It's a common issue I came across mostly in Europe. I've been driving for 15 years and every time I rent a car, they are looking at the date I renewed my driver's license. Naturally, I renew my license every couple of years, but it seems like they're unable to accept a driver's license that has been renewed in less than a year.

They assume that the renewal date is the first time I got a license.

Why don't countries add the first issue date on the license?

  • 3
    Which country/state issued your licence? All EU licences have the date of first issue (per category) on the back.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 16:26
  • 1
    Note that until 2013 in many EU countries driving licences were issued for life, and since the new ones (standard European Driving Licence) are valid 10 or 15 years (except trucks etc.), on all current ones the date of issue and the date of first issue are the same. This will start changing next year when they start renewing the new format licences in some countries.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 16:29
  • Apparently US driver's licences don't list it and that has been an issue for many (see toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/… for instance). Not sure if there is a practical solution (other than getting the details as listed in that thread) to prove that you are not a brand new driver.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 16:47
  • 2
    Listing a first issue date seems rather administratively complicated in the US system. If I get my license at 16 in Montana, move to Colorado and get a new one there eight years later, move to Vermont, let my license expire, lose the expired license, and get a Vermont license 15 years after that, is Vermont supposed to confirm the date I was first licensed in Montana and print that on my new license? Of course, I'm not sure how EU states will handle this as their licenses start to expire starting next year. Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 21:07
  • I'd have thought there would be plenty of people in the EU who would have had their licenses re-issued for various reasons. IIRC in the UK (no longer in the EU but....) you have to get your license re-issued when you move house, or when you turn 75 and presumablly your license will be re-issued if you add new categories of vehicle. Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


Because in the US there is absolutely nothing of value of knowing when you received a driver's license for the first time. Either you are licensed to drive or you are not. The only exception is the "under 21" vertical license to help easily identify underage persons for alcohol sales.

Also, there is not a national drivers database, so expecting states to query every other one to see if you had a license there is unrealistic. Again, they don't care when you were licensed to drive, just that you are.

  • 2
    "in the US there is absolutely nothing of value of knowing when you received a driver's license for the first time" - The first time I tried to get vehicle insurance in the US they assumed the date on my license was when I was first licensed. I had to get an official letter from the licensing agency of the date I was first licensed.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 15:16

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