Applying for your License

Applying for your Licence / Permit:

How to apply

What you need in order to apply for or renew a driving licence, the fees that apply and the licence terms that are available.

Motor vehicles in Ireland are divided into different categories for driver licensing purposes. This is a standard practice throughout the European Union. Ireland has 15 categories in total, ranging from motorcycles to agricultural vehicles.

You may apply for a driving licence if you:
• Recently passed a driving test
• Hold a driving licence that is due to expire within three months and you wish to renew it
• Held a driving licence that expired less than 10 years ago and you wish to renew it
• Hold a driving licence and you wish to have an additional category of vehicle added to it and a driving test is not required
• Are exchanging a current valid driving licence issued by another Member State of the European Union or of the European Economic Area External Link or another *recognised state'.

*Recognised state, A number of countries are designated as 'recognised states'; this means that their driver licensing systems are broadly similar to ours. Australia, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan are 'recognised states' for the purposes of exchanging driving licences.

To view the Information Videos on the NDLS and for a step by step guide to applying for your learner permit or driving licence. Please Check the NDLS website.

Working/studying abroad

To be eligible to apply for an Irish driving licence you must be what's termed 'normally resident' in Ireland, ie living here for at least 185 days in each calendar year.

However, if you have family here yet are working or studying abroad for a specific period you may still be regarded as being normally resident in Ireland provided you return here regularly. Working abroad on a specific task or attending a foreign university or college does not mean you have transferred your normal residence to another country.

Why is the application process changing to a face to face application?

We are adding a layer of security to make sure that the only person who applies for your licence is you. For that reason, a number of new security measures are being introduced to the licensing process as part of the changeover to the NDLS.
These changes include:
• A requirement for applicants who do not or have never previously held an Irish learner permit of full licence to bring additional documentation to confirm their identity;
• A face to face meeting with a Customer Service Agent in an NDLS centre;
• Having your digital photograph taken and digital signature captured by a Customer Service Agent in an NDLS centre.

What do you need to bring when applying for your licence?

What you need to bring with you when applying for a full licence depends on the circumstances of your application. In all cases, it is necessary to submit
• A fully completed NDLS "Application Form for a Driving Licence D401"
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• Documentation to prove your address

The application form is available in NDLS centres, Driving Test centres, Driving Theory Test centres and Garda Stations. It is also available to download by clicking here. Guidance notes to help you complete the application form are available here.

Please ensure that you complete the application form in block capitals using a black ballpoint pen

You will also be required to submit a combination of the following documents depending on whether you have previously held a licence, the category of licence you are applying for, your age and if required on medical grounds (please see full checklist by type of licence application below)
The appropriate fee
• Certificate of Competency
• Your current learner permit
• Your current full licence
• A completed NDLS Medical report form
• Documentation to verify your identity
• Documentation to prove your address
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• Lost licence declaration (see question 15 of licence application form)

As part of the application process your photograph will be taken so there is no need to submit photographs with your application.

Verification of identity

If you are a first-time applicant for an Irish driving licence or learner permit, you will be required to verify your identity as part of the face to face application process. This means that you will have to submit documentation to prove your identity, your address & your PPSN, as well as confirmation of your country of birth/residency entitlement.

In order to verify your identity, it is necessary to produce one document from each of the four lists below. You must provide original identity documents; photocopies or laminated documents are not acceptable.

Photographic I.D.

Evidence of residency entitlement

Verifying your PPSN

Evidence of address

These documents can be no more than 6 months old at date of application

Please note: in some cases, the same document could satisfy more than one requirement e.g. an Irish/EU passport is adequate as photo ID & proof of residency entitlement; a letter to you from Revenue which shows your PPSN could be used as both proofs of your address & proof of your PPSN.

Secondary Identification Process

Where an Irish or UK born customer cannot provide the primary photographic identity documents outlined in list 1 above they must submit their long-form birth/adoption certificate/foreign birth registration and secondary identification document together with evidence of PPSN and address to prove their identity.

The Certificate of Identity Form will be accepted in the above circumstances. Instructions for completing this form are on the rear of the form.

