Upgrade an Automatic Car Licence to Manual Licence

If your Irish driving licence is restricted to driving cars with an automatic transmission only (denoted by the code 78 appearing on the licence), you can remove this restriction by passing a test in a car with a manual transmission.

Step 1 - Apply for an unrestricted learner permit

You need to obtain a learner permit in the category B without a code 78 restriction – You can apply online if you have a Public Services Card (PSC) and verified MyGovID or alternatively you can book an appointment to attend at an NDLS centre in person with a learner permit application form D201 and fee of €35.00 payable by credit or debit card, Google Pay or Apple Pay.

Step 2 - Book a driving test

Upon receipt of the learner permit, you can book a driving test online.

(Please note if you are driving a manual car you will be regarded as a learner driver, thus all driving licence rules & regulations associated with the holder of a learner permit will apply i.e., “L” plates required, must be accompanied when driving etc). You can continue driving an automatic car if you fail your driving test in a manual car.

Step 3 - Apply for manual full driving licence

Upon successfully passing your driving test, you can then apply for your full manual car licence with the automatic restriction (code 78) removed. You can apply online if you have a Public Services Card (PSC) and verified MyGovID or alternatively you can book an appointment to attend at an NDLS centre in person with a full driving licence application form – D401 and fee of €35.00 payable by credit or debit card, Google Pay or Apple Pay).

(The display of “N” plates will not be required if you have held the automatic category on a driving licence for over 2 years)

Hold a driving licence for Group 2 categories (bus/truck) or car and trailer with automatic transmission

If you hold a manual driving licence for category B and also hold a driving licence for categories BE, C, CE, C1, C1E, D, DE, D1 or D1E with automatic transmission code 78 applied to them since 30 November 2013, this code will be removed electronically from your driving licence record. This change will also apply to licences exchanged where the driver holds a manual category B driving licence and holds a driving licence for the above categories with an automatic transmission code 78 applied to them since 30 November 2013.

From 01 November 2020 you can apply for a replacement driving licence without this restriction for any of those categories issued at a cost of €35 payable only by credit/debit card, Google Pay/Apple Pay. In order to do this, you must book an appointment here to attend any National Driver Licence Service. Alternatively, you can wait until your driving licence is due for renewal and it will be issued to you without this restriction where applicable. You can only renew your licence within three months of the expiry date. To find the earliest renewal date of your driving licence check the expiry calculator here.

From 01 November 2020, if you hold a manual driving licence in category B and provide a certificate of competency in a vehicle with automatic transmission in categories BE, C, CE, C1, C1E, D, DE, D1 or D1E, this certificate can be regarded as a certificate of competency in a manual vehicle and the driving licence will be issued without the restriction.

Please note:

  • A theory test is not required.
  • You do not have to wait 6 months before being able sit the practical driving test
  • You do not have to undertake EDT (Essential Driver Training).