Learner driving permits for motorcycles

Introduction

To drive a motorcycle on a public road, you must hold at least a learner driving permit for the appropriate category of motorcycle. 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 motorcycle. In other documents you will find information on:

To apply for a learner 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 learn to drive on public roads in Ireland, you must hold a learner permit that covers the category of motorcycle you want to drive. A learner permit to drive a motorcycle is usually valid for 2 years.

It is a criminal offence for learner motorcyclists not to display L plates. The L plates for a motorcyclist are displayed on a yellow fluorescent hi-viz tabard (a bib or sleeveless top with open side-seams). The letter L must be in red, measure at least 15cm in height on a white background, and be visible on the front and back of your body.

Motorcycle drivers with a learner permit must not:

  • Carry pillion passengers (passengers on the back of their motorcycle)
  • Drive on a motorway

The drink driving limit for motorcyclists with learner permits and those in their first two years on a full driving licence is 20mg per 100ml of blood. Further information on drink driving limits is available from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

Motorcyclists will be disqualified from driving after receiving a certain number of penalty points. This figure is 7 penalty points for people who have obtained their first learner permit since 1 August 2014. It remains at 7 penalty points for people with a learner permit and for the first two years after receiving their first driving licence. After this, it increases to 12 penalty points. Further information is available from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

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

Motorcycle categories

The following table shows the categories of motorcycles, with the driver’s minimum age:

Motorcycle and moped categories
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
AM Mopeds and tricycles with a maximum speed of 45kph and light quadricycles 16 years
A1

Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) of 11kW or less and 125cc or less, with a maximum power/weight ratio of 0.1 kW/kg, and motor tricycles of 15 kW or less

16 years
A2 Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) of 35kW or less, with a maximum power/weight ratio of 0.2 kW/kg, and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power 18 years
A Motorcycles (with or without a sidecar) and motor tricycles 24 years (20 years via progressive access, see below)

Getting a full driving licence

If you are old enough, the usual steps to get a full motorcycle driving licence are:

  1. Pass the motorcycle/moped theory test
  2. Get a learner permit for the category you wish to get a full licence for
  3. Complete all the appropriate Initial Basic Training (IBT) modules on the appropriate type of motorcycle
  4. After a minimum of six months on the appropriate motorcycle, pass the motorcycle driving test.

The exception to this procedure is ‘progressive access’.

What is progressive access?

If you have already held a category A1 or A2 full driving licence for at least two years, it is possible to get a full licence for category A2 or A respectively through what is called progressive access, without going through all the steps listed above.

Providing you have already completed IBT training for your existing licence, the steps you follow are:

  1. Get a learner permit for the category you want a full licence for
  2. Complete the IBT progression module on the appropriate type of motorcycle

You may also have to do a motorcycle driving test if you did not pass the test for your existing licence. It is possible to get a category A learner permit at age 20 under progressive access.

The RSA website has information on the process for obtaining a motorcycle licence (pdf). You can also download a related motorcycle FAQ (pdf).

Your first learner permit

Before a first motorcycle learner permit is granted, you must have a valid driver theory test certificate. This must cover motorcycle and moped categories. The theory test certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of issue. If your learner permit expired more than five years ago, then you must pass the theory test again before getting a learner permit.

When you get your first learner permit, you must also do Initial Basic Training (IBT). You cannot ride a motorcycle on the road unsupervised by your IBT instructor unless you have received a certificate of satisfactory completion.

You must wait at least six months after getting your first learner permit before you take a driving test.

Your third learner permit

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

  • Evidence that you have taken a motorcycle driving test in the 2-year period before your 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)

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 additional documents with you to confirm you are the person who is applying for the driving licence. See ‘Proof of identity’ below.

If you have an Irish learner permit or an Irish driving licence, you need to bring:

  • Evidence of your PPS number
  • Proof of address

If you do not have an Irish learner permit or an Irish driving licence, you need to bring:

  • Photographic ID
  • Proof of your residency entitlement
  • Evidence of your PPS number
  • Proof of address

For more details, see ‘Proof of identity’ below.

You apply for or renew a learner permit using the learning permit application form (D.201). It 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 D201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your current or last driving licence (or learner permit) if you have one
  • Your driver theory test certificate
  • A driving licence eyesight report form. A completed eyesight report form must accompany all first learner permit applications – see below
  • A driving licence medical report form if required – 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 last learner permit
  • A driving licence medical report form if required – see below
  • A driving licence eyesight 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 last learner permit
  • Evidence of having taken the motorcycle driving test in the previous 2 years or evidence of a forthcoming test
  • A driving licence medical report form if required – see below
  • A driving licence eyesight report form if required – see below
  • The appropriate fee – see 'Rates' above

Eyesight report

A completed driving licence eyesight report form must accompany all first learner permit applications. An eyesight report is only required in addition to a medical report if indicated by the doctor. An eyesight report is 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 will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the permit is being issued
  • You have certain disabilities or conditions (see the application form for details)

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:

  • Photographic ID

    - Irish passport

    - Current passport for all non-Irish citizens

    - Current national identity card for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

    - Irish certificate of naturalisation

    - Current UK (photo) driving licence

    - Current Public Services Card

    - Current Irish travel document (issued by INIS)

  • Proof of your residency entitlement

    - Irish/UK long-form birth certificate or adoption certificate

    - Foreign birth registration

    - Irish passport

    - Current passport for all EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

    - Current national identity card for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

    - Irish certificate of naturalisation

    - Current Certificate of Registration (GNIB card) for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

  • 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 Drugs 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 must be no more than six months old. Mobile phone bills and statements from store cards or catalogue companies are not accepted.

Where to apply

An application for a learner permit for a motorcycle should be made in person 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.

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: 31 May 2019