What is the National Driver Licence Service or NDLS?

NDLS, or National Driver Licence Service, is the name given to the dedicated service which receives applications for learner permits and driver licences. There are 36 dedicated NDLS centres throughout the country and customers can visit any one of the centres to apply for, replace or renew their learner permit or licence.

When can I apply to renew my licence?

You can apply to renew your licence up to three months before it expires at any NDLS centre in the country.

Is there an application form?

Yes, both the learner permit and full licence forms have been revised. These are available online to download from here and are available in NDLS Centres, Driver Theory Test Centres, Driving Test Centres and Garda Stations.

Where can I get an application form for a driving licence / learner permit?

You can download an application form from here or collect one from your local NDLS centre, Garda Station, Driving Test Centre or Driver Theory Test Centre. You must ensure you select the correct form, that all information is complete and accurate (date of birth, full name, etc) and that the form is signed by yourself before bringing it to the NDLS centre. You must also ensure that you bring the required accompanying documentation, failure to do so will result in your application not being processed – more information is available on ndls.ie or on the guidance notes accompanying the driving licence and learner permit application forms.

Once I’ve applied how long will it take to get my new licence / learner permit?

As long as there are no errors or omissions in your application, your licence will be posted out to you after you have made your application and should be received within 5 to 8 working days.

Where can I find my nearest National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centre?

You can view a map of locations to find your nearest NDLS centre. You can also download the handy new App for smart phones which will show the nearest centre to your current location. Remember, you are no longer restricted to applying for a licence or learner permit in your local area only. You can now apply for a licence at any NDLS centre in the country.

How many National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres are there?

There are 36 NDLS centres nationwide. The locations of the centres were chosen to ensure that 95% of the population is serviced within a 50km radius of a centre. Two counties, Galway and Mayo, will have an additional part-time NDLS centre that will visit another venue within that county.

What are the opening hours of National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres?

The centres are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays. Last applications are accepted 15 minutes prior to the advertised closing time. You can book your appointment to visit an NDLS centre at ndls.ie

How do I contact my local NDLS Centre?

You can call into any of the 36 full time and two part time NDLS centres around the country for advice and assistance but you may experience a delay if the centre is particularly busy. You can also email your query to info@ndls.ie or visit here to find the answer to your query.

How long will it take to complete the ‘face-to-face’ security checks when I visit the NDLS centre?

  Because the NDLS centre is dedicated to taking applications for a learner permit or driver licence, the application process should not take any more than 15 minutes once you are seen by a Customer Service Agent.

Can I apply for a learner permit / driving licence online?

No. Not at present. It is envisaged that this service will become available in 2015 following the face-to-face identity validation. However, the learner permit and driving licence application forms are available to download from here.

Can I use my plastic card licence or learner permit as an organ donation card?

Yes. For the first time, application forms for the driving licence and learner permit allow applicants the option of having the code ‘115’ on their licence or learner permit to signify that they are willing to be an organ donor.

Why is there no NDLS centre in my town?

The locations of the NDLS centres ensure that 95% of the population is within 50 kilometres of a centre. One of the features of the new service is that customers can now go to any NDLS centre in the country, not just the centre in their own county as was previously the case. So customers can visit an NDLS centre as part of another journey, for example, on the way home from college, doing the weekly shopping or visiting family in another county. Remember you can renew your licence up to three months before its expiry date and you can book an appointment to visit an NDLS centre online at ndls.ie. For information on the NDLS centre locations please click here.

I want to exchange my foreign licence for an Irish licence – can you tell me if I can do this?

All countries in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) – EU plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland – benefit from a 'mutual recognition' agreement in respect of driving licences. EU/EEA licence holders who are resident in Ireland may apply for an IDP here. Ireland has agreements with certain other countries/states that designates them as recognised states for the purposes of driving licence exchange. These are:

  • Australia
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • Ontario State in Canada
  • Manitoba State in Canada

Under the Road Traffic (Recognition of Foreign Driving Licences - New Zealand and Taiwan) Order 2010 (SI 402/2010 ) New Zealand and Taiwan were added to the list of recognised states but with certain qualifications. Motorcycle & Car are the only categories recognised for exchange between Ireland & New Zealand & Ireland & Taiwan.

