As of tomorrow (Monday, June 8), the paper driving licence – which is currently required by most car rental firms – will be abolished with information like fines and penalty points being stored online instead.
From that date, holidaymakers will have to log on to the DVLA website the day before they go abroad.
They will need to put in their driving licence number to obtain a special code to give to their car hire company when they arrive at the desk.
But that code is only valid for 72 hours – so anyone wanting to hire a vehicle more than three days into their trip will need to go online or call a special number to generate a new code while abroad, potentially raking up big bills.
And it is feared people could be turned away at the airport because many car hire firms will still want to look at the paper document to check for endorsements or bans.
The DVLA recommends destroying the paper driving licence after June 8.
But motoring group the AA is advising people to hang on to the document in case some car rental companies are unaware of the new arrangements.
“Not all car hire firms, or indeed traffic police abroad, will be aware of the changes, so a ‘belt and braces’ approach of also taking the counterpart might help,” said AA president Edmund King.
Paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed. If you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.
The DVLA insists the changes have been widely publicised.