Applying for a driving licence

Introduction

When you pass a driving test, you can apply for a driving licence for the category of vehicle which you were tested for. This document explains how to apply for your driving licence after you have passed a driving test. In other documents you will find information on:

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. Asylum seekers can use their temporary residence certificates as proof of normal residence in Ireland when applying for a driving licence or learner permit.

You are required to carry your driving licence with you at all times when driving. You can download and read the rules of the road (pdf) from the Road Safety Authority website.

The Road Safety Authority has responsibility for driver licensing and the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) manages licence applications and renewals. You can apply to renew your licence online or in person at an NDLS office.

NDLS services during COVID-19

NDLS Centres are open by appointment to all customers. There is no walk-in service available. If you have a Public Services Card or MyGovID, you can apply online at ndls.ie.

Restrictions on novice drivers

Novice plates

You must display N-plates on your vehicle when you are driving for 2 years from the date your first licence was issued. Motorcycle riders must wear an N-tabard. The novice period only applies once. So if you get a licence to drive a different category of vehicle, you don't have to display N-plates again. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority website.

Disqualification threshold

If you accumulate 12 penalty points in a 3-year period, you will be disqualified from driving for 6 months. This is reduced to 7 penalty points if you have a learner permit. This lower threshold remains in place while you drive on a learner permit and for the first two years you drive under your first driving licence. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority website.

Drink driving limit

For drivers who have learner permits, or have had a full driving licence for less than 2 years, the drink driving limit is reduced to 20mg per 100ml of blood, 27mg per 100ml of urine and 9mg per 100ml of breath.

Rules

You are entitled to apply for a driving licence if you have passed the driving test for that category of vehicle within the previous 2 years. If the Certificate of Competency you were issued for passing the test is over 2 years old, you will have to pass the driving test again.

Duration of licence

Period of Driving Licence

Licence Categories

10 years Group 1 - Motorcycles, Cars and Tractors
5 years Group 2 - Buses, Trucks and Articulated Vehicles

Your age and medical fitness will determine the duration of licence which can be issued.

Age

Licence Term

Under 65 years Maximum* 10 year licence - Cars and Motorcycles or

Maximum* 5 year licence - Trucks and Buses

65 - 71 years A licence which will expire on the eve of your 75th birthday at the latest. However please note that any group 2 categories (trucks and buses) will be for a maximum of five years which could expire before the driver turns 75.
72 - 74 years 3 year licence
75 or over 3 year licence or 1 year licence (subject to certification of fitness to drive by your doctor)

*A one or three year licence may be issued where, for medical reasons, a longer licence term cannot be granted.

The age in question is your age on the date of application.

Categories of vehicles

Motor vehicles are divided into different categories for driver licensing purposes. You can read more in our document on categories of vehicles and minimum ages of drivers.

Your category of driving licence may give you entitlement to a driving licence for certain other categories of driving licence. See ‘Further information’ below.

Rates

Driving licence rates

Driving licence

Cost

Ten-year driving licence €55
Five-year bus or truck driving licence €55
Three-year driving licence €35
One-year driving licence (medical grounds) Free
Category added €35

Motorists over the age of 70 can get their driving licence for free.

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

There are 2 ways that you can apply for your driving licence: online at NDLS.ie, or in person by booking an appointment at an NDLS centre.

Applying online

To apply for your driving licence online, you will need to have the following:

If you apply online, you do not have to provide your Certificate of Competence (the document that proves that you passed the driving test).

Read more about the online application process on the NDLS website.

Applying in person

You can apply for your driving licence in person by booking an appointment at one of 34 NDLS centres nationwide. There is no walk-in service available.

You will need to bring appropriate:

Unless you wish to make your application in Irish, you are no longer required to submit an application form. However, you do need to prove your identity. Your photograph and signature will be captured at the NDLS centre.

Identification

In most cases, a Public Service Card (PSC) provides all the evidence required to verify your details in order to process your application. However, if you don’t hold a PSC you will need to submit the following 4 pieces of documentary evidence:

  1. Photo ID
  2. Evidence of your address
  3. Evidence of your PPS number
  4. Evidence of your normal residence

You can read more about the types of documents the NDLS will accept as evidence in respect of each of these criteria in their guidance notes (pdf).

Supporting documentation

Additionally, to support your application, you will be required to submit your:

  • Current or most recently issued learner permit, or
  • Current driving licence, if you are adding a category to your driving licence or applying to exchange a foreign licence

Depending on the nature of your application, you may also require a:

Medical report form

You will require a Driving Licence Medical Report Form if you are applying for driving licence categories C, C1, D, D1, CE, C1E, DE or D1E (buses and trucks), unless you previously provided a medical report which is still applicable.

You will not require a Driving Licence Medical Report Form if you are applying for driving licence categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE or W (motorcycles, cars and work vehicles) unless you have a specific disability or condition.

If you are aged 75 or over, you will need a certification of fitness to drive from your doctor to apply for a 3-year or a one-year licence. You can read the medical fitness to drive guidelines (pdf).

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. It must be submitted within 1 month of the medical examination.

Eyesight report form

Generally any eyesight issues will be reported in the Driving Licence Medical Report Form. But, you will require a Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form if you no longer need glasses or contact lenses to drive (for example if you've had laser eye surgery). You can download the eyesight report form (pdf) (pages 1 and 2 should be printed back to back on one page). It is also available from NDLS centres. It must be submitted within 1 month of completion.

Medical fitness guidelines and health information leaflets

You can get medical fitness guidelines and, forms on the NDLS website. There are also health and driving information leaflets. The leaflets have information to help drivers with medical and other conditions.

Where to apply

An application for a driving licence should be made online or 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 driving licence 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

Further information

If you have a driving licence for a particular category, you are entitled to a driving licence for certain other categories as follows:

Categories covered by your driving licence
Licence category Categories covered
AM AM
A1 A1 and AM
A2 A1, A2 and AM
A A, A1, A2 and AM
B B and W
C1 B, C1 and W
C B, C, C1 and W
D1 B, D1 and W
D B, D, D1 and W
BE B, BE and W
C1E B, C1, BE, C1E and W
CE B, C, C1, BE, CE, C1E and W
D1E B, D1, BE, D1E and W
DE B, D, D1, BE, DE, D1E and W
W W

In addition, if you have held a driving licence for category B, C, C1, D, D1, BE, CE, C1E, DE or D1E since before 21 October 2006, you are entitled to a licence for category AM.

Page edited: 3 May 2022