Learner driving permits for motorcycles

Information

It is a statutory requirement that you must hold at least a learner driving permit (previously known as a provisional licence) for the appropriate category of motorcycle if you want to drive a motorcycle in a public place. You are required to carry your permit with you at all times when driving.

This document explains how to apply for or renew a learner permit for a motorcycle. In other documents you will find information on:

To apply for a learner permit, you must be normally resident in Ireland. If you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year (because of personal and occupational ties), you are considered to be normally resident in Ireland.

2013 changes

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 learner permit, 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 learner permit has been introduced, replacing the paper learner permit. 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.

Rules

Before you learn to drive on public roads, you must hold a learner permit, covering the category of motorcycle you wish to drive. A learner permit to drive a motorcycle is usually valid for 2 years.

Learner permit holders are not allowed carry pillion passengers (passengers on the back of their motorcycle) or drive on a motorway.

Motorcyclists with learner permits are required to display L-plates on a yellow fluorescent high visibility tabard. (A tabard is a bib or sleeveless outer garment with open side-seams). The letter 'L' must be in red and at least 15cm in height on a white background, and must be to the front and rear of your torso. It is a criminal offence for learner motorcyclists not to display L plates.

Since October 2011 the drink driving limit for drivers with learner permits and those in their first two years on a full driving licence is reduced to 20mg/100m of blood.

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 rules of the road are available at rulesoftheroad.ie.

Motorcycle categories

Since 19 January 2013 there are 4 categories of motorcycle in Ireland that are licensed for use on public roads. There are also specified minimum ages for motorcyclists.

Motorcycle and moped categories from 19 January 2013
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
AM Mopeds and tricycles with a maximum speed of 45kph and light quadricycles 16 years
A1

Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) of 11kW or less and 125cc or less, with a maximum power/weight ratio of 0.1 kW/kg, and motor tricycles of 15 kW or less

16 years
A2 Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) of 35kW or less, with a maximum power/weight ratio of 0.2 kW/kg, and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power 18 years
A Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) and motor tricycles 24 years (20 years via progressive access)

Before 19 January 2013, the categories and driver’s minimum age for motorcycles and mopeds were as follows:

Motorcycle and moped categories before 19 January 2013
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
A1 Motorcycles of 11kW or less and of 125cc or less, with or without a sidecar 16 years
A* Motorcycles with or without a sidecar 18 years
M Mopeds with a maximum speed of 45kph and a maximum n engine size of 50cc 16 years

* Category A learner permits issued before 19 January 2013 carry a restriction. This restriction limits the licence holder to motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) subject to a power limit of 25kW. This restriction continues for 2 years after you have obtained a full driving licence for this category providing the licence was obtained before 19 January 2013.

Getting a full driving licence

If you are old enough, the usual steps you must take to get a full driving licence in a particular category is to:

  1. Pass the motorcycle/moped theory test
  2. Get a learner permit for the category you wish to get a full licence for
  3. Complete all the appropriate Initial Basic Training (IBT) modules on the appropriate type of motorcycle
  4. Pass the motorcycle driving test after a minimum of 6 months on the appropriate representative motorcycle

However, if you have already held a category A1 or A2 full driving licence for at least two years it is possible to get a full licence for category A2 or A respectively through what is called progressive access, without going through all those steps. Providing you have already completed IBT training for your existing licence, the steps you follow are:

  1. Get a learner permit for the category you wish to get a full licence for
  2. Complete the IBT progression module on the appropriate type of motorcycle

You may also have to do a motorcycle driving test if you did not pass the test for your existing licence. It is possible to get a category A learner permit at age 20 under progressive access.

Information on the process for obtaining a motorcycle licence (pdf) and a related motorcycle FAQ (pdf) is available on the Road Safety Authority's website.

Your first learner permit

You must have a valid driver theory test certificate for motoycycle and moped categories before a first motorcycle learner permit will be granted. The theory test certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of issue. If your learner permit expired at least 5 years ago, then you must pass the theory test again before a learner permit will be issued.

You must do Initial Basic Training (IBT) when you get your first learner permit. You cannot ride a motorcycle on the road unsupervised by your IBT instructor unless have done your IBT and received a certificate of satisfactory completion.

