How To Hire A Car In France With A British Driving Licence

Written by on July 7, 2016 in Driving in France


Avoid driving license confusion: Your licence and driving in France

Changes to your licence:

As of the 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence was abolished. This change affects people with driving licences in England, Scotland and Wales. Please note, however, that there is still a requirement for a paper counterpart in Northern Ireland. If you have a paper counterpart at home, the advice from the DVLA is to destroy it; it is no longer needed.

The old paper counterpart used to record driver penalty points. New points will no longer be added in this way; instead they will be added online. It is therefore crucial that drivers wishing to hire a car go to the DVLA’s View Driving Licence service. The link to this service can be found at:

The site can then be used to view your driver licence details including any penalty points and most importantly the site will provide you with a check code, this is the code required by most car hire companies and will be requested at the car hire collection desk. This code provides the car hire company with your driver details along side those provided by you on your paper or photocard licence. The check code will be valid for 21 days.

Getting your code:

Visit the DVLA website and enter:

  • Your driver number
  • Your postcode
  • Your national insurance number

Request to share your licence information and create a code. Your hire company will then use this to check your details before issuing you with a hire car.

 I have an old style paper driving licence. Can I still use it?

Yes. Photocard driving licences were introduced in 1998, however approximately 7 million drivers in the UK still have a paper driving licence. The fact that the counter part has been abolished has led to some confusion for holders of the old style paper licences. These do not need to be destroyed. They are still valid after June 2015. The only time a driver would need to change their paper driving licence would be if any important driver details such as name or address change, at this point a new photocard license would be issued in place. If you hold an old style paper license, you must provide an alternative form of photo ID, such as a passport when hiring a car.

In summary:

When hiring a car the company will want to see either your photocard licence or your pre-1998 paper licence (both are valid). However they may wish to check if you have any penalty points, this is when they would ask you to provide them with a check code. The code can be obtained from the DVLA website prior to your visit.

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