Provisional Driving Licence (Now called a Learner Permit) Information

From 1 January 2003 you are required to carry your licence with you at all times when driving in Ireland. It is a statutory requirement (i.e., the law) in Ireland that you must hold at least a provisional licence if you want to drive a motor vehicle in a public place.

The Department of Transport has overall responsibility for driver licensing. However, the principal local authorities are licensing authorities and issue driving licences. There are 29 licensing authorities (Motor Taxation Offices) around the country and you should make your application to the one nearest to where you live.

Before you begin to learn to drive on public roads in Ireland, you must hold a provisional driving licence. To undergo a driving test, you must hold a provisional licence covering the category in which you wish to be tested. Motor vehicles are put into categories for driver licensing purposes and there is a minimum age requirement for all categories. A full or provisional licence only entitles you to drive the category of vehicle for which the licence has been issued.
Categories of vehicles / Minimum age of driver

Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver:

  • A1 Motorcycles up to 11kW or 125 cc
  • A (restricted) Motorcycles up to 25kW (approx. 300 cc) 16 years
  • A Any size motorcycle (after 2 years on a full licence) 16 years
  • B Vehicles with seats for up to 8 passengers and max weight of 3,500kg 16 years
  • M Moped with maximum speed of 45 kph and engine size up to 50 cc16 years
  • Works vehicle such as a tractor or JCB 16 years


Car drivers (category B) with a provisional licence must be accompanied at all times by, and under the supervision of, a person with a current full driving licence to drive a car. ( The only exception to this , is where the driver holds a second provisional driving licence to drive a car). The obligation to be accompanied by a qualified driver is set down in SI 352/99 Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1999.

Motorcyclists (category A, A1 or M) and work vehicle drivers ( category W ) with provisional licences, don’t have to be accompanied when driving. (In other words, you don’t need to have a fully qualified driver accompany you).

All other drivers with provisional licences must be accompanied by and under the supervision of someone with a current full driving licence for the relevant vehicle category.

All provisional licence holders must display L-plates to the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving at all times.

If you hold a provisional driving licence, you can’t drive a vehicle drawing a trailer, drive on a motorway, act as an accompanying driver or carry other people for reward.

Since the commencement of the Driver Theory Testing Service on 11 June 2001, a theory test certificate must be obtained before a first provisional licence is granted. You may not apply for a third provisional licence unless you can provide evidence that you have:

  1. undergone a driving test in the two-year period prior to the application or
  2. evidence of a forthcoming test date. A two year provisional licence will be granted if you provide evidence you have undergone a driving test, and a one year provisional licence will be granted if you submit evidence of a forthcoming test date.

If your provisional driving licence expired 5 years ago, then you must undergo a Driver Theory test before a new provisional licence can be issued.

Provisional licences are valid for two years (or one year in certain circumstances) and cost 15 euro. Exchanging your driving licence to show a change of address is free of charge.

Where to Apply

Driver Testing Section, Government Offices, Road Safety Authority, Ballina, Co. Mayo.
Tel: +353 96 24200; Locall: 1890 406040; Fax: +353 96 24400