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Driving licences in Northern Ireland

Driving licences in Northern Ireland

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) is responsible for driver licensing in Northern Ireland.  For general information please visit NI Direct – Driver licensing

Driving in NI on a foreign licence

Source: NI Direct

All drivers must comply with Northern Ireland’s minimum age requirements. These are 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 21 years for large lorries and buses.


Car and motorcycle driving licence holders (ordinary driving licence) can drive in NI as long as the licence is valid, or you can exchange the licence for a NI one to show your new details.  NI Direct 
Where an Irish licence holder takes up residence in another EU country or the European Economic Area (EEA) – Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland they can drive on their existing Irish driving licence so long as it’s current and valid.  National Driver Licence Service


If you hold a valid community licence and are visiting Northern Ireland (NI), you can drive any vehicle if your licence is valid. The appropriate full entitlement for the vehicle you wish to drive must be shown on your licence.

Exchanging your foreign driving licence

If you want or need to change your driving licence for a NI driving licence you must normally be resident in NI and have a permanent address there.

Application forms can be obtained from the main Post Office® branches, local vehicle licensing offices or MOT centres. Completed applications should be forwarded to the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

The NI Direct website provides further information Driving in NI on a foreign licence

Cross-border issues

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

See also:

Page last checked: May 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.