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Driving Licences in Ireland

Driver Testing and Licensing in the Republic of Ireland is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.

Mutual recognition of driving licences

Source: Road Safety Authority (RSA)

All countries in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) – EU plus Norway, Liechenstein and Iceland – benefit from a ‘mutual recognition’ agreement in respect of driving licences.

Under the agreement, Irish driving licence holders can drive in any EU or EEA country on their existing Irish driving licence so long as it’s current and valid. Likewise, people from those countries can drive in Ireland on a current, valid licence.  For further information please visit National Driver Licence Service – About your license

Exchanging your licence for an Irish Licence

To be eligible to apply for an Irish driving licence you must be what’s termed ‘normally resident’ in Ireland, ie living there for at least 185 days in each calendar year.  An application for an exchange of driving licence should be made in person to one of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres – see ‘How to apply’ above. You can book an appointment online.

The National Driver Licence Service provides information for holders of foreign driving licences on its website.

Cross-border issues

Frontier workers are not required to exchange their licence.

Working/studying across the border

If you have family in the South yet are working or studying across the border in Northern Ireland (or in any another EU country) for a specific period you may still be regarded as being normally resident in the South provided you return regularly. Working on a specific task or attending a foreign university or college does not mean you have transferred your normal residence to another country.

Learner Drivers

Southern learner drivers cannot drive in the North on an Irish provisional licence/learner’s permit.

See also:

Page last checked: February 2016

This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur.  It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North /  South

If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.