COVID-19: travel overview

Introduction

Under current public health guidelines, you can travel anywhere in Ireland. International travel for non-essential reasons has resumed. Some driving and transport services have been affected by the pandemic.

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.

Travelling to Ireland during COVID-19

There are certain things you need to do before and after you arrive in Ireland (for example, you must fill in a passenger locator form before you arrive). You can find out what you need to do in our document on travelling to Ireland during COVID-19.

Travelling abroad during COVID-19

From 19 July 2021, you are allowed to travel abroad for non-essential purposes. You can find out more in our document on travelling abroad during COVID-19.

Driver licences

The Government has announced an extension to the expiry dates of full driving licences for those who have not benefited from a previous extension.

The extension will apply to driving licences expiring from 1 July 2021 to 31 October 2021 with 10 months added to the expiry date.

  • If your licence was due to expire on 5 July 2021, you have a new expiry date of 5 May 2022.
  • If your licence was due to expire 5 August 2021, you have a new expiry date of 5 June 2022.
  • If your licence was due to expire on 5 September 2021, you have a new expiry date of 5 July 2022.
  • If your licence was due to expire on 5 October 2021, you have a new expiry date of 5 August 2022.

You can 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.

Driving abroad if your licence has been extended due to COVID-19

If you are travelling abroad on a licence with an extended expiry due to COVID-19, you can request a Driver Statement / Letter of Entitlement from the NDLS. This shows the new expiry date of your driving licence.

You can get one free by phoning the NDLS at 076 1087880 or by emailing info@ndls.ie. Before you travel abroad, always check the requirements of the car hire company in advance.

Learner permits

In response to the disruption to driving services effected by COVID-19, on 24 June 2021, the Government announced a new 10-month extension to the validity period of learner permits. This is in addition to previous extensions granted.

The new extension means that:

  • Permits that expired between 1 March and 30 June 2020 that were previously extended by 8 months will now be extended by a further 10 months, so 18 months in total
  • Permits that expired between 1 July to 31 October 2020 that were previously extended by 4 months will now be extended by a further 10 months, so 14 months in total
  • Permits that expired or will expire between 1 November 2020 and 31 July 2021 will be extended for 10 months

For example, where the date of expiry on your physical learner permit (which can be seen at opposite number 4b on the permit) shows 5 March 2020, your new expiry date is 5 September 2021. Similarly, if your permit had been due to expire on 5 July 2020, your new expiry date is 5 September 2021.

However, if you have already renewed your permit, and it had an expiry date between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2021, the new 10-month extension will not apply, and the expiry date of your permit will be as shown on your new permit.

NDLS Centres are open by appointment to all customers. There is no walk-in service. If you have a Public Services Card or MyGovID, you can apply online at ndls.ie.

Driving tests and the NCT

In line with public health guidance, the driver theory test service is reopening on a gradual basis and is currently contacting customers to reschedule appointments. You can access the latest information on the phased return of driver theory test services on 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.

NCT is deemed an essential service and is open.

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: 19 July 2021