So you arrived in Galicia Spain and realised your precious UK driving license has not made the trip. You may have forgotten it or its lost or stolen.
You have all the papers for your hired / rented car but without the license it’s a no go.
It happened to recent visitors and we remembered when we here robbed in Barcelona we had a similar fate.
The DVLA, the UK government agency looking after the licenses, will, for a small fee (5£), fax a copy of your license to any fax number you care to give them. The telephone number is 0870 240 0009, Monday to Friday 8.00 am – 8.30 pm or Saturday 8.00 am – 5.30 pm. Numbers may have changed I found overseas drivers inq. now to be +44 (0)1792 786 369 (Drivers Abroad). If you phone from a public phone make sure you have some coins as you will be greeted by a voice response system and have to make some choices before you get transferred to an operator.
Get the fax number of your rental agency, phone the DVLA and be on your best behaviour when returning to the rental office about an hour later. The rental agencies headquarters will tell you that without a valid license they are unlikely to give you a car, but they will give you the fax number of the relevant office. Actually its the final (physical) rental office that makes the ultimate decision.
Our visitors arrived in Santiago on a Sunday, realised they forgot the license and subsequently spend a day in Santiago. They took the train to Ourense where we met them at the station. We explained to the rental office the problem and asked for the fax number. Tim put a call through to the DVLA gave them his c-card number and details and yes for 5£ they will fax within an hour. They will fax the paper bit that actually contains all your points and penalties should you have some.
We waited in the station cafe and yes after about an hour the fax had duly arrived. Pointing out the driving license number on the Fax, no problem, very friendly and nice. The contract was changed, absolutely no problem our guests got a car and are happily driving around.
Three years ago some of our papers got stolen and we had to run this gauntlet. The lady in the office only gracefully gave us a car after some discussions and politely mentioning that our papers got nicked in her country.
With hindsight it might be an idea to ask the rental office to run a copy of the fax, just in case one gets stopped by the Guardia Civil.
So don’t panic! Make sure it doesn’t happen on a Sunday, relax, get the office fax, phone DVLA, sit back an hour and smile.
If you live here or travel back to the UK and wish to obtain a hired / rented car with a UK license be aware that you need the paper bit! You can rent a car all over the world with the little plastic card BUT NOT IN THE UK.