I want to exchange my foreign licence for an Irish licence – can you tell me how long it will take?

  It can take two to three months to process a foreign licence exchange. This is because we need to contact the licensing authority in the country the foreign licence was originally produced.

I want to exchange my foreign licence for an Irish licence – What do I have to bring with me?

If you are applying for an Exchange of your Driving Licence you will need to supply documents to verify your identity, such as:

  • photographic ID
  • proof of residency entitlement
  • evidence of address
  • evidence of your PPS number
  • Foreign Driving Licence -  if the foreign licence is expired/lost/stolen/damaged an Original Letter of Entitlement is required (photocopies,faxes or emails are not acceptable) and Qn. 16 of the application form completed.
  • Medical/Eyesight report (if applicable)

Who manages the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS)?

The Road Safety Authority was tasked by the Government to manage the processing and production of driving licences in Ireland.

How do I know what category I’m entitled to drive under?

You can find out the list of categories you can be licenced to drive under here

Please study this carefully and ensure you mark the correct category you are applying for, and that your theory test covers this category also.

What does my doctor / optometrist need to do?

If you need a medical form (D501) or an eyesight form (D502), then your doctor or optometrist needs to fill in and sign this form appropriately. It is up to you to ensure the form is completed and signed in full, so ensure you check the form is fully completed with your doctor or optometrist before submitting.

Do I need a driving licence to operate a motorised scooter?

Powered vehicles such as a golf buggy, a quad bike, a ride-on lawn mower etc, etc are designed and intended for off-road private use only. These are mechanically propelled vehicles and if used on a public road (public road includes footpath) are subject to all of the regulatory controls that apply to other vehicles. These vehicles would have to be registered, taxed, be subject to vehicle lighting requirements and subject to vehicle construction, equipment and use regulations as regards brakes etc. The driver of the vehicle would have to hold a driving licence and be insured to drive that vehicle. Essentially these vehicles would be subject to all of the road traffic law provisions that apply to mechanically propelled vehicles generally.

An exception is made in the case of powered wheelchairs that are used by persons who have a mobility disability. Powered wheelchairs (including mobility scooters) are regarded for all intents and purposes as having pedestrian status and as being 'the legs' of the wheelchair user and are not regarded as an optional mode of vehicle transport that requires driver licence, registration, motor tax, etc. No distinction is made between self-propelled wheelchairs and powered wheelchairs. Powered wheelchairs can be used on footpaths (it is a penalty point offence for any other mechanically propelled vehicle to drive along a footpath), can enter pedestrianised streets and cycle tracks, can enter buildings etc in the same manner as pedestrians. Wheelchair or mobility scooter users are in special circumstances as regards essential personal mobility needs arising from a disability and, as already stated, the wheelchair is therefore regarded as an extension of the person rather than as a mode of transport vehicle.

No prohibitions on access apply to non-motorway public roads to the users of powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters, similar to those applying to walkers, joggers, cyclists, persons riding horses or droving animals etc, however under Section 97 of the Roads Act of 1992, it is the duty of care of a person using a public road to take reasonable care of his/her own safety and for that of any other person using the public road. Specifically road users must take all reasonable measures to avoid injury to themselves other to any other person using the public road or damage to property owned or used by them or any other person using the public road.

Therefore wheelchair users (again this includes those using powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters) should face oncoming traffic in the same manner as if there were being pushed by an adult, they should also use a footpath or hard shoulder where possible at all times and cross the road at pedestrian crossings, traffic lights or at a location that gives them the best view of any approaching traffic.

Hi Visibility vests or other forms to improve conspicuity, should also be worn at all times by the user or person pushing a wheelchair etc.

Where can I find my driver number on my licence?

Your driver number is a 9 digit number that stays with the licence holder throughout their driving history. It appears in black in field 5 of your paper licence and in field 4d of the new plastic card licence or permit.

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