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How to get an Irish driving licence

Irish driving licence renewal

Source: NDLS__

When we move from one country to another, it can be a stressful time with a multitude of things to organise in our new country. One thing we must take into consideration, if we plan to drive, is whether our foreign driver’s licence will be valid in our new country. In Ireland, there are different rules depending on whether you have an EU/EEA licence, a licence from a country with which Ireland has an agreement or a licence from another country. At TranslateMyCert, we would like to take away some of the stress and help you get off to a good start in Ireland, so we have compiled information about what steps you need to take in order to exchange your foreign driver’s licence for an Irish driver’s licence.

How drivers with an EU/EEA driver’s licence can exchange their licence

People with an EU/EEA driver’s licence can use it for as long as it is valid. However, if you would like to exchange your driver’s licence for an Irish one, you must apply within 10 years of the expiry of your foreign driver’s licence. If your foreign driving licence has expired, you must request a letter of entitlement/driver statement from the authority that issued the licence. You will not be able to exchange your EU/EEA driver’s licence for an Irish one if you obtained it by exchanging it with a licence from a non-EU/EEA country with which Ireland does not have an exchange agreement.

Instructions on how to apply for an Irish driver’s licence can be found at the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) website.

How to exchange your driver’s licence if your current licence is from a recognised state

In Ireland, you can drive with a foreign driver’s licence that is not from an EU/EEA state for up to one year, as long as it is current and valid. After that time, if you become a resident of Ireland you must exchange your driver’s licence or apply for an Irish one.

A list of countries with which Ireland has an exchange agreement can be found on the NDLS website.

If you exchanged your Irish driver’s licence for a licence from a country which is recognised by Ireland, you must submit that licence to the NDLS when you apply for an Irish driver’s licence. The licence from the recognised state can be exchanged up to one year after it has expired, but in order to do so you must provide a letter of entitlement. If you apply more than one year after it has expired, you will have to apply for a learner permit.

How to exchange a foreign licence from an unrecognised state

As we have mentioned, drivers who have a licence from a country that does not have an exchange agreement with Ireland may use their foreign licence for up to a year. If, however, drivers stay in Ireland for more than a year, they must apply for an Irish driver’s licence. To obtain an Irish driver’s licence you must:

  • Pass a driver’s theory test
  • Apply for a learner permit
  • Complete an Essential Driver Training (EDT) course, which consists of twelve one-hour driving lessons
  • Pass your driving test in Ireland.

After you have successfully completed all these steps, you can apply for an Irish driver’s licence. Details on how to apply can be found on the NDLS website. You must hold a Learner Permit for six months before you can apply for the driving test. An exception to this applies to drivers who already have a full driving licence from another country that has been valid for longer than six months, who have completed the EDT course and who have submitted their foreign driver’s licence and a letter of entitlement from the authority that issued the licence in that country.

Why you may need a translation

If you need to send a letter of entitlement/driver statement from the issuing authority and the original is not written in English or Irish, you must submit a certified translation. At TranslateMyCert we are here to help you with this. Simply upload a copy of your document(s) to our website and we will be happy to provide you with a free quote.