You are required to carry your driving licence with you at all times when driving. 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.
Since 19 January 2013 the Road Safety Authority has responsibility for driver licensing. Since 29 October 2013 the application process has changed and, when applying, you will need to visit one of the new National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres. As part of this face-to-face application process, your photo and your signature will be captured digitally. These will be included in the existing fee. You will have to bring additional documentation to confirm your identity. Further information is available on the NDLS website.
A new plastic card driver licence has been introduced, replacing the paper driving licence and learner permit. Anyone who applies for a licence or learner permit after 12 January 2013 receives the new version. This is an EU initiative to introduce a secure, compact style of licence in all member states. Also, the number of driving licence categories increased and the minimum age requirement for certain categories changed. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority's website.
This document explains the current situation regarding renewing a driving licence in Ireland.
You are entitled to apply to renew your driving licence if:
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.
While you are required to carry your driving licence with you at all times when driving, you are not required by law to change your licence if you change your name or address. However, it is advisable. You are required to show evidence of your licence if requested to by An Garda Siochana, so your licence should contain up-to-date information.
You will have to apply to one of the NDLS centres and you will require supporting documents, such as, an original marriage certificate. See ‘How to apply’ below.
If your current driving licence is lost, stolen, damaged or defaced, you should apply to one of the NDLS centres for a replacement. The replacement licence is a duplicate or exact copy of your original driving licence. You can find out how to replace your current driving licence in our document on replacing a lost or stolen Irish driving licence.
If your lost or stolen driving licence has already expired and is no longer valid, you can only apply for a new driving licence. See 'How to apply' below.
Since 1 January 2013, the cost of driving licences is as follows:
*Five-year bus and/or truck driving licence since 19 January 2013.
Motorists over the age of 70 can get their driving licence renewed for free.
Exchanging a driving licence to show a new name or address is free, but to add a new category is €35.
Information on acceptable forms of payment is available on the application form.
The application form for a driving licence, Form D401, is available from NDLS centres, Driving Test centres, Driving Theory Test centres and Garda Stations. You can also download Form D401 (pdf) as well as guidance notes (pdf)..
You will have to apply in person to one of the NDLS centres. You will not have to provide photographs with your application but you will need to bring additional documents with you in order to confirm you are the person that is applying for the driving licence/learner permit. If you currently have an Irish driving licence/learner permit, you will need to bring the licence/permit and evidence of your PPS Number. If you do not have an Irish driving licence/learner permit, you will need to bring photographic ID, proof of your residency entitlement, evidence of your PPS Number and proof of address. See ‘Proof of identity’ section below.
Your completed application form must include the following:
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.
Since 29 October 2013 an application for a driving licence should be made in person to one of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres.
The Road Safety Authority provides information on driving licences.
The rules of the road are available at rotr.ie.
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.