Paper Driving License and EU

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Paper Driving License and EU

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This is may be of interest to people.

I've had a paper license for 31 years when I moved into my current house. Pre photo card etc.

Then this was "GB Driving Licence - European Communities Model". Now this was then acceptable for driving in the EEC countries.

Time moves on and two things have change:

1) My Post Code. Every other government, council, NHS, utility provider automatically made the relevant changes however the DVLA did not issue updated paper licenses

2) The EEC became the EU and new rules/photocard seem to have happened.

So not advised to me I've been driving in the EU for many years with a now supposedly invalid license as it is not a photocard and not backed by an IDP.

So last year (before Covid) we went to the PO to get a couple of IDPs. They rejected the photos as not passport compliant despite them being the same as on our passports which we did not have with us. Suspect they were fuelling the local photo booth! No further action taken as EU trips were now off.

So this year I looked into getting an updated license (photo) with the correct post code.

Tried the online system to get a free change due to address change but this all failed miserably at server hurdles. Old paper licence info not recognised and then the system did not recognise the post code change so threw out No.X The Old Lane ......... as being the same as to what they had on record.

So I called the DVLA (long wait) and was told:

1) They had the correct post code on their system
2) that I needed to fill in a D1 form, add photo, take to Post Office for validation (with passport/proof of address etc) and I would be issued with a new photo card license free of charge.

I mentioned to the nice lady that it looked like I could do the paper to photocard change online but it would cost £20. She said that the D1 route was free and I should not be paying to get a driving license with the correct post code on it. However I did say that I understand that but the whole process is, if nothing else, exposing me to unnecessary (based on my age) Covid exposure risks etc.

So where am I at now.

Well the other day I did an online "paper to photocard" exchange. Yes I had to pay £20 but the system recognised me (well did not reject me like going the address change route), was happy that it could identify me (NI number) and pick up my passport photo and signature.

For me the £20 was not ideal but I could do the whole process from my own home risk free, no photo to be provided and no certified paper document identity stuff either.

I would add that the EU IDP route (either 1 or two years) will cost you money anyway and require payed renewal, photo, etc. etc. so the £20 I've paid is good value BUT could have been avoided if the DVLA colud online process old paper licenses.

Lastly. My current paper license is Groups A and E. This includes Mopeds and up to 7.5 ton vehicles. I will be reviewing very carefully my old license permitted driving classes against what I guess will be new system class entitlements to ensure my "grandfather" rights and entitlements are carried forward correctly.

Whenever you do a DVLA (or other) change/update/etc then ALWAYS be sure to photocopy all your original documents and keep them safe. These will be the only real proof that you had certain entitlements as your records are moved from "olde" systems/standards to the new/current ones. Without this photocopy proof then things could get "tricky".

Thankfully I also still have my original Red Cloth County Driving license from the 70s and my Belgian driving license from the same era when I used to live in Belgium.
 
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Whenever you do a DVLA (or other) change/update/etc then ALWAYS be sure to photocopy all your original documents and keep them safe. These will be the only real proof that you had certain entitlements as your records are moved from "olde" systems/standards to the new/current ones. Without this photocopy proof then things could get "tricky".

Thankfully I also still have my original Red Cloth County Driving license from the 70s and my Belgian driving license from the same era when I used to live in Belgium



Tbh they won't accept photocopys


I've seen many people loose parts of even there whole lisence during a change


And many times it ends up with them having to retake a test as they will just say they don't make mistakes and copy's can't be proven to be valid
 
Get the old licence validated by a solicitor along with them checking what's shown by the DVLA online. It will cost but cheap compared to losing your motorbike, HGV or other entitlement.
 
There have been many cases of lost entitlements with new licence issues, so a copy of the old one as proof of what you had is a good idea.

Having passed a test prior to Jan '97, you will have up to 7.5t and lots of other stuff, such as car and trailer, minibus, etc. Those entitlements automatically drop off at 70yrs old, unless you've passed the relevant test, or request at renewal that they are left on. This has left quite a few people with caravans (B+E) in the poo, and especially those with large motorhomes that need the 7.5t (C1) category.

Before renewal, check online for all entitlements, and print the page.
With any renewal, as soon as it arrives, check it.
Squeal at DVLA without delay if anything is wrong.
 
Well yes I have checked my new (not yet arrived) license details and everything has converted from Groups/Categories A and E to the *new complicated collection*.

The boss has checked her current online details and they are correct.

Does anybody know if these new licence categories align with the EU ones? I would have thought so otherwise how do the EU police check what you are entitled to drive, e.g. up to 7500kg with trailer etc. On the old paper license the groups/categories were written with details.
 
Well yes I have checked my new (not yet arrived) license details and everything has converted from Groups/Categories A and E to the *new complicated collection*.

The boss has checked her current online details and they are correct.

Does anybody know if these new licence categories align with the EU ones? I would have thought so otherwise how do the EU police check what you are entitled to drive, e.g. up to 7500kg with trailer etc. On the old paper license the groups/categories were written with details.

