Skip to main content

Share driving licence: changes to the check code

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Share driving licence

In May, we blogged about our new share driving licence service, which puts British driving licence holders firmly in control of who they share their most up to date driving licence information with.

The service allows users to generate a check code  which they can share  with a third party in order to prove their entitlement to drive – for example in response to a request from their employer, or when hiring a vehicle.

Since the abolition of the counterpart on 8 June 2015, the service has been in public beta. This means it is fully functioning and being used by the public whilst still being tested.  The service is proving really popular – it’s been used over 1.4 million times since 8 June and currently has a customer satisfaction rating of 87.2%.

The beauty of beta testing is that we continually monitor the service and customer feedback to see if we can improve the service for the end user.

Some of the feedback we’ve had so far highlights that, for some, the 72 hours validity period when you generate a check code is not long enough. It’s clear that some users want the check code to last longer – particularly those who need it when they are travelling.

So we’ve listened.

Starting from today (10 July 2015), we’ve extended the validity period to 21 days.  Car hire companies or employers will still need the last eight digits of the driver’s licence number to redeem the code. Of course, it can be cancelled at any time, putting the user in control of when their record can be accessed and by whom.

Our plan is to review this in three months once we’ve had sufficient further feedback from users and industry.

DVLA's lead service designer, Ryan Davies talks about how to share your driving licence information with hire companies and employers.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Hazel Betteridge posted on

    that is much better I always thought 72 hours was a little tight especially for people flying out on long haul flights so very well done DVLA for acting on Public responses it restores faith in Human Nature that someone does listen!!

  2. Comment by Shaun posted on

    This is welcome news, and I hope at the 3 month review, this 21 day time frame remains the norm.

  3. Comment by Pauline posted on

    Nice to know that feedback is used and not just logged, well done.

  4. Comment by David Raynes posted on

    The whole process is ridiculous.

    It takes no account at all of the needs of those of us who work abroad from time to time and just do not know when and where we might need to hire a vehicle.

    The last time I worked in Africa, I was in five countries over several months, some of the countries more than once. I have similarly worked & traveled in Eastern Europe and needed to hire a car unpredictably..

    In many of the places I have worked internet access is not always a given, if it exists it is often poor.

    This scheme could only have been dreamed up by by a civil servant whose only trip away from Swansea, is a holiday in Europe once a year.

    Just shocking that these difficulties were not envisaged.

    A modest amount of basic common sense please.

  5. Comment by Peter Haines posted on

    Much more helpful for those travelling, as you say, so thanks to you !!

  6. Comment by dave posted on

    Thank goodness you've listened to something.

    Now you need to fix the exise tax scam. When I go to buy a secondhand motorbike I need to ride it home. It's already taxed, and I'm not able to tax it myself until I get home. Catch 22.

  7. Comment by Tim posted on

    Could you please explain how you are able to detect unauthorised access to the VDL service? No feedback is provided to the user as to how many times access has been made and by whom, therefore there is no way for the user to know about unauthorised access.


    • Replies to Tim>

      Comment by Melinda Greenacre posted on

      Hello Tim

      The privacy policy for View Driving Licence states “DVLA will keep an audit trail of when you access your driving licence information and will monitor use of the service and of any codes you generate. This is to help prevent and detect unauthorised access”.
      In addition to this, any check codes generated for Share Driving Licence are displayed to the record holder, including when the time and date on which the code was generated and redeemed. The record holder may also cancel a check code which has not yet been used.

  8. Comment by Chris Lozetsky posted on

    87.2% satisfaction Eh! But you only get the survey when you succeed. If you don't get your licence details for whatever reason, there is no survey buttons. Those who were unable to access their licence details would probably have clicked 100% dissatisfied. How to make yourself look good in a survey. Only offer the survey to the people who got what they wanted.

  9. Comment by M Edwards posted on

    It's great to see that the DVLA are listening. Lets hope that they continue to make improvements to the service.

    The next thing they need to address is the lack of information for motoring convictions - such as both offence AND conviction dates and alcohol levels and how these were obtained. This information is required by insurers and was previously listed on the counterpart.

  10. Comment by David Raynes posted on

    It would be very nice if, having taken the trouble to have this blog up, the DVLA read it and answered the problems I posed on 10/7/2015.

    There could surely be a facility for business travelers who need it, to PAY for a paper print out?

    The UK is supposed to be supporting exporters.

    If the problems I have posed are being addressed, please say so.

    It will be much cheaper to answer the issue here than answer a Parliamentary Question and an FOI request to establish if the matters I raise were even considered.

