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Irish Provisional Driving Licence

It's legally required to have at least a provisional licence if you want to drive a motor vehicle in a public place in Ireland, and you must always carry your licence.

You can apply for a licence at any Motor Taxation Office around the country - there are 29 Offices altogether.

Provisional licences are valid for two years (or one year in certain circumstances) and cost 15 euro.

Once you have a provisional licence, you can drive a vehicle in the category that your licence covers - a list of the different categories is detailed below.

Categories of vehicles

Motor vehicles in Ireland are split into different categories for driver licensing purposes. This is the usual practice throughout the European Union. Ireland has 14 categories in total, from motorcycles across to agricultural vehicles. Each category of vehicle has its own prescribed minimum age for the driver.

Car drivers (category B) that have a provisional licence must be accompanied at all times when driving, by a person with a current full driving licence. (The single exception to this is when the driver holds a second provisonal driving licence to drive a car).

Motorcyclists (categores A, A1 or M) and work vehicle drivers (category W) that have provisional licences, don't need to be accompanied when driving.

Every other driver with a provisional licences has to be accompanied by and kept under the supervison of someone with a current full driving licence for the relevant vehicle category.

All provisional licence holders are required to display L-plates to the front and rear of the vehicle, at all times.

If you are the holder of a provisonal driving licence, you are not permitted to drive a vehicle drawing a trailer, drive on a motorway, act as an accompanying driver or ever carry other people for reward.

A theory test certificate has to be successfully obtained before a first provisional licence is granted. To apply for a third provisional licence you must show that you have (1) taken a driving test in the two-year period prior to the application or (2) or show evidence of an upcoming test date.

A two year provisional licence will be granted to the applicant if you can produce evidence showing that you have taken a driving test, and a one year provisional licence will be given to you if you submit evidence of an upcoming test date.

However, if your provisional driving licence expired 5 years ago, then you are required to take a Driver Theory test before a new provisional licence will be issued.

When I change address do I need a new provisional licence?

It's not actually required by law to change your driving licence if you change address, however it is recommended. Contact your Motor Tax Office for more info on the procedure - it's free to amend the address on your licence.

You are required to carry your driving licence with you at all times when driving in Ireland. If requested by An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) to display your licence, you are legally obliged to do so.

Replacing a lost or stolen provisional licence

If your most recent Irish provisional driving licence has been either stolen or lost, but it is still valid, then you can obtain a replacement driving licence. Apply at your local motor taxation office, explaining the details of your case.

How to apply

Before you can apply for your first provisional driving licence, you are required to complete and pass a Driver Theory Test.

People without any driving experience may only apply for a provisional licence in categories A, A1, B, M or W. You can download an application for a provisional driving licence, from the oasis website, form D201. Make sure in advance though, that your Motor Tax Office will accept downloaded application forms.

This particular form is also available at the local Motor Taxation Office and also by post through Oasis.

When you have completed the application form, you should bring it to the motor taxation office together with: 2 identical passport-type photographs (with the reverse of both photos signed by you) and a birth certificate or passport. If you already hold a current provisional or full licence, held a full licence within the last 10 years, or held a provisional licence within the last 5 years.

An eyesight report.

A full eyesight report form must accompany all first-time provisional licence applications. This must be conducted by a registered ophthalmic optician or a registered medical practitioner.

You can download an eyesight report form (D.502) from the oasis website or collect one at the local motor taxation office. You can also request that one be sent through the mail by Oasis.

The optician will then fill out the D.502 form and oversee your signed declaration on the form.

A medical report.

It's necessary to have a completed medical report form when you are applying for the first time, for a provisional licence for categories C1, C, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1 or ED.

A registered medical practitioner should undertake your medical examination and then complete the required form (D501). You must sign the declaration on the medical report form under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner.

A medical report is also obligatory for any category if you will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the licence is being issued, are suffering from any of the disabilities or diseases mentioned on the D.201 form, suffer from epilepsy or alcoholism or frequently take drugs or medication that could have a detrimental effect on your ability to drive safely.


The provisional driver licence costs €15. You can pay by post using a cheque, bank draft or postal order, made payable to your local authority. You can only apply by cash, if you are applying in person.

Where to apply for the Provisional Licence

The application for the provisional driving licence should be made at the local Motor Taxation Office. The telephone numbers for the Motor Taxation Offices are located under the "Local Authorities" section in your telephone directory.

Driver Testing Section,
Government Offices,
Department of Transport,
Co. Mayo.
Telephone: (096) 24200
Fax: (096) 24400
LoCall: (1890) 40 60 40 (charged local rate within Ireland)

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Full Driving Licence

The full driving licence may be applied for when you have passed the driving test in Ireland. Applications are accepted by post and in person, and forms are available at the motor taxation section of your local authority. All drivers are legally required to always carry their driving licence when driving, since January 2003.

