Skip to Content

Anyone living in Ireland with UK driving licence must exchange it for Irish licence before UK leaves EU

Legislation 04.07.2019

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said, today 4 July 2019, that anyone living in Ireland who holds a UK (including Northern Ireland) driving licence must exchange it for an Irish driving licence, before the 31 October 2019, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. If there is a no-deal Brexit, then after this date, if you are living in Ireland, your UK driving licence will no longer be valid to drive here.

There is an opportunity now to exchange your licence in good time and be certain you have a valid driving licence when the UK leaves the EU.

If you wait till close to the UK exit date of 31 October, you will face possible lengthy delays in exchanging a UK licence, and the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS)* cannot guarantee when you will have a valid licence to drive here in Ireland. 

For this reason those living in Ireland who hold a UK driving licence are strongly urged to act now and exchange their licence.


To exchange your licence you must complete a licence application form and present this, the correct fee and your UK licence at any NDLS centre. You can make an appointment online at to attend any of our 36 NDLS centres. There is also a walk in service, but depending on queues you may have to wait to be seen. 

More information on how to exchange your UK licence can be found at

Ms. Moyagh Murdock, CEO, RSA said that “Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will have a significant impact on Ireland, and requires planning by Government, business and citizens. The fact is a UK licence holder resident here must exchange their UK licence for an Irish one. It is vital that this is done before the UK leaves the EU because under current EU arrangements a UK licence holder resident here in Ireland has an entitlement to exchange the licence for an Irish driving licence. This entitlement will expire on 31 October if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.”

“To date in 2019 over 30,000 UK licences have been exchanged for an Irish driving licence by the NDLS. This compares to 6,000 for the whole of 2018.”

In the vast majority of cases, when exchanging a UK licence, the driver will have all valid licence categories on their driver licence included on the Irish licence. There are some limited exceptions where what are known as national licences categories cannot be transferred to the Irish licence. You may need to speak to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK to find out if you have any national categories on your UK/NI licence.

More information on driver licences and Brexit can be found on and on, the Irish Government’s website to help businesses and citizens around the country to prepare for Brexit.   


*The Road Safety Authority is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the driver licensing system though the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) in Ireland.

About the Government’s Brexit Preparedness work re Drivers’ licencing

The Irish Government, working with the EU, has a comprehensive Contingency Action Plan to implement measures to mitigate the impact of Brexit. Regarding the area of UK Drivers licences, here is some additional information regarding this work: 

  • It can take 30 days to process a licence exchange for any country. The exchange of UK licences for Irish licences is currently taking 10-15 days.
  • All licence exchanges are subject to due diligence by the RSA, which may require checks for endorsements on a licence before an exchange can be effected. This may lead to some exchanges taking longer than 15 days.
  • There is a team working exclusively on the exchange and transfer of UK licences in the RSA. 

Other useful public information regarding on drivers’ licences & Brexit 

As outlined on > Brexit & You > Travelling & Visiting: 

If you are resident in Ireland and hold a UK driving licence: 

If you hold a UK driving licence and are resident in Ireland, you should apply to exchange your UK licence for an Irish licence. In a no deal scenario, immediately post-Brexit, UK licences will not be valid for those who are resident in Ireland. You should contact the National Drivers Licence Service for further detail. The NDLS has also published some useful FAQs on its website . 

In the case of non-EU or ‘third’ countries, legislation exists under our Road Traffic Acts to allow for the recognition of foreign driving licences for exchange purposes. If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK will become a third country, and arrangements can then be made for the exchange of UK driving licences. Ireland is pursuing this option, however it may take a little time to complete as it involves the signing of a formal agreement with the UK and the introduction of secondary legislation here in Ireland. 

In a no deal scenario and without such an agreement, this would mean that if you are resident in Ireland and have not exchanged your UK driving licence before the UK leaves the EU, you will need to apply for an Irish licence. Currently this involves completing a theory test, a course of driver training and passing a driving test. 


Visiting Ireland on a UK licence

UK visitors to Ireland are not affected, there is no reason that you will not be able to drive in Ireland for holidays with your existing driving licence. You should not be required to carry an International Driving Permit with you in order to drive here, just ensure to carry your UK driving licence with you.

Driving in the UK on an Irish licence

The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.