You cannot take a driving test for at least 6 months after getting your first learner permit.

Your third learner permit

You may not apply for a third or subsequent learner permit unless you can provide:

  • Evidence that you have undergone a driving test for a motorbike in the 2-year period prior to your application (a 2-year learner permit will be granted) or
  • Evidence of a forthcoming test date (a 1-year learner permit will be granted)

Rates

Learner permits are valid for 2 years (or in certain circumstances for 1 year only) and since 1 January 2013 the fee is €35.

They are free of charge to those aged 70 or over.

Information on acceptable forms of payment is available on the application form.

Any required eyesight tests or medical examinations are not free of charge.

How to apply

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 or renew a learner permit using the learning permit application form (D201) which is available from NDLS centres, driving test centres, driving theory test centres and Garda stations. You can also download the learner permit application form (pdf) as well as guidance notes (pdf).

Applying for your first learner permit

The completed application form D201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your current or last driving licence and/or learner permit if you have one
  • Your driver theory test certificate
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form. A completed eyesight report form must accompany all first learner permit applications - see below
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required - see below
  • The appropriate fee - see Rates above

Applying for your second learner permit

When applying for your second learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your last learner permit
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required - see below
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form may be required - see below
  • The appropriate fee- see Rates above

Applying for your third or subsequent learner permit

When applying for your third or subsequent learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your last learner permit
  • Evidence of having taken the motorbike driving test in the previous 2 years or evidence of a forthcoming test
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required - see below
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form may be required - see below
  • The appropriate fee - see Rates above

Eyesight report

A completed Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form must accompany all first learner permit applications. An eyesight report is not required where a medical report is provided unless indicated by the doctor.

An eyesight report is required if you no longer need glasses or contact lenses when driving.

You can download the eyesight report form here (pdf). It is also available from NDLS centres. A registered ophthalmic optician or a registered medical practitioner should conduct your eye test. He or she should then complete the form and witness your signed declaration on the form. The report is valid for 1 month.

Medical report

A Driving Licence Medical Report Form is required if:

  • You will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the permit is being issued
  • You have any of certain disabilities or conditions (see application form)

You do not have to provide a medical report if you have previously provided a satisfactory medical report which is still applicable.

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. The report is valid for 1 month.

Proof of identity

The following documents are accepted as proof of your identity:

  • Photographic ID
    - Irish passport
    - Current passport for all non-Irish citizens
    - Current national identity card for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
    - Irish certificate of naturalisation
    - Current UK (photo) driving licence
    - Current Public Services Card
    - Current Irish travel document (issued by INIS)
  • Proof of your residency entitlement
    - Irish/UK long-form birth certificate or adoption certificate
    - Foreign birth registration
    - Irish passport
    - Current passport for all EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
    - Current national identity card for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
    - Irish certificate of naturalisation
    - Current Certificate of Registration (GNIB card) for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
  • Evidence of your PPS Number
    - Public Services Card/Social Services Card
    - Correspondence from Revenue or Social Welfare showing PPSN
    - P21/Tax Assessment/ Notice of tax credits
    - Receipt of social welfare payment
    - Medical card/Drug Payment Scheme (DPS) Card
    - Payslip or P60/P45
  • Proof of address (See Note below)
    - Utility bill from your electricity/phone/gas/cable television/broadband provider
    - Correspondence with an insurance company
    - Statement from your bank/building society/credit union
    - Letter from the Department of Social Protection or Revenue
    - Other official correspondence from an Irish State agency, such as government departments; HSE; Register of Electors/polling card; CAO; Residential Tenancies Board or third-level college/training agency

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.

Where to apply

An application for a learner permit for a motorcycle 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 on applying for a learner permit on its website.

National Driver Licence Service

Road Safety Authority
Moyvalley Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Co. Mayo
Ireland

Tel:0761 08 7880
Homepage: https://www.ndls.ie/
Email: info@ndls.ie

Road Safety Authority

Moy Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Mayo
Ireland

Tel:(096) 25000
Locall:1890 506 080
Fax:(096) 25252
Homepage: http://www.rsa.ie
Email: info@rsa.ie

Page edited: 15 July 2014