licence check code is in essence a snapshot of your full driving history. The DVLA holds the details of all UK licence holders online and will produce a code upon request that states your driving licence information. This includes your driving status as well as any penalties and offenses you have acquired.

How do I get a check code?

It is very easy and quick to obtain a licence check code. Visit the DVLA website and fill in the form with the following details:

  • Driving licence number
  • Postcode (where the driving licence is registered)
  • National Insurance Number

After, choose to ‘Share your licence information' and click ‘Get a code.' The code will then be instantly created for you. It is possible to download, print or simply write down the code and share it with your rental supplier.

Who will ask me for a DVLA check code?

Booking a car in the UK

It's your responsibility to activate a licence code and share it with the car hire company when renting a vehicle in the UK. The code is only valid for 21 days, and it can be used on multiple rentals up to the date of expiry but you need to reapply for a new one after that.

If you don't have a check code it is possible that the rental company will not provide you with the car. Likewise, if you have listed offenses, this could affect the company's decision on handing over the car to you. Carefully read through the company's policy documents to find out under what circumstances you could be denied your rental.

Hiring a car abroad

When renting a vehicle outside of the UK, it is likely that you won't be asked for a check code. Although you may not necessarily need one, it is recommended that you take your code with you just in case. Alternatively, some countries require an international driving permit – valid for 12 months from the date of issue – and an additional form of ID alongside your driving licence.

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