COVID-19: travel overview

Introduction

Ireland is at Level 5, you should not leave your relevant travel area unless you have a reasonable excuse. Your relevant travel area is within your county or 20 km from your home if crossing county boundaries.

There are restrictions on travelling into and out of Ireland. If your travel plans have been disrupted or cancelled, you can get more information about your consumer rights in our document on COVID-19: Travel and your consumer rights. Some driving and transport services have also been affected by the pandemic.

Travelling to Ireland during COVID-19

You should only travel to Ireland if you have an essential reason for doing so. There are certain things you need to do before and after you arrive in Ireland (for example, have proof of a negative RT- PCR test taken within 72 hours before your arrival). You can find out what you need to do in our document on travelling to Ireland during COVID-19.

Travelling abroad during COVID-19

You should only travel outside Ireland (including Northern Ireland) if you have an essential reason for doing so. There are penalties for people who travel for non-essential reasons. You can find out more in our document on travelling abroad during COVID-19.

Driver licences

The Government has announced the following extensions to the expiry dates of all full driving licences:

  • If your licence was due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2020, you have a new expiry date of 1 July 2021.
  • If your licence was due to expire between 1 June 2020 and 31 August 2020, you have 13 months added to your previous expiry date. For example, a licence which expired on 31 August 2020 will have a new expiry date of 30 September 2021.
  • If your licence was due to expire between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021, you have an extra 10 months added to your expiry date. For example, a licence which expires on 30 June 2021 will have a new expiry date of 30 April 2022.

If you are entitled to an extension, you will receive a letter outlining your new expiry date. You can also check the expiry date of your licence on the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) website. You will not get a new licence during the period of your extension, but your driver record will be updated to show that your licence or learner permit is still valid.

You can renew your licence online. You will need a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account. You can renew your licence in person by booking an appointment with the NDLS. You can now apply for a new licence online.

Learner permits

All learner permits that expired between 1 March to 30 June 2020 were automatically extended by 8 months in total.

All learner permits that expired between 1 July to 31 October 2020 were automatically extended by 4 months.

No further extensions apply to learner permits

Read more about licence extensions on the NDLS website.

Driving tests and the NCT

Theory test centres are closed while Level 5 restrictions are in place. Remote testing is now available for certain categories. You can find out more from theorytest.ie.

Driving schools can provide lessons to people who have driving tests booked, but instructors must make sure that they follow public health advice and the return to work safely protocols.

You can apply for a driving test online. However, you should expect delays and tests will be allocated based on application date. If no suitable test dates are available, you can choose to be placed on a waiting list and you will be contacted when a date becomes available. If you provide an essential service or work in an essential retail service, you can request an urgent driving test.

Under Level 5 restrictions, the NCT is deemed an essential service and existing appointments can go ahead.

Motor tax

You can pay your motor tax online. Most counter services in local authority offices have resumed. But you are recommended to use the online service if possible.

Public transport services

Public transport services have been reduced and you should only use public transport for essential journeys. Transport for Ireland has updated public transport information.

You should use your Leap card or TFI card when paying for your trip.

You must wear a face covering when using public transport (including taxis, and in train and bus stations) unless you have a “reasonable excuse”. This does not apply to children under the age of 13.

Page edited: 12 April 2021