The new licence will be standardised and therefore easily recognisable across Europe. Because it’s plastic, smaller and carries a microchip, it will be easier to carry and more secure.
Who can get the new licence
After 19 January, 2013, the new plastic card licence will be available for those who need a new or renewed licence. You can only apply if:
- you’ve passed your driving test and are applying for your first driver licence
- you’re renewing your learner permit / driving licence
- you’re exchanging a foreign driving licence for an Irish driving licence
All old paper licences are valid for a maximum of 10 years and will remain in place until their expiry date. For more information see How to apply.
Important note -please ensure to complete any forms in block capitals using a black ballpoint pen. The application form must only be printed and not photocopied for quality control purposes.
What exactly will be changing?
From 19 January 2013, all new and renewable learner permits and driving licences will be issued in plastic credit-card sized format instead of paper.
At present, learner permit and driving licence applications are handled by local authority Motor Taxation Offices and this will still be the case for much of 2013. The service will be transferred to the NDLS by September 2013.
Until the transfer is complete, Motor Taxation Offices will still process all applications and the new-style licence will be produced and delivered by a specialist company. It is important to note, though, that even though Motor Taxation Offices will process the applications until September 2013, they will not be able to issue driving licences over the counter from January 2013.
Why has 19 January 2013 been chosen for the changeover?
Under EU law, Ireland, along with all other EU member states, must introduce a new credit card sized driving licence by 19 January 2013. While some EU countries already have a plastic card licence format, they are not all the same - there are over 100 different styles of licence across EU countries. The new card being issued will be standardised across all EU member states.
For a full list of NDLS FAQ's please click here.