The move to paperless driving licenses has some far-reaching implications, not least for the driver. Find out more about what keeping your licence ‘current and valid’ now means and how GOV.UK Verify can help you.
The law says that you can only drive (or hire) a vehicle if you have a driving licence that is both ‘current’ and ‘valid’. But what do those terms actually mean in the age of the digital driving licence?
A ‘valid’ licence means you are actually qualified to drive that class of vehicle, ranging from a moped up to a heavy goods vehicle or HGV. A ‘current’ license is within its starting and expiry dates, and has up to date information about the driver’s address, medical history and driving record.
The basic identity information used to be stored on the card with driver history recorded on the paper counterpart. The big change is that, from now on, all the data are stored on the DVLA’s computers to be viewed online.
To be current and valid, the information on your licence card needs to accord with the stored data. Otherwise, you could receive a nasty surprise the next time a police officer asks to check your license or when you turn up at a car hire desk!
The good news is that it’s now possible for you to check for yourself what’s on your license computer record. Even better, you can now correct or update it when you change address without posting the license off to Swansea and waiting weeks for it to come back. And it’s free!
Sometimes you’ll need to let other people see your driving record. For example, an employer might need to confirm your license is clean for a driving job. Even more likely, a car hire firm might need to check it before handing over the keys.
Either way, the GOV.UK online driving licence service will let you generate a 21-day ‘check code’ you can pass on to whoever needs to view your details. Each code can only be used once but you can have up to 15 codes active at a time.
So before you head off on holiday, make sure you have your code with you to give to the hire car company. It’s probably a good idea to keep your paper counterpart safe for a few months yet – not all hire companies have internet access!
The first step to being able to keep your license up to date and share it electronically is to sign up with GOV.UK Verify. To log onto GOV.UK Verify, you'll need to have your identity checked by a certified third party company like CitizenSafe. This is really easy to do and takes about the same time as it takes to drink a cup of tea or coffee. Just click on the button below to get started.
We're a specialist identity verification company who’ve been doing secure identity checks since 2003. We're now a proud partner of GOV.UK Verify and will be working with them to provide safe and straightforward checks for anyone in the wider public who wants to access online government services.