The full driving licence is also necessary in order to obtain a licence in certain vehicle categories, and other benefits include lower motor insurance (than holders of provisional licences).

When you can apply or reapply for a Driving Licence

If you...
  • have recently passed a driving test
  • already have a licence that will expire within a month
  • have a driving licence that expired within the last 10 years.
  • want to add an additional vehicle category to your current licence, when no additional test is required.
  • are exchanging a current driving licence from another recognised state.

Where is the driver licence valid?

The full Irish driving licence is valid in all other EU/EEA member states. If you happen to be venturing outside of the EU/EEA and are planning to drive, you may need an international driving permit.

How long is a licence valid?

The length of time a licence is issued for, depends on the age of the applicant. This is split into 4 categories, as follows:

Your age is...

  • Under 60
    You can apply for a 3 or a 10 year licence
  • Between 60 and 67
    You can apply for a 3 year licence, or a licence that expires the day before your 70th birthday
  • Between 67 and 70
    You can apply for a 3 year licence
  • Over 70
    You require a certificate of fitness to drive from your doctor and can apply for a 1 year or 3 year licence.

What if your licence expires

You can renew your licence, provided that it has expired within the last 10 years. If it has expired more than 10 years ago, you will be required to take the Driver Theory Test, and can then apply for a provisional driving licence if you successfully pass. You will then have to resit the driving test, before you are eligible for the full licence.

If your full driving licence expired 10 years ago, then you must complete a Driver Theory Test. Following completion of your Driver Theory Test, you can only then apply for a provisional licence and you will have to re-sit your driving test again.

Categories of vehicles

Motor vehicles in Ireland are split up into different categories for driver licensing purposes - this is the usual practice right across the European Union. In Ireland there are 14 categories in total, ranging from motorcycles to agricultural vehicles.

Is a new driving licence necessary, if I change address?

It's not legally required to change your driving licence when you change address, but it is advised. You can contact the local motor tax office for more info on this - it's a free service.

Regardless, it is always legally required to carry your driving licence with you when driving, and you must produce your licence if requested by a member of the gardaí.

Replacing a lost or stolen full driving licence

If your most recent full Irish driving licence has been either stolen or lost, but it is still valid, then you can obtain a replacement driving licence. If your most recent licence has expired, you can also obtain a replacement full driving licence .

Costs for the different licences

One year = 5 euro
Three years = 15 euro
Ten years = 25 euro
Motorists over 70: Renewal is free
Exchanging licences to show change of address: Free


How to apply for the full licence

You can download and complete the application form D.401 from the government's website. This form is used in applying for the driving licence, and also to renew it.,

Check that your local Motor Tax Office will accept applications on downloaded application forms. You can also obtain this form, from your local Motor Taxation Office, or you can ask for a copy of form D.401 by post through Oasis (the government website).

Return the completed application form to your local Motor Taxation Office including the following:

  • 2 identical passport-type photos, with the reverse of both signed
  • current or most recently issued driving licence (if you hold or held one in the previous 10 years), or the current or most recently issued provisional licence (if you have held one in the previous five years).
  • A Certificate of Competency for those who have recently passed their driving test.
  • The requried fee. This may be a cheque, postal order, or bank draft payable to the local authority. You may pay the fee in cash, only if you are applying in person.
  • Those who are exchanging a full and current driving licence from another EU state (or other recognised state), should also fill in and submit form D900 (available at the local motor tax office). This form will include a declaration that the licence you have at the moment is both current and valid.
  • Drivers over 70 must submit a medical report, and also drivers of category C1, C, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1 or ED vehicles. You can download form D501 from Oasis.

    The medical report should be carried out by a GP, who will fill in the form, and have you sign it in their presence.

    (note: a medical report may also be required if you suffer from any of the conditions listed on form D401. These include alcoholism, epilepsy and some other conditions).

Contact details for Driving Licence Authorities

Questions about the full Irish driving licence should be referred toyour local Motor Tax Office. Your nearest Motor Tax Office is located in your local authority.

Contact info for the government's Central Driver Testing Section are as follows:

Driver Testing Section,
Government Offices,
Department of Transport,
Co. Mayo.
Tel: (096) 24200
Fax: (096) 24400
LoCall: (1890) 40 60 40 (charged at local rate within Ireland)

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International Drivers in Ireland

Transferring Existing Licences

Those holding a driving licence issued by any of the countries listed below may exchange it for an Irish licence of the same vehicle category once they take up permanent residence in Ireland, without being required to sit a driving test. This transfer must be done within one year of arrival though.

Eligible countries:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

If you aren't entitled to transfer your licence

Those holding driving licences from any other country are required to pass an Irish driving test before an Irish licence can be granted. They must first acquire a provisional licence as detailed above, so will be required to also under go the driver theory test, eye-test etc. You should also bring your PPS number with you, when making applications for the provisional licence.

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