When you pass a driving test you are entitled to apply for a driving licence for the category of vehicle which you were tested for. This document explains how to apply for your driving licence after you have passed a driving test. In other documents you will find information on:
To apply for a driving licence, you must be normally resident in Ireland. You are considered to be normally resident in Ireland if, because of personal and occupational ties, you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year.
The Road Safety Authority now has responsibility for driver licensing and has set up a new National Driver Licence Service (NDLS). In addition, the application process has changed and, when applying for a driving licence, you have to visit one of the new NDLS centres. As part of the face-to-face application process, your photo and your signature is captured digitally. You have to bring additional documentation to confirm your identity.
A new plastic-card driving licence has been introduced, replacing the paper driving licence. This is an EU initiative to introduce a secure, compact style of licence in all member states.
The number of driving licence categories has increased and the minimum age requirement for certain categories has changed also. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority's website.
If you obtain your first driving licence on or after 1st August 2014, you must display N-plates on your vehicle when driving for a period of 2 years. Motorcycle riders must wear an N-tabard. The novice period only applies once. It does not apply to a first driving licence obtained for a different category of vehicle after the original 2-year period ends. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority website.
The penalty points disqualification threshold of 12 points is reduced to 7 penalty points for those who obtain their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014. It remains at the lower threshold while they drive under a learner permit and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first driving licence. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority website.
The drink driving limits for drivers in their first 2 years on a full driving licence is reduced to 20mg/100ml of blood.
Category A (motorcycle) driving licences issued before 19 January 2013 carry a restriction. This restriction limits the driving licence holder to motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) with a power limit of 25Kw or less. This restriction continues for 2 years after you complete your motorcycle driving test for this category and after you have obtained a full driving licence for this category. This restriction does not apply to category A driving licences issued since 19 January 2013. If you hold a category A driving licence to which this restriction applies and want to remove the restriction before the 2 years have elapsed, you will have to do Initial Basic Training (IBT) progression module 5 (and modules 1 and 3 if not already done) on a motorcycle greater than 40kW.
You are entitled to apply for a driving licence if you have passed the driving test for that category of vehicle within the previous 2 years. If the Certificate of Competency you were issued with is over 2 years old, you will have to pass the driving test again.
The period of time a driving licence is issued for depends on the age of the applicant. There are 4 age brackets that the period of a licence falls under.
A bus or truck driving licence is issued for a maximum of 5 years.
Motor vehicles are divided into different categories for driver licensing purposes. You can read more in our document on categories of vehicles and minimum ages of drivers.
Your category of driving licence may give you entitlement to a driving licence for certain other categories of driving licence. See ‘Further information’ below.
Since January 2013, the cost of driving licences is as follows:
Adding a new category to your current driving licence costs €35.
Motorists over the age of 70 can get their driving licence for free.
Information on acceptable forms of payment is available on the application form.
Any required eyesight tests or medical examinations are not free of charge.
You have to apply in person to one of the NDLS centres. You do not have to provide photographs with your application but you do need to bring additional documents with you in order to confirm you are the person who is applying for the driving licence.
If you have a learner permit or Irish driving licence, you need to bring evidence of your PPS Number and proof of address. If you do not have a learner permit or an Irish driving licence, you need to bring photographic ID, proof of your residency entitlement, evidence of your PPS Number and proof of address. See ‘Proof of identity’ below.
You apply for a driving licence using the driving licence application form (D401) which is available from NDLS centres, driving test centres, driving theory test centres and Garda stations. You can also download the driving licence application form (pdf) as well as guidance notes (pdf).
Your completed application form must be accompanied by the following:
You will require a Driving Licence Medical Report Form if you are applying for driving licence categories C, C1, D, D1, CE, C1E, DE or D1E (buses and trucks), unless you previously provided a medical report which is still applicable.
You will not require a Driving Licence Medical Report Form if you are applying for driving licence categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE or W (motorcycles, cars and work vehicles) unless:
You can download the medical report form (pdf) (it must be printed back to back on one page). It is also available from NDLS centres. A registered medical practitioner should carry out your medical examination and then complete the form. You must sign the declaration on the medical report form in the presence of the registered medical practitioner. It must be submitted within 1 month.
You will require a Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form if you no longer need glasses or contact lenses. You can download the eyesight report form (pdf) (pages 1 and 2 should be printed back to back on one page). It is also available from NDLS centres. It must be submitted within 1 month of completion.
The following documents are accepted as proof of your identity:
Note: Proof of address documents can be no more than 6 months old at date of application. Mobile phone bills and statements from store cards/catalogue companies are not accepted.
The National Driver Licence Service provides information on applying for a driving licence on its website.
If you have a driving licence for a particular category, you are entitled to a driving licence for certain other categories as follows:
|Licence category||Categories covered|
|A1||A1 and AM|
|A2||A1, A2 and AM|
|A||A, A1, A2 and AM|
|B||B and W|
|C1||B, C1 and W|
|C||B, C, C1 and W|
|D1||B, D1 and W|
|D||B, D, D1 and W|
|BE||B, BE and W|
|C1E||B, C1, BE, C1E and W|
|CE||B, C, C1, BE, CE, C1E and W|
|D1E||B, D1, BE, D1E and W|
|DE||B, D, D1, BE, DE, D1E and W|
In addition, if you have held a driving licence for category B, C, C1, D, D1, BE, CE, C1E, DE or D1E since before 21 October 2006, you are entitled to a licence for category AM.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.