The two-part scheme for UK driver's licenses, which includes both a photo ID card and a paper counterpart, has faced years of scrutiny for being over-complicated and unnecessary. While most other countries issue driver's licenses in a simple photo ID card format, drivers in the United Kingdom have had to keep track of an additional paper counterpart that lists any current penalties. Nobody needs an extra important document to keep track of, and this paper counterpart has provided endless hassles by being yet another crucial document to lose.
Hassles and Hardships for UK Renters
As if keeping the two-part license locked away in a safe place wasn't enough, the paper counterpart has been a particular burden when holders are required to bring it along with them while traveling. Car rental agencies, in particular, will frequently require UK residents to present both the ID and paper counterpart of their licenses in order to pick up a car. Different locations in different countries have varied rules, though, and the convolution of the requirement has led to many a UK renter's dismay when they find out at the last minute that they won't be able to pick up their car without both parts to their license handy. The car rental companies themselves, while often thrown under the bus at the firing line of this issue, are not to blame; driver's license requirements are almost always necessitated for insurance reasons that are out of a supplier's control. But the two-part license itself has proven a problematic scheme that UK drivers seem to have been unfairly subjected to.
The Abolition of the Two-Part UK Driver's License
A long-awaited decision will finally abolish the UK driver's license paper counterpart this June in hopes of simplifying the antiquated documents. Effective June 8th, the paper license will no longer be valid in authorizing identity and legal driving status for services like renting a car, according to the United Kingdom Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Ask any UK resident and they'll undoubtedly tell you the change has been long overdue, but replacement policies and practices might not make the process of renting a car simpler after all is said and done.
Rather than bringing paper counterparts, drivers from the UK will have to choose between a few alternative identification practices when renting a car. One such option involves getting a special code from the official DVLA website that would grant rental companies online access within a 72 hour window to view the driver's information. Renters can also print out their information from the DVLA website or supply an additional form of identification, such as a passport, with their driver's photo ID card or international driving permit. Although the options are more easily accessible, UK drivers will still have to worry about more than simply bringing their photo ID driver's license to pick up a rental car.
Will the UK Driver's License Requirements Affect US Residents?
All of these complications may seem daunting, but the two-part license stipulations only apply to residents of the United Kingdom. For renters living in the US and other EU nations, an official and valid photo ID will be all that's required for driver's license verification when picking up a rental car, and Auto Europe is here to help with any other information on traveling to Europe that you may need. Browse our travel tips online, from universal packing lists to comprehensive car rental fee information resources, or feel free to call one of our knowledgeable travel experts any time, 24/7 and toll-free, at 1-888-223-5555. We at Auto Europe are here to make sure you're totally prepared to have the trip of a lifetime and a smooth rental experience without all the headaches and hassles!