How to get an Irish driving license for foreigners (Explained!)

Every year, hundreds of people move to Ireland in search of new adventures.There are lots of challenges you need to face after relocating to Ireland. Moving to Ireland is already confusing, but getting used to driving here is even more challenging. It is not necessary to have a car as there are various options of public transportation in Ireland. However, a car may come in handy when traveling in the countryside,where public transport may be scarce. Here’s a quick guide on how to get an Irish driving license for foreigners.

Driving on International License

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If you already hold a driver’s license from European countries, you can use it in Ireland with no restrictions or no tests. If you want to stay in Ireland for a long time, you can exchange your license for an Irish license. Your IDL (International Driving License) should be considered as a translation rather than a replacement for your driver’s license.

Non Irish citizens can drive on their international driving license or national driving license from their own country for up to 12 months in ireland. After 12 months they need to apply for an Irish driving license.

Most Canadian provinces, Taiwan, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Korea, South Africa, Jersey, Japan, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Gibraltar, and Australia are among the nations whose citizens can also exchange their licenses after completing a test.

Exchange international license to Irish license

The National Driver License Service (NDLS) recently made it a lot easier to switch your driver’s license. The process can now be done entirely online, eliminating the requirement for paper applications or visits to an NDLS center. 

You must schedule an online appointment with the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) to exchange your driving license for an Irish one. If you walk into the NDLS center without an appointment then you need to wait a long time.

To exchange a driving license, first you need to check if you are eligible or not.

Eligibility for Exchanging driving license:

  • Lived in Ireland for 12 months before applying for the exchange.
  • Have an Irish PPS Number.
  • You can exchange your current driver’s license for an Irish one if you have one from the EU, EEA, or a recognized state.’
    • Have a driving license from one of the following countries: 

Most Canadian provinces, Taiwan, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Korea, South Africa, Jersey, Japan, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Gibraltar, and Australia.

If you do not have a driver’s license from one of the countries listed and you do not fit into eligibility criteria mentioned above, you must apply for an Irish driver’s license by following the steps outlined in the Irish driver licensing procedure.

Rules to get an Irish driving license

You’ll need to switch your driver’s license for an Irish one once you’ve been a ‘normal resident’ in Ireland for at least half a year. However, you may be required to take a test and apply for an Irish driver’s license.Unfortunately, getting a new driver’s license in the Republic of Ireland is far more difficult than getting a exchanging license and it will also take some time.

To obtain a full Irish driver’s license, you must complete the following five steps:

  1. Driver theory Test:

Before applying for a learner permit, you must first complete a written driver theory test. Depending on the type of driver’s license you’re looking for, you’ll have to take different examinations. The category B car theory test, for example, consists of 40 questions, 35 of which must be completed correctly in 45 minutes. Tests are usually conducted on a computer and are available in both English and Irish. You will get full information regarding the driver theory test on their official website. Go online and check the Theory Test website.

  1. Learner Driving Permit:
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You can apply for a learner driving permit once you have passed your theory exam. You must schedule an appointment with the NDLS to apply for a learner’s permit, which you can do online.

The documents needed for a learner’s permit are:

  • A Public Services Card(PSC) and verified MyGovID.
  • To have successfully passed the driver theory test in the category you are applying for in the previous 2 years
  • Fully completed eyesight report form dated within one month.
  • Fully completed medical report form dated within one month.
  • Proof of your address dated within the last six months if your current address differs from the one you provided when you applied for your PSC.
  • Proof that you are normally resident in Ireland if your place of birth and nationality are outside the EU/EEA.
  • Completed relevant driver certificate of professional competence (CPC), if required.
  • Your application fee of €35.00.
  1. Essential driving lessons:
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Then you’ll need to attend an Essential Driver Training course, which will take at least 12 sessions of one hour. The EDT is a required course that teaches the fundamentals of driving. Outside of these sessions, you’ll need an experienced driver to supervise your driving practice. A specifically approved logbook should be used to record your lessons and driving practice.

  1. Driving test:

You can take your driving test when you’ve finished these classes and have your learner permit for at least six months.

When taking the driving test, the following are required:

  • Pay the necessary fee for driving test
  • Your valid learner driving permit
  • Your EDT logbook
  • Evidence of your PPS

You will be given a certificate of competency after passing the driving test, which will be valid for two years. This Certificate of Competency can be used to apply for a complete driver’s license.

  1. Full driving license:

You can then apply for a full Irish driving license if you pass. You will need to provide the following documents when applying for a full driving license:

  • Driving License application form
  • Certificate of competency
  • Your learner permit
  • Your Certificate of Competency
  • Completed medical report form and Eyesight report form.
  • Valid PPS number
  • Proof of your address

Getting an Irish driving license is not an easy task and requires a lot of patience and time as well. Driving a car that has not been taxed or insured is illegal in the Republic of Ireland. If you own a vehicle, you must ensure that it is legally taxed and insured. However, one of the major advantages of living in Dublin is the extensive public transportation system which makes traveling easy for us. Sometimes people want to travel in their own vehicle and this article will help them to get their Irish driving license. Let us know in the comment section if you find this article helpful or not and share with your friends as well. 

Akshata Dalvi
Akshata Dalvi

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