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Driving in Ireland

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Can you drive in Ireland with your national driving license? How to obtain an Irish driving license? Find the answers to your queries in this article.

If you have decided to settle in Ireland, you will probably wish to rent or buy a car, whether for your leisure or daily travel. You will be allowed to drive in the country provided you have a valid driver's license. You are also advised to inquire on Irish road traffic regulations before setting out.

Note that conditions applied to European Union citizens may differ to those coming from other countries.

 Good to know:

Ireland has recognition agreements with all European Union countries, as well as Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. Hence, citizens of these countries are allowed to drive in Ireland with their national driver's license.

Proceedings

EU citizens

European Union citizens may exchange their national driver's license for an Irish driving license if they are planning to settle permanently in Ireland. Those who are just visiting or making a short stay there may drive with their national driver's license. However, other nationals will have to obtain an Irish driver's license by going through all related procedures, i.e. theoretical and practical tests.

 Warning:

If your current driver's license has been issued in a country which is not recognized by the Irish regulations, you will not be able to exchange it for an Irish driver's license.

 Good to know:

Citizens of the following countries are also eligible to the driver's license exchange: Australia, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand and Taiwan.

Fees applied to the exchange proceedings amount to some € 55. But you must also pay medical and eye test fees.

Citizens from non-European countries

Canada and United States nationals having a valid national or international driver's license are allowed to drive in Ireland for a maximum of 12 months during a temporary stay. If they wish to extend their stay for whatever reason, they will have to apply for an Irish driver's license. Hence, they will have to pass theoretical and practical tests.

Requesting a driver's license

The Irish driver's license request must be made to one of the National Driver's License Service centers. Documents to be produced are:

  • your ID card or passport
  • two passport-size photographs
  • your PPS number
  • proof of address.

To exchange your driver's license, the same documents are required, plus a duly filled and signed D401 application form.

Useful advice

You will drive on the left side of the road in Ireland.

The speed limit is fixed at 50 km/h in the city center, 100 km/h on motorways and 110 km/h on highways.

It is strictly prohibited to drink and drive. Otherwise, you will be liable to a fine or even a prison sentence.

Wearing seat belts is compulsory for both driver and passengers.

 Useful links:

National License Service www.ndls.ie
Online appointment www.ndls.ie/en/Online-Services

Toll

Ireland has several toll roads, especially around its major cities including Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. It is best to inquire on these roads and toll fares before driving. Note that there are several payment methods: online, phone, and "pay zones" which are generally found in gas stations and tobacco shops.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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