Learner driving permits for trailers

Introduction

To drive on a public road while pulling a trailer weighing more than 750kg when fully loaded, you must by law hold at least a learner driving permit for the appropriate category of vehicle and trailer. 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 trailer. 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 begin to learn to drive while pulling a trailer with a maximum weight greater than 750kg on public roads, you must hold a learner permit for the category of the drawing vehicle plus the trailer you want to drive. A learner permit is usually valid for 2 years.

While driving with a learner permit, you must:

  • Always be accompanied by someone with a current driving licence for the same category of drawing vehicle plus trailer (and they must have had their driving licence for at least 2 years)
  • Always display L plates to the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving. The plate should show a red L on a white background and should be at least 15cm high with a border of at least 2cm.

While driving with a learner permit, you must not:

  • Drive on a motorway
  • Act as an accompanying driver for that category
  • Carry other people for reward or payment

The drink driving limit for drivers with trailers 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.

Trailer categories

The following table shows the categories of vehicles and trailers, with the driver’s minimum age:

Trailer categories
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
BE Vehicles in category B with a trailer of 3,500kg maximum weight 17 years
C1E Goods vehicles in category C1 where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg

Vehicles in category B with a trailer of over 3,500kg and where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg,

18 years
CE Goods vehicles in category C with a trailer (includes articulated trucks) 21 years (18 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)
D1E Passenger vehicles in category D1 with a trailer 21 years
DE Passenger vehicles in category D with a trailer 24 years (21 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)

Your first learner permit

To get your first learner permit for drawing a trailer, you must hold a current full driving licence for the category of the drawing vehicle. For example, to get a first learner permit for category CE you must have a current driving licence for category C.

If your provisional licence or learner permit for drawing a trailer expired 5 or more years ago, then your application will be regarded as applying for a first learner permit.

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.

Rates

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

They 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 can book an appointment online.

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.

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 D201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your current driving licence
  • A driving licence eyesight report form (this must accompany all first-time 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 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 learner permit
  • Evidence of having taken the 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 is usually required for first learner permit applications. However, a separate 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 are applying for learner permit categories CE, C1E, DE or D1E
  • 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 any of certain disabilities or conditions (see the application form)

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 or 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 and 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

Further information

The Road Safety Authority has further advice on towing trailers and also an information guide Road safety advice and driver licensing rules for drawing light trailers (pdf).

Page edited: 2 October 2019