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 vehicle and trailer if you want to drive while pulling a trailer weighing more than 750kg when fully loaded, in a public place. You are required to carry your learner permit with you at all times when driving.
This document explains how to apply for or renew a learner permit for a trailer. 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.
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.
Before you begin to learn to drive while pulling a trailer with a maximum weight greater than 750kg on public roads, you must hold a learner permit for the category of drawing vehicle plus trailer you wish to drive. A learner permit is usually valid for 2 years.
While driving with a learner permit, you must be accompanied at all times by, and be under the supervision of, someone with a current driving licence for the same category of drawing vehicle plus trailer. Also, the person accompanying you must have had the driving licence for at least 2 years.
If you hold a learner permit for a vehicle and trailer category, you are not allowed to drive on a motorway, act as an accompanying driver for that category or carry other people for reward.
Learner permit holders must display L-plates to the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving at all times. The plate should be a red ‘L’ on a white background and should not be less than 15cm high with a border of at least 2cm.
Since October 2011 the drink driving limit for drivers with trailers with learner permits or full driving licences is reduced to 20mg/100ml of blood. Information on other proposed measures to protect learner and inexperienced drivers is available on the Road Safety Authority's website.
Since 19 January 2013 the categories and minimum age of the driver that apply to a driver pulling a trailer, which has a maximum weight greater than 750kg when fully loaded, are as follows:
|Category||Vehicle type||Minimum age of driver|
|BE||Vehicles in category B with a trailer of 3,500kg maximum weight||17 years|
|C1E||Goods vehicles in category C1 where the
combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more
Vehicles in category B with a trailer of over 3,500kg and where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg,
|CE||Goods vehicles in category C with a trailer (includes articulated trucks)||21 years (18 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)|
|D1E||Passenger vehicles in category D1 with a trailer||21 years|
|DE||Passenger vehicles in category D with a trailer||24 years (21 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)|
Before 19 January 2013 the categories and minimum age of the driver that apply to a driver pulling a trailer were as follows:
|Category||Vehicle type||Minimum age of driver|
|EB||Vehicles in category B with a trailer||17 years|
|EC1||Goods vehicles in category C1 where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg, and the fully loaded trailer is not heavier than the empty goods vehicle||18 years|
|EC||Goods vehicles in category C with a trailer (includes articulated trucks)||18 years|
|ED1||Passenger vehicles in category D1 where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg, and the fully loaded trailer is not heavier than the empty passenger vehicle||21years|
|ED||Passenger vehicles in category D with a trailer||21 years|
Further information on the changes is available in a bus and truck FAQ (pdf) on the Road Safety Authority's website.
To obtain a first learner permit for drawing a trailer you must hold a current full driving licence for the category of the drawing vehicle. For example, to get a first learner permit for category CE you must have a current driving licence for category C.
If your provisional licence or learner permit for drawing a trailer expired 5 years ago, then your application will be regarded as applying for a first learner permit.
You may not apply for a third or subsequent learner permit unless you can provide:
Learner permits are valid for 2 years (or 1 year in certain circumstances) and since 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.
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 evidence of your PPS Number and proof of address with you in order to confirm you are the person who is applying for the driving licence. 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).
The completed application form D201 should be accompanied by:
When applying for your second learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:
When applying for your third or subsequent learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:
A completed Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form is usually required for first learner permit applications. However, 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.
A Driving Licence Medical Report Form is required if:
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.
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 learner permit on its website.
A list of approved instructors is available on the Road Safety Authority's Approved Driving Instructor website.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.