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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:

  • A1, A2, A, B, M or W – without any previous driving experience
  • C1, C, D1 or D – if you hold a driving licence for category B
  • EB, EC1, EC, ED1 or ED – if you hold a driving licence for the appropriate drawing vehicle. For example, you must hold a driving licence for category C in order to apply for a learner permit for EC

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.

  • A completed application form ( D201, PDF), which can also be obtained from your local NDLS office.
  • Your current or most recent driving licence (if you hold a driving licence or held one within the previous 10 years) and/or:
  • your current/most recent learner permit (if you hold a current learner permit or held one within the previous five years – unless your most recent learner permit has been superseded by the issue of a driving licence)
  • The appropriate fee

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

  • An original birth certificate/passport
  • An original certificate of registration
  • A completed medical report D501 form(if you are downloading the Medical Report form you must print it back to back)
  • A completed eyesight D502 form
  • Evidence that you underwent a driving test in the last two years if applying for a third or subsequent learner permit
  • Evidence of a forthcoming driving test if applying for a third or subsequent learner permit and you have not sat a driving test  in the last two years
  • Lost licence declaration
  • Theory test certificate

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

  • Are disqualified from driving due to age or ill health
  • Do not have your normal residence in Ireland (see below: ‘Normal residence in Ireland’)
  • Already hold a full driving licence for the category in which the application will be made, which has been issued by the competent authority in a member state of the European Union or European Economic Area.

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:

  • Hold a current driving licence or learner permit
  • Held a driving licence within the last ten years or a learner permit within the last five
  • Hold a current valid driving licence issued by another EU member state or another “recognised country”.

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

ID

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:

  • Passport
  • Employee or student identity card

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:

  • Are applying for a learner permit in any of the categories C1, C, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1 or ED.
  • Will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the licence is being granted.
  • Suffer from certain disabilities or diseases
  • Have ever suffered from alcoholism or epilepsy
  • Are taking, on a regular basis, drugs or medication which would be likely to make you an unsafe driver

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

  • Anyone suffering from serious arrhythmia which has at any stage resulted in the loss of consciousness should consult his/her doctor before applying for a licence.
  • Anyone dependent on or regularly abuses psychotropic substances is disqualified from holding any learner permit or driving licence. If you have any doubts about your physical or mental fitness to drive you should consult a doctor.

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.

 

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