Learner driving permits for buses and trucks

Introduction

To drive a bus or truck on a public road, you must by law have at least a learner driving permit for the appropriate category of vehicle. The learner permit was previously known as a provisional licence. You must have your learner permit with you whenever you are driving.

This document explains how to apply for or renew a learner permit for a bus or truck. In other documents you will find information on:

To apply for a learner driving permit, you must be normally resident in Ireland. This means that you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year (because of personal and occupational ties)..

Rules

Before you begin to learn to drive on public roads in Ireland, you must hold a learner permit covering the category of bus or truck you wish to drive. This learner permit is usually valid for 2 years.

Bus and truck drivers with a learner permit must:

  • Always be accompanied and under the supervision of someone with a current driving licence, for the same type of vehicle (and they must have had it for at least 2 years).
  • Always display L plates to the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving. The plate should show a red L on a white background and should not be less than 15cm high with a border of at least 2cm.

Bus and truck drivers with a learner permit must not:

  • Drive while pulling a trailer
  • Drive on a motorway
  • Act as an accompanying driver
  • Carry other people for reward or payment

The drink driving limit for drivers of buses and trucks with learner permits or full driving licences is 20mg per 100ml of blood. Further information on drink driving limits is available from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The rules of the road are available at rulesoftheroad.ie.

Bus and truck categories

The following table shows the categories for buses and trucks, with the driver’s minimum age:

Bus and truck categories
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
C1 Goods vehicles between 3,500kg and 7,500kg 18 years
C Goods vehicles over 3,500kg 21 years (18 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)
D1 Passenger vehicles with accommodation for more than 8 and a maximum of 16 people 21 years
D Passenger vehicles with accommodation for more than 8 people 24 years (21 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)

Further information is available in a bus and truck FAQ (pdf) on the Road Safety Authority's website.

Your first learner permit

To get your first learner permit to drive a bus or a truck, you must have a driving licence for a car (category B) and a valid driver theory test certificate for:

  • Category C if you want to drive a truck
  • Category D if you want to drive a bus

If your learner permit expired five or more years ago, you must pass the theory test again before a new learner permit will be issued.

Your third learner permit

To apply for a third or subsequent learner permit, you must provide:

  • Evidence that you have taken a driving test in the 2-year period before the application (and then a 2-year learner permit will be granted)

Or

  • Evidence of a forthcoming test date (and then a 1-year learner permit will be granted)

If you cannot provide this, you cannot apply for a learner permit.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

You need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to be a professional truck or bus driver.

To get a Driver CPC, you first have to pass the driver theory test and get your learner driver permit.

You must then pass all of the following:

  • A Driver CPC multiple-choice theory test
  • A Driver CPC case-study theory test
  • The driving test
  • A Driver CPC practical test

To keep your Driver CPC, you have to take seven hours’ training each year.

The Road Safety Authority's website provides information on the Driver CPC.

Rates

Learner permits cost €35, and are valid for 2 years (or 1 year in certain circumstances).

Learner permits are free of charge to people aged 70 or over.

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

You have to apply in person to one of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres around the country.

You do not have to provide photographs with your application, but you do need to bring evidence to confirm you are the person who is applying for the driving licence. See ‘Proof of identity’ below.

You apply for or renew a learner permit using the learning permit application form (D.201) which is available from NDLS centres, driving test centres, driving theory test centres and Garda stations. You can also download the learner permit application form (pdf) as well as guidance notes (pdf).

Applying for your first learner permit

The completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your current driving licence for a car (category B)
  • Your driver theory test certificate
  • A driving licence eyesight report form if required – see below
  • A driving licence medical report form – see below
  • The appropriate fee – see ‘Rates’ above

Applying for your second learner permit

When applying for your second learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your learner permit
  • A driving licence eyesight report form if required – see below
  • A driving licence medical report form if required – see below
  • The appropriate fee – see ‘Rates’ above

Applying for your third or subsequent learner permit

When applying for your third or subsequent learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your learner permit
  • Evidence of having taken the driving test in the previous 2 years or evidence of a forthcoming test
  • A driving licence eyesight report form if required – see below
  • A driving licence medical report form if required – see below
  • The appropriate fee – see ‘Rates’ above

Eyesight report

A completed driving licence eyesight report form is usually required for first time learner permit applications. An eyesight report is also required if you no longer need glasses or contact lenses when driving.

You can download the eyesight report form (pdf). It is also available from NDLS centres.

A registered ophthalmic optician or a registered medical practitioner should conduct your eye test, complete the form and witness your signed declaration on the form. The report is valid for 1 month.

Medical report

A driving licence medical report form is required if you are applying for a bus or truck learner permit. You do not have to provide a medical report if you have previously provided a satisfactory medical report which is still applicable.

You can download the medical report form (pdf). Please note that 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. The report is valid for 1 month.

Proof of identity

The following documents are accepted as proof of your identity:

  • Evidence of your PPS number

    - Public Services Card/Social Services Card

    - Correspondence from Revenue or the Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP) showing your PPS number

    - P21/tax assessment/notice of tax credits

    - Receipt from a social welfare payment

    - Medical card or Drug Payment Scheme (DPS) Card

    - Payslip or P60/P45

  • Proof of address (See note below)

    - Utility bill from your electricity/phone/gas/cable television/broadband provider

    - Letter from an insurance company

    - Statement from your bank/building society/credit union

    - Correspondence from Revenue or the Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP)

    - Other official correspondence from an Irish State agency, such as government departments, HSE, Register of Electors/polling card, CAO, Residential Tenancies Board, third-level college, or a training agency.

Note: Proof-of-address documents can be no more than six months old. Mobile phone bills and statements from store cards or catalogue companies are not accepted.

Where to apply

You must apply in person for a learner permit to one of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres. See ‘How to apply’ above. You can book an appointment online.

The NDLS website provides information on applying for a learner permit.

The Road Safety Authority website has a list of approved driving instructors.

National Driver Licence Service

Road Safety Authority

Po Box 858
Southside Delivery Office
Cork
Ireland

Tel: 0761 08 7880

Road Safety Authority (RSA)

Moy Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Co Mayo
Ireland

Tel: 096 25000
Locall: 1890 506 080
Fax: 096 25252
Page edited: 30 May 2019