Driving and transport during COVID-19

Introduction

This document has information about how driving licencing, testing and NCT services are operating while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

It also has information about public transport services.

For information about traveling to or from Ireland, you can read our documents:

Where can I drive to?

In general, you should stay at home to try to prevent the spread of the virus. You may leave your house for the following purposes:

  • To exercise within 5 kilometres of your home
  • To go to work, if you cannot work from home and your workplace is open
  • To shop for essential items
  • To attend medical appointments and collect medicines
  • To provide care to someone who needs it
  • To meet with friends or family outdoors in groups of no more than 4 people and within 5 kilometres of your home

Golf courses and other outdoor sports facilities have reopened, and you may drive to these locations provided that they are within 5 kilometres of your home.

Garda checkpoints have been active during the restrictions, and you must follow the direction of a Garda if they tell you to return to your home. If you are driving for one of the allowed purposes listed above, you should carry some proof of where you are going where possible.

During phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, you will be allowed to drive to within 20 kilometres of your home. Phase 2 is planned to begin on 8 June 2020.

You can read more about:

Driving licences and learner permits

All National Driving Licence Service (NDLS) services are currently suspended until further notice. This means that you cannot currently apply for a new driving licence or learner permit.

If you have a driving licence or learner permit that is due to expire between 1 March and 30 June 2020, your licence is automatically renewed for a further 4 months. This applies to all categories of licence.

You will not receive a new licence during this time, but your driver record will be updated to show that you licence or learner permit is still valid.

If your licence or learner permit expired before 1 March 2020, you can renew your licence online. You will need a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account to apply online. You cannot renew your licence or learner permit online if:

  • You hold a bus or truck category on your licence
  • You are over 70
  • You are applying for your third or subsequent leaner permit
  • You have a medical condition that requires a medical report (see the driving licence form (pdf) for a list of applicable medical conditions)

What about penalty points?

The licence extension period is treated the same as any other period where you hold a valid licence or learner permit. This means that penalty points or disqualifications that you might have on your licence record will continue to count down to their expiry date during this period.

The Road Safety Authority has a list of frequently asked questions (pdf) about the extension of licences and learner permits.

Learning to drive and driving tests

To learn to drive, you will need a learner permit. You can apply for a learner permit after you have successfully completed the driver theory test.

Driver theory tests are currently suspended for everyone except for candidates who qualify for emergency testing appointments. This includes drivers from:

  • Ambulance Service
  • Fire Service
  • Civil Defence
  • Medical professionals
  • Critical supply chain HGV drivers

For emergency testing appointments, you should email emergencytheorytest@prometric.com.

Unless you are in one of the above categories, you will not be able to take driving lessons until further notice.

Driving tests are also not currently taking place. The only exception is for people who work with the emergency services who wish to take a test to drive a bus or truck.

If you have already passed your theory test or driving test, or initial basic training for motorcyclists, the following documents have been extended for 4 months:

  • Certificates of competency received on passing a driving test
  • Driver theory test certificates
  • Motorcycle initial basic training certificates

This applies to documents that expired or are due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

The Road Safety Authority has a list of frequently asked questions (pdf) about the suspension of driving tests.

National Cart Test (NCT) and Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test (CVRT)

NCTs are currently suspended. If you are due to submit your vehicle for an NCT from 28 March 2020, your due date has been extended by 4 months. You will not receive a new NCT certificate during this time.

If your NCT was due before 28 March 2020 and you did not submit your vehicle on time, or failed your test and were due to resubmit your vehicle, this extension does not apply to you. You should carry any booking you may have made before 28 March to show a Garda on request.

If you could not complete your test before 28 March because the test centre could not examine the underside of your vehicle, you should carry the notification that your test was incomplete with you to show a Garda on request.

CVRTs have resumed since 18 March for commercial vehicles with a due date before 28 March 2020. If your vehicle’s due date is after 28 March 2020, your CVRT test date is automatically extended by 3 months.

Vehicle registration inspections

Vehicle registration inspections are currently suspended. You will not be charged a late registration penalty if:

  • You had an appointment scheduled during the time when centres are closed or
  • Cannot get an appointment and go over the 30 day registration period

You can read a frequently asked questions about the suspension on the NCTS website.

Motor tax and motor insurance

You can pay your motor tax online. Counter services in local authority offices are not running until further notice.

A number of insurance companies have announced that they will give customers reliefs on their premiums to reflect the reduction in the number of claims during the COVID-19 emergency period.

You should check your own insurer’s website for details on how it will provide the relief (for example by a refund or discount).

Public transport

Public transport services have been reduced and you should only use public transport for essential journeys. Transport for Ireland has updated public transport information.

If you have to use public transport, you should wear a face covering.

You should use your Leap card or TFI card when paying for your trip.

Taxsaver tickets

The National Transport Authority has announced that it is developing a scheme, along with transport operators, to offer:

  • Refunds to Taxsaver ticket holders who have lost their jobs and
  • Extra months-in-lieu on tickets for ticket holders who return to work

The refunds will cover the period since travel restrictions were put in place. Ticket holders who return to work when restrictions are lifted will be offered extra months on their tickets to compensate for the months of payments made while restrictions were in place.

Page edited: 22 May 2020