Foreign driving licences Ireland - you got this sign

Foreign driving licences in Ireland – are you planning on driving in Ireland but hold a foreign driving licence? Here are some important things to know:

Foreign driving licences issued by an EU, EEA member states or recognised states

You can exchange driving licences issued by an EU or EEA member state (such as Germany or France), or the UK, for an Irish license within 10 years of expiration.

If your license was issued by a recognised state such as Australia, Canada, or South Africa, you can exchange it for an Irish license within 1 year of expiration. Recognised states include: Australia, Canada (except for certain provinces), Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the UK.

Holders of licences from recognised states can drive in Ireland for up to one year while visiting. However, must exchange their licence or begin the process of applying for an Irish licence if they become normally resident in Ireland.

It’s important to note that not all categories of licenses can be exchanged in every case. Be sure to check the specific exchange rules for each country and territory on the NDLS website.

If your original license was issued in a non-recognised country and you exchanged it for a licence in a recognised country, you cannot exchange it for an Irish licence.

Driving licences issued by Ukraine

You can temporarily use licence was issued by Ukraine in Ireland under temporary protection. But you can no longer exchange it for an Irish licence. If you have already exchanged your Ukrainian licence for an Irish one, you can request to have it returned to you or continue to drive on your Irish licence for one year from the date it was issued.

UK driving licence holders

If you hold a UK licence, you can drive in Ireland while visiting, but if you become normally resident in Ireland (meaning you have personal and occupational ties and usually live in Ireland for at least 185 days per year), you must exchange your UK licence for an Irish licence. The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) has published a helpful FAQ document on Brexit and driving licences.

Foreign driving licences from countries not recognised in Ireland for driving licence exchange

Licences issued by a country not recognised for driving license exchange, cannot be exchanged for an Irish licence. Instead, you will need to go through the full driver licencing process, starting with the driver theory test. However, once you have your learner permit, you’ll only need to take 6 Essential Driver Training (EDT) lessons – not 12. You can take Reduced-EDT lessons with M N Phoenix Driving School. We regularly help foreign drivers get on the road in Ireland. Click here to find out more about our Reduced-EDT lessons.

We hope this information helps you navigate the process of driving with a foreign license in Ireland. Safe travels! For more information about driving in Ireland checkout Citizens Information here.

Book your lessons with M N Phoenix Driving School now.

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