Learn the step-by-step process of getting your Irish Driver’s License…
Ireland and America have a long standing diplomatic connection. But when it comes to driver’s licences, things are a little different! Whether you’re 50 years old and been driving since you were 16 or you’ve only been driving for 5 years time, you’ll need to go through the Irish driver’s licence process like any new driver. Follow this guide for clear, step-by-step instructions on how to navigate this somewhat tricky process.
Step 1: Driver Theory Test
Schedule your driver theory test with the RSA (Road Safety Authority) and then get studying! There is often a long wait time to sit your theory test, so we recommend scheduling the test and then learning the rules of the road. The theory test is composed of 40 multiple choice questions and include topics like statistics, understanding signs, basic car mechanics, and predictive driving. And it is surprisingly challenging.
There are some good study resources including books and online practice tests to get you ready. Click here for more information.
While you’re studying and waiting for your test date, send your American Driver’s License along with proof of your driving history of the issuing state to the RSA. This will waive the normal 6 month waiting period that new drivers have after they pass their theory test, but before they’re allowed to take their driving lessons. Which is good for you because you want to fast track this process as much as possible! Click here for the details.
Step 2: Apply for Your Learner’s Permit
Once you pass the theory test hold on to your certificate and go to the National Drivers Licence Service website to go over all requirements needed to apply for your Learner’s Permit. There are a series of forms to fill out and you’ll need to get your eyes tested by your GP or optometrist before heading in to acquire your Learner’s Permit. Click HERE to find out what you’ll need.
There are 3 circumstances in which you’ll need to get a medical examination:
1) You’re 70+ years of age
2) You plan to drive a vehicle in Categories B, BE, or W
3) You answer yes to any of the medical questions in the Learner Permit D201 application
Once you’ve got your paperwork in order you can either schedule an appointment with a local NDLS center or just walk-in and apply for your Learner’s! Like most DMV’s in the US, wait times can be ridiculous, so make sure to arrive at opening.
Please note that once you receive your Learners you’ll need to place an L decal on both the front and back windscreens of your vehicle. And you cannot drive alone, no matter how long you’ve been driving stateside. You must be accompanied by a driver that has had their licence for at least 2 years. Click here for more info.
Step 3: Take 12 hour long driving lessons
Depending on your circumstances and learning style you can schedule your lessons in any way you’d like. From once per week for an hour to all 12 in one week! Your instructor at Bantry Driving Academy will help you with all aspects related to safe and defensive driving along with practical tips on how to pass your driving test the first time through.
Once again, wait times to sit your Driving Test can be long, from 4-6 months so it’s best to apply while going through your driving lessons so you can hurry the process along. There are some other helpful tips around this topic that your driving instructor can share with you, just make sure to ask!
Step 4: Take your Test
By now you should be feeling confident and ready to take your test. Good luck!
Step 5: Get your full Irish Driver’s Licence
You did it! You passed through the long, thorough, and winding road of becoming a fully licencensed driver in Ireland. Head back into your local NDLS center to apply for your full licence. All the details along with fee information can be found here.
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this process. Mary and the team at Bantry Driving Academy are available to assist you through the adventure!