Exchange Your Driving Licence for an Irish One
It is possible to exchange a driving permit issued by an EU or EEA Member State for a full Irish driving licence. Ireland has agreements with all EU/EEA States and recognises full driving permits issued by competent authorities.
You will need to complete a D.900 Declaration Form - if you are exchanging a current full driving licence issued by another EU member state or issued by a designated "recognised state" for licence exchange purposes, you must also submit a D.900 declaration form which you can download - see How to Apply for this and other relevant information, or request from your local Motor Taxation Office. On this form, you must make a declaration that the licence you are surrendering is both valid and current
A full list of these states is outlined below.
List of European Union / European Economic Area States Ireland has Agreements With
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Holders of driving licences from other countries
Ireland also has agreements with certain other countries/States which means that if you are coming to Ireland to take up residence you can exchange your driving licence for a full Irish driving licence and you will not need to do a driving test. A full list of these countries and States is also outlined below.
You will need to complete a D.900 Declaration Form - if you are exchanging a current full driving licence issued by another EU member state or issued by a designated "recognised state" for licence exchange purposes, you must also submit a D.900 declaration form which you can download - see How to Apply for this form and other relevant information, or request from your local Motor Taxation Office. On this form, you must make a declaration that the licence you are surrendering is both valid and current
If you are not from any of the following countries/States but you do hold a national driving licence or an international driving permit from your own country, you can drive in Ireland for the duration of your temporary visit. (A temporary visit is regarded as a period not exceeding 12 months).
If you will be resident in Ireland for more than 12 months (and again, are not from any of the following countries/States), you will need to go through the full driving licencing procedures (see 'How to apply). From 1st January 2003, you are required to carry your driving licence with you at all times when motoring in Ireland.
List of Other States / Countries that Ireland has Agreements With
- Isle of Man
- South Africa
- South Korea
If you are not from any of the above countries, (for example, if you are from Canada, the United States or New Zealand), 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).
An 'international driving permit' means a valid and properly completed international driving permit issued to a visitor under the Convention of 1949 by a competent authority of the State in which you normally reside.
If your stay in Ireland will be more than 12 months and you are not from one of the listed recognised countries/States, you can apply for a driving licence in Ireland. You must first you must complete a driver theory test, apply for a provisional driving licence and complete your driving test in Ireland. If you pass your driving test, you will be issued with a full driving licence for use in Ireland.
Possible Delays for New EU Member States
On 1st May, 2004 ten new member states joined the EU (the full list of these new states is outlined below). Full driving licences from these member states are recognised for driving and insurance purposes in Ireland. However, if you are from one of these states and wish to exchange your full driving licence for an Irish driving licence you may experience some delays in processing your application.
This is because all of the new accession states have not fully supplied details of their licensing procedures. If your full driving licence from one of the accession states is about to expire or has expired, contact your local Motor Tax office here in Ireland for more advice and information.
Your accession state driving licence is acceptable for motor insurance purposes in Ireland. If you are experiencing difficulties in obtaining a quotation for motor insurance in Ireland, contact the Irish Insurance Federation for advice.
Categories of vehicles/Minimum age of driver
Motor vehicles in Ireland are divided into different categories for driver licensing purposes. This is a standard practice throughout the European Union. Ireland has 14 categories in total (for category details see http://www.citizensinformation.ie/), ranging from motorcycles to agricultural vehicles.
Driving offences committed in other jurisdictions
Penalty points and endorsements on driving licences acquired in other states (including EU/EEA member states) are not recognised between states. This is because these penalties have been issued by courts in other jurisdictions.
In practice, this means that if you acquired penalty points or an endorsement on a driving licence before coming to Ireland, these penalty points or endorsements do not transfer over, to an Irish driving licence. If however you have been banned from driving in another jurisdiction (i.e., for drink driving) it may not be possible for you to exchange your existing licence for a full Irish driving licence.
If you are driving on foreign driving licence in Ireland and acquire penalty points here, you will receive the normal statutory fine but the penalty points will not be added to your foreign driving licence. If you subsequently exchange your foreign driving licence for an Irish driving licence, your Irish penalty points will then be activated on your new Irish driving licence.