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Learner Permit Information

Learner Permit general information
Categories of motor vehicles and minimum age of drivers
Driver Theory Test
Learner driving permits for cars and work vehicles
Learner driving permits for motorcycles in Ireland
Learner driving permits for buses and trucks
Learner driving permits for trailers
Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged driving licence or learner permit
Disabilities requiring a medical report for a driving licence

Driving Test Information


Learner driving permits for cars and work vehicles

Learner driving permits for cars and work vehicles


It is a statutory requirement that you must hold at least a learner driving permit (previously known as a provisional licence) for the appropriate category of vehicle if you want to drive a car or work vehicle in a public place in Ireland. You are required to carry your learner permit with you at all times when driving.  

The Department of Transport has overall responsibility for driver licensing. The principal local authorities ,however, 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.

To apply for a learner permit, you must be normally resident in Ireland. You are considered to be normally resident in Ireland if, because of personal and occupational ties, you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year.


Before you begin to learn to drive on public roads in Ireland, you must hold a learner permit covering the category of vehicle you wish to drive. A theory test certificate must be obtained before a first learner permit will be granted.

Car drivers with a learner permit must be accompanied at all times by, and be under the supervision of, someone with a current driving licence for a car. Also, the person accompanying you must have had the driving licence for at least two years.

Work vehicle drivers with a learner permit may not carry a passenger unless the vehicle is designed to carry a passenger and the passenger is a qualified driver who has held his driving licence for a work vehicle for at least the last two years.

If you hold a learner permit for a car, you can't drive a car drawing a trailer, drive on a motorway, act as an accompanying driver or carry other people for reward.

Learner permit holders for cars must display L-plates to the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving at all times. L-plates must be no less than 15cm in height with the letter "L" in red on a white background. 

Car and work vehicle categories

The categories and driver's minimum age for car and work vehicles are as follows:

Car and work vehicle categories
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
B Vehicles with seats for up to 8 passengers and a maximum weight of 3,500kg (includes pulling a trailer where the maximum weight of the trailer when fully loaded is 750kg or less) 17 years
W Work vehicles with or without a trailer, such as a land tractor or JCB 16 years

A learner permit is usually valid for two years. You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit (where you are not changing from a provisional licence to a learner permit).

Since the commencement of the Driver Theory Testing Service in 2001, a theory test certificate must be obtained before a first learner permit is granted. You may not apply for a third or subsequent learner permit unless you can provide evidence that you have:

  • Undergone a driving test in the two-year period prior to the application (a two-year learner permit will be granted)


  • Evidence of a forthcoming test date (a one-year learner permit will be granted)

If your provisional driving licence expired 5 years ago, then you must undergo a theory test before a learner permit will be issued.

If I change my name or address do I need a new learner permit?

While you are required to carry your learner permit with you at all times when driving, you are not required by law to change your permit if you change your name or address. However, it is advisable. You are required to show evidence of your permit if requested to by An Garda Siochana, so your permit  should contain up-to-date information.

Exchanging your permit to amend your name or address is a free service. It is also free to have an endorsement removed, an additional category added or an error on your permit corrected.

You must send a completed application form, 2 passport type photographs (signed on back) and any required supporting documents, such as, an original marriage certificate. Contact your Motor Tax Office for more information.

What other categories can I add to my learner permit without a theory test certificate?

If you already hold a learner permit for category B, you can add category W without submitting a theory test certificate.

How do I replace a lost or stolen learner permit?

If your current learner permit is lost, stolen, damaged or defaced, you should apply to your local Motor Taxation Office for a replacement. The replacement permit is a duplicate or exact copy of your original learner permit. You can find out more in our document on replacing a lost or stolen Irish learner permit.


Learner permits are valid for two years (or one year in certain circumstances) and cost €15. It is free of charge to those aged 70 or over.

Exchanging your driving licence to show a change of name or address is also free of charge.

How to apply

If you are applying for a learner permit to drive you should apply for a permit for Category B to drive a car and Category W to drive a work vehicle  Before you can apply for your first learner permit, you must first complete and pass a Driver Theory Test. When you complete your Driver Theory Test successfully, you will be given a certificate, which you must send with your application for a learner permit. The theory test certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue.

The application form for a learner permit (D.201) is available from your Motor Taxation Office or you can request Form D.201 by post through CitizensInformation.ie. It is not available to download online. 

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:

  • Two identical passport-type photographs with the reverse of both signed by you.
  • A birth certificate or passport. This is not a requirement if 
    - you hold a current driving licence or held one within the last ten years
    - or you hold a current learner permit or held one within the last five years
    - or you already hold a valid driving licence issued by another EU state or "recognised" country.
  • An eyesight report. Download an eyesight report form (D.502) (pdf). This form is also available from your Motor Taxation Office or you can request form D.502 by post through CitizensInformation.ie. A completed eyesight report form must accompany all first time learner permit applications. A registered ophthalmic optician or a registered medical practitioner should conduct your eye test. He or she should then complete the D.502 form and witness your signed declaration on the form.
  • A medical report. Download a medical report form (D.501) (pdf) (must be printed back to back on one page). This form is available from your Motor Taxation Office or you can also request form D.501 by post through CitizensInformation.ie. A medical report is compulsory if
    - you will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the permit is being issued
    - you have any of certain disabilities or diseases
    - you suffer from epilepsy or alcoholism 
    - you regularly take drugs or medication that would be likely to impair your ability to drive safely
    A registered medical practitioner should carry out your medical examination and then complete the form.  You must sign the declaration on the medical report form in the presence of the registered medical practitioner. 
  • Your current or last driving licence and/or learner permit. If your most recent learner permit has been lost or stolen, you must complete a lost licence declaration (Form D8.A) which is available from your local Garda Station. You must submit the form, signed and stamped by the Gardaí, with your application for renewal.
  • Your driver theory test certificate.  
  • The appropriate fee. If you are applying for your permit by post, pay the fee by cheque, bank draft or postal order, made payable to your local authority. If you are applying for your learner permit in person, you may pay the fee in cash.

Where to apply


An application for a learner permit should be made directly to

your local Motor Taxation Office



You can read the rules of the road at




Road Safety Authority

Moy Business Park
Primrose Hill
Tel:(096) 25000
Locall:1890 506 080
Fax:(096) 25252
Homepage: http://www.rsa.ie
Email: info@rsa.ie
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