Should the customer present this document to verify their identity, this document may be retained at the NDLS centre

For a list of documents that will not be accepted in the NDLS centres please click here.

Medical matters

An applicant for a Driving licence or Learner Permit who is or will be 70 years of age on the commencement day of their Driving Licence or Learner Permit must submit a medical report with their licence application. An applicant may apply to renew his/her driving licence three months in advance of its expiry and if he/she is over 70 years of age or 70 on the commencement day of the Driving Licence / Learner Permit it is a requirement that a medical is submitted with the application for the licence,

Certain medical conditions will preclude you from driving; others require a Medical Report before you can be issued with a licence. For more information, see the Medical Issues section.

Licence term

Your age will determine the licence term you can apply for:
• Under 60: 10-year cars and motorcycles, or 5 years for buses and HGVs.
• 60-66: a licence that will expire when you reach 70
• 67-69: 3-year licence
• 70 or over: 3-year or 1-year licence (subject to certification of fitness to drive by your doctor)

The age in question is your age on the first day of the period for which the licence is being granted. A 1-year or 3-year licence may be granted in exceptional circumstances where, for medical reasons, a longer licence term cannot be granted.

Current Fees

Driving Licence

New Driving Licences and Renewals €55 
Three Year Licence (Age or Medical Grounds) €35
One Year Licence (Medical Grounds) €25
Replacement or Duplicate Licence €35
Exchange a Foreign Licence €55

Learner Permit

All Learner Permits €35
Replacement or Duplicate Learner Permit €35

Driving Licence/Learner Permits

Category added/removed

* The Over 70's Driving Licences /Learner Permits will remain free


The National Driver Licence Service will accept the following payment methods with your application:
• Cash (where you attend in person at the NDLS centre)
• Cheque
• Bank draft
• Money order
• Debit card / credit card / prepaid credit card
The NDLS will only accept one method of payment for each application. The NDLS will only accept one payment for one application – a single payment for multiple applications will not be accepted.
Cheque, bank drafts or money orders must be made payable to 'National Driver Licence Service (NDLS)'. For applications paid for by cheque, please note that those applications will be placed on hold until the cheque clears.

The NDLS will process debit and credit card payments in accordance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) rules. If you wish to use a third-party debit or credit card for payment, then the third party must be present in person to make the payment.

Checklist for your application:

Where it is your first application for a full licence having passed a driving test, you must submit:
• A fully completed NDLS "Application Form for a Driving Licence"
• The appropriate fee
• A Certificate of competency
• Your current/most recent learner permit
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• A completed NDLS Medical report form if required in your case

Where you are renewing your full licence, you must submit:
• A fully completed NDLS "Application Form for a Driving Licence"
• The appropriate fee
• Your current/most recent full licence
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• A completed NDLS Medical report form if required in your case

Where you are applying for a replacement for a lost or stolen licence, you must submit:
• A fully completed NDLS "Application Form for a Driving Licence"
• The appropriate fee
• Lost licence declaration (see question 15 of licence application form)
• Photographic ID
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• A completed NDLS Medical report form if required in your case

Where you are adding a category to an existing licence, you must submit:
• A fully completed NDLS "Application Form for a Driving Licence"
• The appropriate fee
• Your current/most recent full licence
• Your current learner permit for the category you are adding
• A Certificate of competency
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• A completed NDLS Medical report form if required in your case

Where you are exchanging a full licence from another EU or recognised country, you must submit:
• A fully completed NDLS "Application Form for a Driving Licence"
• The appropriate fee
• Your current full licence (Please note, if your licence does not have a category start date you will need to provide a letter of entitlement/driver statement from your relevant licencing authority)
• If you don't have your licence you will need to provide a letter of entitlement/driver statement from your relevant licencing authority and complete the Lost licence declaration (see question 16 of licence application form)
• Documentation to verify your identity
• Documentation to verify your PPSN
• A completed NDLS Medical report form if required in your case.


License / Permit Categories:                                    

How to apply for or renew a learner permit and what your application should include

Learner permits are processed and issued by the N.D.L.S. (National Driving Licence Service)

You can download an application form here(PDF) for a learner permit or obtain it from your N.D.L.S. office.

