You can discard the paper part of your driving licence from 8 June 2015 when the DVLA will stop issuing them and they become invalid.
If you need to update your name, address or renew your existing licence, you will be issued with a new photocard only - the paper counterpart will be retained.
However, while drivers are advised to bin the paper counterpart of their licence from 8 June, the changes do not apply to drivers in Northern Ireland, who will need to keep their papers.
The move is part of the government's aim to cut down on the amount of red tape. The purpose of the counterpart up until now has been to include licence details that couldn't be included on the photocard – such as penalty points or the types of vehicles your are allowed to drive.
Paper driving licences that were issued before the photocard was launched in 1998 will remain valid.
What happens to speeding tickets or other fines?
New penalty points (endorsements) will only be recorded electronically so if you commit an offence you will still have to pay a fine and submit your licence to the court. It's how the court deals with the paperwork that is changing.
For photocard licences, the court will retain the paper counterpart and only return the photocard to you. For paper licences, the court will return it to you but they won't have written or printed the offence details on it.
This means that from 8 June 2015 neither the photocard driving licence nor the paper licence will provide an accurate account of any driving endorsements you may have. Instead, this information will be held on DVLA's driver record, and can be checked online, by phone or post.
The free-to-use View Driving Licence service (gov.uk/view-driving-licence) will let you see what details are held about you and the Share Driving Licence (also at gov.uk) service will become available before the counterpart is abolished for anyone needing to check driver records (with the consent of the driving licence holder).
What about proving I can drive to an employer or car hire firm?
After 8 June 2015, if you are hiring a vehicle or you drive for a living and you are asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), you will be able to do this online for free by accessing the Share Driving Licence service. This service will be available at gov.uk/view-driving-licence before the counterpart is abolished.
The service should be used by both paper and photocard driving licence holders and will also allow you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared.
You will need to enter your driver number, National Insurance number and the postcode shown on your current driving licence.
Alternatively, you can call DVLA and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.
From 8 June 2015, you may wish to check with the hire company what they need to see when you hire a vehicle. If you are asked for evidence of what vehicles you can drive or confirmation of any penalty points, you will be able to request a unique 'licence check code' from gov.uk, which will allow you to share your driving licence details or you can download a summary of your driving licence record.
The code will last for up to 72 hours, can be used only once and will allow the hire companies to make any necessary checks. This means that if you are travelling abroad and won't be collecting your hire vehicle as soon as you arrive, you may have to log on to the gov.uk website to generate your code from outside of the UK.
All drivers can also request their code by calling 0300 083 0013. This also applies if you have a paper licence that was issued before 1998.