Remember the two-part driving licences? Up until March 2015, we all had two parts to our driving licence – the pink photocard bearing our photograph, personal details, signature and details of the classes of vehicle we were allowed to drive, and the paper part which carried details of any points which had been applied to the licence for speeding, running a red light or more serious driving offences. After March 2015 the paper driving licence part was scrapped, and any points which you get on your licence are now logged digitally on the DVLA computer rather printed on the piece of paper you carry around with you. It’s a simpler system, but does raise some problems when you’re asked to demonstrate that you have a clean driving licence – how do you do this if you can’t show your paper licence?
In order to get around this problem with proving the number of points you have on your licence, the DVLA has implemented a system of check codes. Anyone who has a UK driving licence can request one of these check codes, which can then be used to log onto the DVLA website to look at their own driving record or share the information with someone else. This is particularly useful when you’re hiring a car and need to show the hire company that you’re a safe driver, or when starting a new job and are asked to give details of your endorsements before you’re let loose in a company car or van. Check codes are only valid for 21 days after being issued, so don’t apply for one too far in advance or you could find that it has expired by the time your employer tries to check your record.
What Do I Need to Get A Code?
You will have to go online and apply for the check code yourself as your employer or any other body can’t do this on your behalf. The DVLA website is the only portal available to get a check code issued – you can’t phone up and get one or write to them. If you are driving in the UK using a licence issued elsewhere in the world, you won’t be able to request a code from the DVLA. The system isn’t valid in Northern Ireland either, which has its own processes for issuing driving licences and applying points and endorsements. In order to apply you’ll need three key pieces of information:
- Driving licence number – this is the 16-character code on your driving licence, which starts with the first five letters of your surname. You’ll find it printed on your pink driving licence card, just below the date of issue and to the right of your photo.
- National Insurance number – if you don’t know your National Insurance number off by heart, you’ll find it printed on a payslip from your employer, your annual P60 or on any letters from the Department of Work and Pensions about your Benefits.
- Postcode – Listed on your driving licence.