A learner permit is generally issued for two years and costs €35. No fee will apply where the applicant is 70 years of age or more on the commencement date of the licence.

Important note: The law requires that any person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place must hold a current learner permit or driving licence in respect of the vehicle category being driven. Any person applying for a learner permit or driving licence shall not supply false or misleading information in connection with such application.

Any person contravening either of these requirements is liable to prosecution and penalties.

Learner permits and vehicle categories

There are restrictions on what type of learner permit you’re entitled to as a learner driver; you need to know these before you apply. You will also need to understand the lettering system/code for vehicle categories.

You may apply for your first learner permit for vehicles in categories:

Note: you will be treated as a first-time applicant in relation to a particular vehicle category if you have not held a learner permit in that category within the preceding five years. A first-time permit holder will have code 991 on the learner permit in the column marked ‘restrictions/information’ opposite the licence category.’

What your application or renewal should include

Important note - please ensure to complete the form in block capitals using a black ballpoint pen. The application form must only be printed and not photocopied for quality control purposes.

The following may also be required:
Important note - please ensure to complete all forms in block capitals using a black ballpoint pen

You can’t apply for a learner permit if you:

Normal residence in Ireland:

Being ‘normally resident’ in Ireland means you live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year. Even where you work or study abroad for lengthy periods you may still be regarded as being normally resident in Ireland provided that you have personal ties in Ireland and return here regularly.

Birth certificate/passport:

Your application must be accompanied by an original birth certificate or passport unless you:

In certain instances, a certificate of registration may be submitted with a learner permit application instead of a birth certificate or passport.


The licensing authority may ask you to provide personal identification as part of the application process. You are advised to bring ID with you if applying in person.

Acceptable ID includes:

Medical requirements

Eyesight report D502 (PDF)

The first-time application for a learner permit must be accompanied by a satisfactory eyesight report. This report may be completed by a registered ophthalmic optician or medical practitioner. You must sign the eyesight report form in the presence of the optician or doctor.

Medical report D501 (PDF)

Your application must be accompanied by a medical report if you:

The medical report must be completed by a registered medical practitioner and you must sign the declaration in his/her presence.
Important notes:

Medical report and eyesight report forms may be obtained from your local motor taxation office or downloaded from this webpage. If you are downloading the Medical Report form you must print it back to back.



Useful Info:

The driving test in Cork is straightforward.

For cars, it will last approximately 35/40 minutes

Part of your Driving Test Will Include

What you need on the day of your test.

Read through the Rules of the Road with specific attention to Road Signs and Hand Signals.


Recent enhancements to the test mean that you should ensure that:

Passengers other than the driver tester and/or RSA officers are not permitted to accompany you in the vehicle during the practical test. The tester may be accompanied on test for training/supervisory purposes. While the accompanying officer may take notes, s/he has no input into the conduct or outcome of the test.


ACE by name ACE by nature! 



The & Steps to Passing your Driving Test:

This is not something that can be achieved in a week. You have to take the process of obtaining a full driver license seriously or you will not be successful.

(1) Prepare your car well and don't change a car in the lead up to your driving test. It takes time to get used to a new car and a week from the test is not the time to do this. If you are not the owner of a car yet and are planning to use a driving school car then make, contact two months ahead of your test. Two weeks from your test and you may not gain access to a car if the driving school is busy.

(2) Know the basic technical check questions and answers and be able to rattle them off without stumbling. This creates a good impression and shows that you have at least taken the trouble to find out what is required from you on your driving test.

(3) Practise your reversing skills until you are dizzy from it. Reversing techniques are used every day in your driving which is why they are included in the driving test. Most drivers who do not pass the test throw marks away needlessly by incompetent reversing. Remember observation is 50 % of these manoeuvres.

(4) Get to know the area where your test is taking place to establish the hotspots where it will be difficult for you. Practise at different times and on different days of the week to get a feel for how the traffic flows. The time of your test plays a big part in your performance on the day.