    • Replies to David Raynes>

      Comment by DVLA digital comms team posted on

      Hi David,

      We have recently made changes to the process so that the check code is now valid for 21 days, and you can have up to 15 active check codes at any time. When you generate a code you also have the option of downloading a PDF summary of your driving licence information. This can be printed, or saved to a smart phone or tablet so that it can be produced when no internet connection is available. You can also call our Contact Centre on 0300 083 0013 to generate or redeem a check code, providing an alternative to the online service.

  11. Comment by Danny O'Sullivan posted on

    I have an Irish surname which includes a apostrophe neither my wife or I are able to view our license so we are unable to create a code. I have tried three times since the system went live phoning the 0333 number and been told nothing is wrong and try again later. Is this a known issue with the system unable to support 'special' characters like ' or - in surnames?
    Even if I get a code over the phone is there a gaurentee the car hire company be able to retreive my license details. I go on holiday soon and will be hiring a car.

    • Replies to Danny O'Sullivan>

      Comment by DVLA digital comms team posted on

      Hello Danny

      The system ignores special characters so whether you add an apostrophe in or not is irrelevant as long as your name is entered in correct order. I suggest you ring our Contact Centre on 0300 083 0013 for advice on this issue.

      For the hire company to access your details all they will need is the code - so they should be able to access the system without any issue.

      When you speak to our Contact Centre I suggest you request 2 codes - you could use one to view your own record to check for accuracy prior to going on holiday. This would also put your mind at rest that the code will work when the hire company redeems the code.

      The following article on Hiring a vehicle provides more information.

  12. Comment by Dave posted on

    Are these codes reusable within the 21 days? Do I need a new code if I hire more than one vehicle during the time frame?

  13. Comment by Jillie posted on

    This is all very well, but the online system did not recognize my details. Apparently this can happen if not all the different government departments that might hold my information have details that do not cross check. They cannot tell me what details might be faulty or which department the problem might rest with. And so, if I want to go on a long trip I will not be able to hire a vehicle after 21 days unless I can call the UK at vast expense, but more importantly, be able to allow for time differences. I quite often do 3 weeks with my brother in NZ and then head on, so this will all but exclude me from hiring a car.

  14. Comment by janet shell posted on

    I am experiencing the same problem. I travel tomorrow and just tried to get a code but the system does not recognise me! Also we are hiring two different cars in two different places - so I envisage problems galore here! But the main issue is that if I cannot generate a cod, I wont be able to drive which renders my whole holiday very difficult. About to spend hours on the phone on what should be a simple process

  15. Comment by Parto Forouhi posted on

    The DVLA check code service works well and the 21 day extension is welcomed. HOWEVER The entire idea that driving information is held on a card and then in a data base is flawed. The rest of the world isn't interested (and indeed most are entirely unaware of ) this additional data. It is only the UK motoring services that are interested in the counterpart. the DVLA check code service simply perpetuates the idea that drivers have to prove their up to the minute driving record by additional documentation when ever accessing driving services in the UK. The driving licence should be a stand alone document containing all the required information. There is more than sufficient room on the photocard to include endorsement and penalty codes.

    • Replies to Parto Forouhi>

      Comment by Dudley Ashford posted on

      Hello Parto

      In 1998 a two-part driving licence was introduced consisting of a plastic photocard and a paper counterpart. This is because the European Union 2nd Driving Licence Directive (to which every EU Member State must comply) did not allow provisional entitlement or endorsement details of any road traffic offences to be displayed on the photocard.
      Removal of the counterpart was adopted as a key part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge commitments announced in December 2011. However, before we could abolish the counterpart we had to develop alternative enquiry channels for those who needed access to driver information.

      As a result the Agency has developed a service which customers and stakeholders can check information held on the driver record, including driving entitlements and endorsements, securely via a new electronic enquiry database.

  16. Comment by Sally Jelfs posted on

    I can't access my code either. As I leave for the airport in a few hours, I can't spend ages sorting this out! I Ieft it to the last minute having heard of the 72 hours limit, but even that is now moot. (I see it's now 21 days, but if I can't organise it now, what chance have I when I'm away?) We need a facility such as being able to pay for a printed counterpart equivalent which lasts for the full term of the license - and at a reasonable price too! (Preferably free.) If the issue is convictions, put some sort of PIN code on it with easy access! People abroad won't want to phone the UK. Single use - as noted above - is often not realistic!

    • Replies to Sally Jelfs>

      Comment by Dudley Ashford posted on

      Hello Sally

      We have increased the validity period of the check code from 72 hours to 21 days, as this allows travellers to generate the code in advance of their travel plans. It is also advisable to check with the car hire company if the code is actually required, as it may not be needed.