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Holders of Foreign Licences

To apply to exchange a foreign driving licence issued by a member state of the European Union / European Economic Area

If you have a driving licence issued by an EU/EEA member state you can drive in Ireland as long as your existing licence is valid. If you wish to exchange your driving licence for an equivalent Irish driving licence, you must do so within 10 years of your driving licence expiring.

Where a driving licence has been issued on foot of an exchange from a country that Ireland does not have an exchange agreement with then Ireland cannot exchange the driving licence.

To complete an application you will need to submit:

  • Fully completed application form for a Driving licence D401
  • Current or most recent EU/EEA driving licence (if your licence has expired by less than ten years or does not have a category start date you will need to provide an original letter of entitlement / driver statement from the relevant licensing authority)
  • If you do not have your most recent driving licence in your possession, you will need to present an original letter of entitlement / driver statement from the appropriate licensing authority and must complete the lost or stolen licence declaration on the application form and have it witnessed by a member of An Garda Síochána
  • Certified translations are required for all letters of entitlement / driver statements which are not in English or Irish
  • Photographic I.D.
  • Proof of your personal public services number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of address dated within the last six months is required if your current address is not recorded on your permit and it differs from that provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if and when you applied for a PSC
  • Evidence of residency entitlement, (if you hold a public services card and your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union/European Economic Area, it is adequate to present the PSC)
  • Fully completed NDLS medical report form, dated within one month, if required in your case
  • Evidence of certificate of professional competence (CPC), if required
  • If exchanging a Northern Ireland licence it must be accompanied by the counterpart
  • Application fee of €55

Your Photograph and signature will be captured at the NDLS office

Certified translations are required for all Letters of Entitlement which are not in English or Irish. Translations must be provided by a reputable company who must be a member of the Irish Translator and Interpreters Association. The letter of entitlement must be submitted together with the certified translation.

Please note: Applications to exchange a licence may take 2/3 months to process as we need to contact the original licensing authority. 

Disqualification in EU country


1. Where a driver is disqualified from driving in an EU country;

 the driver cannot apply for a driving licence/learner permit in Ireland while serving the disqualification.

2. Where an EU licence holder is disqualified from driving in Ireland or another EU country with a condition attached, must pass a driving test or complete driver training;
 On expiry of the period of disqualification, if resident in Ireland can apply for a learner permit to complete the driving test or the driver training in Ireland. The learner permit will have a restriction 109 placed on it. This means that the  driver must complete the driving test or driver training within two months. 
 On successful completion of the test or training then the driver can apply for exchange of the foreign licence or return of the Irish driving licence, which ever applicable. The driver must have held the licence in the previous 10 years.

Note: The driving test in Ireland does not cover the extended driving test requirement.
3. Where an EU licence holder is disqualified from driving in an EU country with a condition that must pass psychological tests;
 On expiry of the period of disqualification then the driver, if resident in Ireland can apply for an exchange of the EU licence and must provide a Medical report. The driver must have held the EU licence in the previous 10 years.

To apply to exchange a foreign driving licence issued by a recognised state

As a visitor to Ireland you can drive on a driving licence from any state outside the EU/EEA for up to a year provided the driving licence is current and valid. However on taking up 'normal residence' in Ireland you must either exchange your driving licence or apply for a driving licence in Ireland. You are considered to be normally resident in Ireland if, because of personal and occupational ties, you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year.

Ireland has agreements with certain countries/states that designates them as recognised states for the purposes of driving licence exchange. In order to exchange your licence you must apply in person at any NDLS centre with the following

  • Fully completed application form for a Driving licence D401
  • Current or most recent recognised driving licence (if your licence has expired by less than one year or does not have a category start date you will need to provide an original letter of entitlement / driver statement from the relevant licensing authority)
  • If you do not have your most recent driving licence in your possession, you will need to present an original letter of entitlement / driver statement from the appropriate licensing authority and must complete the lost or stolen licence declaration on the application form and have it witnessed by a member of An Garda Síochána
  • Certified translations are required for all letters of entitlement/driver statements which are not in English or Irish
  • Photographic I.D.
  • Proof of your personal public services number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of address dated within the last six months is required if your current address is not recorded on your permit and it differs from that provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if and when you applied for a PSC
  • Evidence of residency entitlement, (if you hold a public services card and your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union/European Economic Area, it is adequate to present the PSC)
  • Fully completed NDLS eyesight report form, dated within one month
  • Fully completed NDLS medical report form, dated within one month, if required in your case
  • Evidence of certificate of professional competence (CPC), if required
  • If exchanging a Northern Ireland licence it must be accompanied by the counterpart
  • Application fee of €55

Your photograph and signature will be captured electronically at the NDLS centre.