(5) Roundabouts create a big challenge for any driver ...not just Learners. They come in many different guises. Standard and non-standard configurations 2 exits; 3 exits; 4 exits; 5 exits and so on. Each one will often require different positioning, different signalling and a good deal of observation. How do you cover all your basses here? Learn the basic rules... take lessons from an Instructor preferably several months ahead of your test and practise at different times of the day.

(6) Check out the Test Centre that you have been allocated to well in advance so that you can read the rules that are posted and find out how things work there. Not all Test Centres are custom built and many share car parks with other businesses making them difficult to negotiate. You should reverse park into your space at the commencement of your driving test. At the end of your driving test, you should drive nose-in to avoid any delays.

(7) It goes without saying that you should check all your documents some weeks ahead of your driving test to ensure all are up to date. License; Insurance; N.C.T Certificate, Road Tax. Location of your Test and time also important. People do go to the wrong test centres and get times mixed up.


While passing the driving test is an important milestone it is just the first in a journey of a lifetime. Skills will be added every day you are behind the wheel until you hang up the keys after retirement (hopefully).

Passing the test does not mean you are an excellent driver...far from it! You have put together a series of skills on the day to the examiner's satisfaction. Nor more no less. You will need to be extremely vigilant and sensible for the first two to three years AFTER passing the Test. Why? This is the most dangerous time in any driving career. Statistics show that many accidents happen to novice drivers during this period.

Failing the driving test does not mean you are dunce you will just need to take more time to learn and practice. Simple really it just takes time and effort like everything worthwhile in Life.



Two-second gap:


Safety gap between vehicles:
When you stop behind another vehicle in a line of traffic, always ensure you are able to clearly see the bottom of the vehicle's rear tyres. This ensures you are not too close to the other vehicle. Also, as you commence to move your two-second gap will already be in place.

Keep left:
Keep to the left at all times unless overtaking or turning right. The right-hand lane is for overtaking or turning right. Use it for driving straight through only if the left lane is obstructed by road works or parked vehicles, or if it is not usable for any reason.


Drive with anticipation:
Expect the unexpected and be aware that we all make mistakes sometimes. The other driver may forget to indicate or to look to see if you are nearby. If you have anticipated this may happen, it will not be a surprise. We should be driving as a team, not as individuals, be prepared to let the other driver in, rather than blocking them out.

Stop at lights or stop signs:
When you stop at the lights or at a stop sign, your car should be behind the thick top line. There are some intersections, where if you stop over the stop line and a truck or bus turns into the street that you are leaving; it will collide with your vehicle.

Plan ahead:
Always plan well ahead. Your line of sight should travel parallel to the road, not down onto it. This makes it easier for you to prepare for anything that may happen long before you get there.

Overtaking is probably one of the most dangerous manoeuvres a driver can perform, especially on a two-way carriageway. Quite often the vehicle you overtake is only travelling slightly slower than you are. Make sure that you have enough room to go well past the overtaken vehicle before you move back to the left. Don't cut them off.

Drive smoothly:
Drive smoothly and make decisions early so that you can accelerate, brake and change gears smoothly. It will make your vehicle last longer, cost you less, and it is far more comfortable for your passengers. Rough acceleration, braking, or steering, can easily cause your car to skid.

Negotiating a curve:
When you are negotiating a curve in the road, try to flatten the curve out as much as you can. This will give you a better view around the curve; a smoother path and it will decrease the potential of the car commencing to skid. For a left curve, approach as near as is safe to the right of your lane, when you can see where the road straightens out ahead, gently move across to the left of the lane and finish back in the middle of your lane. Use the opposite sequence for a right curve.

Night driving:
Night driving can be quite difficult. Oncoming vehicles' headlights can dazzle you and you must keep alert to the lights and reflections off cyclists and motorcyclists. Pedestrians can be impossible to see. Traffic lights can appear to blend in with advertising signs. Leave yourself more space from the car in front, as this will create more time for you to be able to see what is ahead and prepare for anything that may happen.

 The Driving test is straightforward.


Part of your Driving test will Include:

What you need on the day of your test:



ACE by name ACE by nature!