Foreign driving licences in Ireland

Introduction

You can exchange a driving licence issued by an EU member state or an EEA member state (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) for an Irish driving licence.

You can also exchange a driving licence issued by certain recognised states for an Irish driving licence. See ‘Recognised states below’.

You can exchange your Ukrainian licence for an Irish licence, if you have permission to stay in Ireland under the Temporary Protection Directive. You can read more in our page on coming to Ireland from Ukraine.

If your driving licence was issued by a country that is not recognised for driving licence exchange, you cannot exchange your licence for an Irish licence. You will need to go through the full driver licensing procedure starting with the driver theory test. However, when you have your learner permit, you will only need to take 6 essential driver training (EDT) lessons instead of the usual 12 lessons.

Recognised states

You can exchange your licence if it was issued by an EU or EEA country. If you wish to exchange your EU or EEA licence, you must do so within 10 years of its expiry date. You can also exchange a UK licence.

If it was issued by a country that is outside the EU or EEA, you can apply to exchange it for an Irish licence if your licence was issued by:

  • Australia
  • Canada (but not from all provinces – see note below)
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • South Africa
  • Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  • Switzerland
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • UK

Note: You can exchange a Canadian licence that was issued by the following provinces:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan

Not all categories of licence can be exchanged in every case. You can read more about the specific exchange rules governing each country and territory listed above on the NDLS website.

You must exchange your licence within 1 year of its expiration date.

Licences that were previously exchanged

If your original licence was issued in a non-recognised country, and you exchanged it for a licence in a recognised country, you cannot exchange your licence for an Irish licence.

Driving on a foreign licence in Ireland

If you have a driving licence issued by an EU or EEA member state you can drive in Ireland as long as your existing licence is valid. If you wish to exchange your driving licence for an equivalent Irish driving licence when it expires, you must do so within 10 years of your driving licence expiring.

UK licences

If you hold a UK driving licence, you can drive in Ireland if you live in the UK and are visiting Ireland. You are no longer able to drive on your UK licence if you live in Ireland. You can still exchange it for an Irish licence provided the licence is valid or is not expired for more than 1 year. You will continue to be licensed during the exchange process. The National Driver Licence Service will give you a receipt to confirm you are exchanging a licence. The NDLS has published a useful FAQ document on Brexit and driving licences.

Recognised states

If your licence was issued by one of the countries or territories listed in ‘recognised states’ above, you can drive in Ireland for up to 1 year when visiting, providing your licence is valid.

If you become normally resident in Ireland, you should exchange your driving licence or begin the process of applying for an Irish driving licence. 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.

Ukrainian licence

If you have permission to stay in Ireland under the Temporary Protection Directive, you can exchange your Ukrainian licence for an Irish licence. The new licence is valid for 12 months and applies to cars only. You must apply in person to exchange your licence in any National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centre. Book an appointment online to attend an NDLS centre. You can read more in our page on coming to Ireland from Ukraine.

Other licenses

If your licence was issued in a country that is not in the EU, EEA or the list of recognised states, and you hold a national driving licence and an international driving permit from your own country, you may drive in Ireland for the duration of your temporary visit (up to 12 months).

If your stay in Ireland will be more than 12 months, you can apply for an Irish driving licence but you will need to go through the full driver licensing procedure. You can read what you need to do in our document on Learning to drive in Ireland.

You can only exchange a full driving licence. Foreign learner permits cannot be used to drive in Ireland or be exchanged for an Irish learner permit.

Rates

The fee for exchanging a foreign driving permit for an Irish driving licence is €55.

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

How to exchange your licence

You can apply to exchange your licence online or in person at a National Driving Licencing Service (NDLS) centre.

If your driving licence is lost or expired, you need a letter of entitlement from the licensing authority in the state that issued your licence. If this in a language other than English, you have to provide a certified translation.

You may need to include a medical report with your application. The NDLS has information on when a medical report is needed.

Applying online

You can apply to exchange your licence online. You will need the following:

You will have to send your licence to the NDLS when you have completed the online form.

Applying in person

You can apply in person to one of the of the NDLS centres. You must make an appointment. You should bring the following with you to your appointment:

If you have permission to stay in Ireland under the Temporary Protection Directive and you are exchanging your Ukrainian licence for an Irish licence, read our page on coming to Ireland from Ukraine. This will tell you what documents you need to bring with you.

Further information and contacts

The National Driver Licence Service provides information for holders of foreign driving licences on its website.

National Driver Licence Service

Road Safety Authority

Po Box 858
Southside Delivery Office
Cork
Ireland

Opening Hours: Lines open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm (excluding Public Holidays) and Saturdays 9am – 1pm.
Tel: 0818 700 800

Road Safety Authority (RSA)

Moy Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Co Mayo
Ireland

Page edited: 25 April 2022