Applying for a driving licence
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:
- Learning to drive
- Renewing your driving licence
- Updating your driving licence or learner permit
- Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged driving licence or learner permit
- Converting your driving licence to an Irish driving licence
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.
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
Restrictions on novice drivers
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.
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.
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
The period of time a driving licence is issued for depends on the age of the applicant.
- If you are under 60 years of age, you may apply for a 10-year licence or a 3-year (on medical grounds)
- If you are older than 60 but younger than 67 years of age, you may apply for a licence that will expire the day before your 70th birthday
- If you are older than 67 but under 70 years of age, you may apply for a 3-year licence
- If you are over the age of 70, you will need a certification of fitness to drive from your doctor to apply for a 3-year or a one-year licence
A bus or truck driving licence is issued for a maximum of 5 years.
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.
The cost of driving licences is:
- 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
Adding a new category to your current driving licence costs €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
To apply for your driving licence online, you will need to have the following:
- A Public Services Card and verified MyGovID
- Proof of your address if your address is different to the one you provided when you got your Public Services Card
- Proof that you are normally resident in Ireland if you are not an EU or EEA citizen
- A medical report form if required
- Application fee of €55 (unless you are 70 or over)
- Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for professional drivers
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 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.
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:
- Photo ID
- Evidence of your address
- Evidence of your PPS number
- 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).
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:
- Driving Licence Medical Report Form (see below)
- Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form (see below)
- Completed Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) (for professional drivers)
- Initial Basic Training Certificate of Satisfactory Completion (for motorcyclists)
- Completed Garda Declaration form (when applying to replace a lost, stolen or damaged licence)
- Evidence of new address (if your address has changed since your last application)
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.
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 formGenerally 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.
Where to apply
The National Driver Licence Service provides information on applying for a driving licence on its website.
If you have a driving licence for a particular category, you are entitled to a driving licence for certain other categories as follows:
|Licence category||Categories covered|
|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|
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.