Converting A UK Driving Licence To Irish Licence

Simple How To Guide


Whether you’re a UK citizen moving to Ireland or an Irish citizen returning home after living in the UK, you may be wondering how you go about changing your UK driving licence. In this blog, we explain the steps involved in exchanging your UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence and explore the possibility of holding two licences at once.

Steps to exchange your UK driving licence

To exchange your driving licence, you will need to visit your local National Driving Licence Service (NDLS) centre. There are 36 centres across Ireland. To make an appointment, you can book online or make use of the easy walk-in service. If you are reading this while restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are still in effect, you will need to check if/when your local office will be fully operational.

Application checklist

For your application to switch your UK driving licence over to an Irish driving licence, you will need to provide:

  • A completed application form
  • Existing UK driving licence (this will not be returned)
  • Photographic I.D.
  • Proof of your Personal Public Services Number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of your home address dated within the last six months
  • Evidence of residency entitlement (if you hold a public services card and your place of birth or nationality is within the European
  • Union/European Economic Area, it is adequate to present the PSC)
  • A completed NDLS medical report form, dated within one month (if required)
  • Evidence of certificate of professional competence (CPC) (if required)
  • Application fee of €55.

For more detailed information on the application requirements, please visit the NDLS website.

Can you hold a UK and Irish driving licence?

If you wish to hold an Irish driving licence, you cannot also hold a UK driving licence at the same time. As part of the application process for an Irish driving licence, you will be asked to surrender your old UK/Northern Irish licence.

If you do not submit your original UK/Northern Irish driving licence with your exchange application, the NDLS will be unable to validate your application and you could run the risk of not being able to legally drive in Ireland until your old licence has been received.

How to get a driving licence in Ireland

If you don’t yet have a driving licence and wish to apply for one in Ireland, you must be able to attend a NDLS office and provide evidence that you:

  • are at least 17 years of age (or 16 years if you are applying for a work vehicle or motorcycle <125cc licence)
  • are an Irish resident
  • reside in Ireland for at least 185 days per year
  • have resided in Ireland for at least one year before undertaking the driver licence testing process
  • have a valid PPSN
  • have completed (and have with you) the D201 learner permit application form
  • have completed (and have with you) the NDLS eyesight report form D502.

If the NDLS is satisfied, you will then be asked to sit a driving theory test. You must pass this test in order to be granted your Learner Permit and to begin practical driving lessons. In Ireland, unlike the UK, before you can apply to take your practical driving test, you must complete 12 individual one-hour driving lessons with an approved driving instructor. This is known as Essential Driving Training (EDT). Once you have completed this, you are free to take your practical test.

Typically lasting 30 minutes, your driving test will see an examiner take you out in a vehicle to assess your driving skills and your competency behind the wheel. You will be asked to complete a number of basic driving manoeuvres and will be marked on your ability to maintain control over the vehicle, take the necessary precautions when moving off and stopping, as well as when changing direction and meeting traffic, and to show proper anticipation and awareness of potential dangers and hazards.

Once you return to the test centre, your examiner will let you know if you passed or failed. If you pass, you will be awarded a Certificate of Competency. When you have this, you can apply for a full Irish driving licence. This can be done in person at a NDLS office and it costs €55.

Before you drive

Once you have your Irish licence, you must get insurance cover on your vehicle and pay motor tax before you can legally drive in Ireland. Here at Chill Insurance, we make fast work of finding good deals on insurance. You can compare policies from 14 different insurers and get a quick quote today by entering a few simple details into our quote calculator. This could save you precious time and money.

It is illegal to drive in Ireland without motor tax, and you must display evidence that you’ve paid your tax on your vehicle’s windscreen. If you don’t pay this levy, you could be faced with a €60 fine. You can pay pay motor tax online quickly and easily.