Advice on new rules when hiring a car abroad in France

Now we know that hiring a car in France can be painful at the best of times (is there really no solution to how long it takes to go through the collection process??) but a recent change to UK law means that it may now become more complicated.

As from June 8th, 2015 the DVLA is no longer issuing the paper part of the licence that is normally provided with the photo card licence and information about penalty points will only be held on DVLA’s driver record.

licence BEAN 300x192 Hiring a car abroad? Are you ‘au fait’ with the new licence rules?The paper licence used to show details of any endorsements, penalty points etc., what class of vehicle you can drive and expiry date of the document.

The DVLA have advised drivers to destroy the paper section, however the AA has warned motorists who are planning to travel abroad that the hire car companies may not be aware of the new changes and may still request to see it.

The DVLA advises that you print off an up to date version of your driving licence, plus get a passcode that allows the car hire company to view your licence online.

Does this seem like a bit of a faff? It does to us.

So here’s a step-by-step guide if hiring a car abroad:

Photocard paper counterpart

Anticipating that some car hire companies overseas may not immediately be aware of this change, We recommend that you retain your paper counterpart if you intend hiring a car abroad rather than following DVLA advice and destroying it on 8 June.

Additionally you should:

  • Print your own driving licence record from DVLA’s website – you’ll need to know your driving licence number, national insurance number and your home address post code.
  • Obtain a code from the DVLA’s ‘share driving licence’ service that you can pass to a third party (employer, hire car company). The code will only be valid for 72 hours and will give them one-off access to your online driving licence record to verify the printed copy, and if the car hire firm logs out of the system they will not be able to log back in.

Having said all that, a lot of car hire companies in France will accept just the photocard part of the driving licence, but it is better to be prepared. Also, If you are driving in your own car, there is no need to worry, these rules apply only when hiring a car!


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