Yes, the categories should align with all EU countries. Certainly, B (car), C/C1 (trucks) and D/D1 buses, all align. France has an even more complicated motorcyle system, so does not quite align.
Even Russian photocards have the same format, so can be deciphered without an interpreter.
I used to see a lot of 'new to driving on the left' people, for a few different companies, and have seen quite a few different languages, but all same format. A half-day of introduction to UK driving was often quite exciting. As a driver we get used to positioning ourself at a certain point across a lane, to put the car in the right place. Someone used to LHD, now sitting in the right seat, has a tendency to still position themselves towards the left of the lane. Can get very close to parked vehicles at times.
There's a junction on the M40 heading south, slip road down to a T-junction. Turn right, under the motorway, right again to rejoin northbound. Been under that motorway on the wrong side many times. They nearly always realise as they turn onto the new slip road. Great fun. Safe enough, as with any traffic about, there's a clue to the correct side, so only happens when no traffic in view.
 
Thanks for confirming the EU wide category harmonization.

I'll be getting one of these:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-style-driving-licences-and-number-plates-mark-one-year-anniversary-of-brexit-as-eu-flag-is-removed

As for LHD / RHD / driving on the left / driving on the right then it has never been an issues for me (or the boss). I passed my UK test in a RDR mini in the UK but also had a LHD Fiat 600D which I drove in the UK and Belgium where I lived. Road trips to Italy every year towing and in the UK have both a RDH (500X) and LHD (Barchetta).

That said I have *once* started to drive off on the wrong side and corrected within a few yards. This was on not so wide road with no lane divide marking on what looked on first observation to be a single one direction lane out off an off main road fuelling station in Germany. I think that what confused me was the turn right only arrow on the exit from the petrol station. Long time ago now :)
 
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Having passed a test prior to Jan '97, you will have up to 7.5t and lots of other stuff, such as car and trailer, minibus, etc. Those entitlements automatically drop off at 70yrs old, unless you've passed the relevant test, or request at renewal that they are left on. This has left quite a few people with caravans (B+E) in the poo, and especially those with large motorhomes that need the 7.5t (C1) category.

OK so the default is to drop some of the categories not associated with passenger vehicle (4/5 person car), like 7.5t and mini busses etc.

So two questions.

1) You say car+trailer/caravan is automatically dropped? Are you sure of this? OR is there just a lowering of the 8250kg total mass to 35XX kg?

2) 7.5t and mini busses (8 to 16 passengers) get dropped. If you ask for these to be retained is a medical/doctors approval required?
 
OK so the default is to drop some of the categories not associated with passenger vehicle (4/5 person car), like 7.5t and mini busses etc.

So two questions.

1) You say car+trailer/caravan is automatically dropped? Are you sure of this? OR is there just a lowering of the 8250kg total mass to 35XX kg?

2) 7.5t and mini busses (8 to 16 passengers) get dropped. If you ask for these to be retained is a medical/doctors approval required?

1. A standard category B, car up to 3.5t, has a slightly complicated trailer allowance.
It starts with permission to tow up to 750kg, so a small camping trailer, stuff to the tip, etc.
Then it gets complicated. You can stretch this to a total mass of 3.5t, but that figure is gross weight, not actual. If you are driving a 3.5t van, even when empty, you cannot tow more than the 750kg trailer.
The trailer gross weight must not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle, and the total gross weight must not exceed 3.5t.
If your car weighs 1.25t, but has a gross weight of 1.75t, you can tow a trailer with a gross weight of 1.25t, making a total gross weight of 3t.
A typical 4x4 pickup weighs around 2t unladen, but often has a low payload, of only 5-600kg, which includes all passengers and other load. Let's assume a gross of 2.5t. That leaves you with a maximum trailer gross of 1t. Well below the capability of the vehicle.
For anything other than a small occasional trailer, a calculation is needed, and a bit of head scratching. The B+E category makes things so much easier.

A local landscaping company allowed a young lad, just passed his car test, to drive a pickup with large trailer with an industrial sized mower on it. Got stopped, due to his driving manner, which alerted the policeman to licence entitlements. Much discussion with police control, lad not allowed to continue journey, prosecuted for driving 'not in accordance with licence'. As a new drive, licence was cancelled due to 6 points. Oops!
Met a guy with a motorhome needing a 7.5t entitlement. Having renewed his licence at age 70, the C1+E had disappeared. Now has to take his C1+E tests, rather expensive, including medical and ongoing CPC tasks.

2. If minibus, or small truck, are retained, no medical checks are required. However, this only really allows you to use these categories for personal use, or volunteering for your local scout group, etc. To drive professionally, any employer should insist on the medical and other training. Minibus training includes specific vehicle checks and first aid. So you can hire that 7.5t truck to move house, but not go work for TNT. You can take all your mates to a football match in a minibus (If/when we can again), but not work for your local bus or taxi company.
A note on the higher capacity minibuses, many will be very close to their 3.5t weight limit with all seats filled. Any luggage may make it overweight.
Ambulances are generally over 3.5t these days. (The Sprinter chassis can go up to around 6t I think). Some ambulance authorities have an exemption to allow trained drivers to use just their category B, some train and test them to C1.
Buying a used ambulance to make into a camper can put people in trouble, as if the chassis is rated at above 3.5t, you need the C1 licence for it, regardless of actual running weight.
 