Recognised states are:

If you exchanged an Irish driving licence in a recognised state for a driving licence issued by that state, you must submit that licence to the NDLS when applying for an Irish driving licence.

A Recognised State driving licence may be exchanged up to a maximum of 1 year after it expires with an accompanying letter of entitlement. After this period, applicants will need to apply for a learner permit.

Certified translations are required for all Letters of Entitlement which are not in English or Irish. Translations must be provided by a reputable company who must be a member of the Irish Translator and Interpreters Association. The letter of entitlement must be submitted together with the certified translation.

Please note: Applications to exchange a licence may take 2/3 months to process as we need to contact the original licensing authority.

International Driving Licence

You are still required to produce your own licence for inspection when hiring a vehicle in Ireland an IDP (International Driving Licence) should be seen as a translation of your licence and not a replacement.

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.

You must hold a current and valid licence from the country you are resident in. EU/EEA licence holders who are resident in Ireland may apply for an IDP here.

There are two types of IDP:

  • 1949 UN Convention IDP. More common type; recognised in most countries
  • 1926 UN Convention IDP. Needed for driving in Brazil, Iraq, Nigeria and Somalia

If you are from an EU/EEA country and possess a full valid driving licence from your home country, you will need to supply a copy of a utility bill (electricity, telephone or gas) showing your address in Ireland.

You will also be required to sign a declaration of residency on the application form.

Apply to:

AA
61A South William Street
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 617-9988

Who is ineligible?  

You cannot be issued with an IDP in Ireland if you are from outside the EU or EEA.

Where can I use my IDP?  

You can use your permit in any of the countries that have signed the 1926 or 1949 UN Convention on road traffic. In addition, many other countries that are not signatories to the 1949 convention recognise the IDP and accept it in their territory.

You should contact your embassy or consulate in advance of travel to confirm whether or not an IDP is recognised by Ireland. 
Note: even when you hold an IDP, you should always carry your own driving licence when travelling in Ireland, as you may be required to produce this licence for inspection, for example, when hiring a car

Holders of driving licences from other countries

If you are not from any of the above countries, (for example The United States), and you hold a national driving licence or an international driving permit from your own country, you may drive in Ireland for the duration of your temporary visit (up to 12 months).

If your stay in Ireland will be more than 12 months you can apply for an Irish driving licence but you will need to go through the full driver licensing procedure. You must first pass a driver theory test , apply for a learner permit, complete a course of Essential Driver Training(EDT) and pass your driving test in Ireland. If you pass your driving test, you can then apply for a full Irish driving licence.

Please click here for information on how to apply for a first time Learner Permit.

Please Note: Once you obtain an Irish Learner Permit, this will take precedent over your full foreign driving licence and all rules & regulations pertaining to the holder of a learner permit applies / e.g., display of “L”plates, must be accompanied etc.,

How do I apply for a Driving Test?  

Before you apply for a driving test you must complete Essential Driver Training (EDT) which is a mandatory training course that teaches fundamental driving skills to learner car drivers.

The Essential Driver Training course is made up of 12 one-hour lessons, which you must complete before taking your Driving test. You can apply for a driving test as follows:

In Ireland you must hold a Learner Permit for six months before applying for your test however a holder of a current full driving licence in the same category from another country (jurisdiction) for more than six months is exempt from this requirement, provided have completed EDT and you forward a current original driving licence and a letter of entitlement from the relevant licensing authority in that country to the: 

Customer Service Manager
Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority, 
Moy Valley Business Park,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo
drivingtest@rsa.ie