The B+E category makes things so much easier.

BE I have [along with C1, C1E (8250kg restriction), D1, D1E]

BE [vehicle up to 3500kg, up to 8 passenger, trailer up to 3500kg] is the critical one for most people who passed their test before June 1976.

So when these people turn 70 and renew their license will BE automatically retained or is there likelihood that that BE will be rolled back to a bog standard B?

I would like to think the if you have BE (either because of pre 1976 or because you took the additional test post 1976) then this will stay on you license till the day you die or become medically unfit to drive?
 
BE I have [along with C1, C1E (8250kg restriction), D1, D1E]

BE [vehicle up to 3500kg, up to 8 passenger, trailer up to 3500kg] is the critical one for most people who passed their test before June 1976.

So when these people turn 70 and renew their license will BE automatically retained or is there likelihood that that BE will be rolled back to a bog standard B?

I would like to think the if you have BE (either because of pre 1976 or because you took the additional test post 1976) then this will stay on you license till the day you die or become medically unfit to drive?

Renewal at 70 requires you to request retention of the categories. If you don't, they disappear.
If you've taken the BE test, the category should stay, but DVLA are not good at old records. If the test was before DVLA computerisation, they may not have it recorded. Photocopies are helpful.
If test has been passed, the back of the licence will show a different start date for that category.
A lot of people have lost their motorcycle entitlement at renewals, even long before they are 70.
 
Renewal at 70 requires you to request retention of the categories. If you don't, they disappear.

Well I guess we all have to be extremely careful come 70.

I've received my new photocard license and my old A, E have correctly been updated (both as viewed online and on card as well). I would like to think that my current BE is something I don't have to specifically ask for but I guess I'll have to wait till I'm getting to seventy and see what is what then.

Thanks for all your info/feedback portland_bill.
 
BE [vehicle up to 3500kg, up to 8 passenger, trailer up to 3500kg] is the critical one for most people who passed their test before June 1976.
...
I would like to think the if you have BE (either because of pre 1976 or because you took the additional test post 1976) then this will stay on you license till the day you die or become medically unfit to drive?

Not sure where your pre/post 1976 comes from. I have BE and I took my test in 1982.

My entitlements are shown on the pdf, with the categories summarised.
(Categories detailed at https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-categories)
(Codes detailed at https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-codes)

This is for a manual car driving test taken in 1982, with no other tests, and (as PB said) all categories expire with my 70th birthday.

View attachment Driving licence.pdf
 
Not sure where your pre/post 1976 comes from. I have BE and I took my test in 1982.

My entitlements are shown on the pdf, with the categories summarised.
(Categories detailed at https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-categories)
(Codes detailed at https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-codes)

This is for a manual car driving test taken in 1982, with no other tests, and (as PB said) all categories expire with my 70th birthday.

View attachment 215442

DVLA was set up around the early seventies, I think, but didn't fully computerise straight away. The 1976 may be significant there. Only when they introduced photocard licences did the records become more secure, so anything before then can get 'lost'. There are still a few old paper licences about, and when replacing with photocards care, and photocopies, need to be taken.

Tests passed after Jan1 1997 gives cat B only.
 
Prior to 1976 driving licences were county council issued and you had a RED linen backed booklet licence about the same size as a credit card. These licenses had to renewed annually and you got a sticky label to stick inside.

1976 (was when either I or everyone had their licenses replaced with the then paper licenses.

Verhicle categories pre 1976 were as far as I recall were potentially different to those post 1976. The DVLA document for old/new categories only goes back to 1976 and not pre 1976. I would have to dig my old pre 76 licence out to see what, if any, differences there were.
 
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Prior to 1976 driving licences were county council issued and you had a RED linen backed booklet licence about the same size as a credit card. These licenses had to renewed annually and you got a sticky label to stick inside.

1976 (was when either I or everyone had their licenses replaced with the then paper licenses.

Verhicle categories pre 1976 were as far as I recall were potentially different to those post 1976. The DVLA document for old/new categories only goes back to 1976 and not pre 1976. I would have to dig my old pre 76 licence out to see what, if any, differences there were.

I thought DVLA was opened in 1974. I think there must have been a period where perhaps new licences were issued by DVLA, and it took a few years to transfer all the County ones to them. My first licence was issued Jan 1974, by DVLA, so thinking back, I must have been one of the earliest recipients. Me and thousands of others. Wikipedia say DVLA was created in 1965, which seems a bit early, but I can't find anything else online. I suspect it may have been created then, but only started working properly in the early seventies, hence my memory of 1974. It's probably a state secret, and we're all going to be visited by Special Branch. As long as they distance and wear masks.
 
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