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Car and light van with trailer - BE

Steps to become a car or light van with trailer driver.

This is an overview of the steps you must take to become a qualified driver in your chosen licence category.

To learn to drive a category B (car and light van) vehicle in Ireland, you must first prove your identity and your entitlement to a driving licence or learner permit. This means proving that you would be at least 17 years of age when applying for a learner permit, that you are normally resident in Ireland, that you have a valid address and personal public services number (PPSN), and that you are medically fit to drive. You should also ensure that your car is safe, roadworthy, insured, taxed and displays L-plates.

You must have previously passed a category B (car or light van) theory test before you can apply for a category BE learner permit. If you got your first category B learner permit before the introduction of the theory test on 25 April 2001, you must complete a theory test before applying for a category BE learner permit. If you are unsure please contact the National Driver Licence Service.

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A learner permit allows you to drive on all public roads, except motorways, for the purposes of learning to drive a car or light van with trailer and only when accompanied by someone who has held a full, valid driving licence in the same category for more than two years.

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The driving test checks your knowledge of the Rules of the Road, your ability to drive competently and safely in accordance with those rules and with regard for other road users. The test takes about 50 minutes. It’s a combination of questions to test your knowledge and a practical test of your driving skills and awareness. This includes uncoupling and recoupling a trailer as well as reversing from the left or right.

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When you pass the driving test you are issued with a certificate of competency. This is valid for up to two years. You must apply for a driving licence within that time. This allows you to drive on all public roads, including motorways. If you are still a category B (car and light van) novice driver, you must display N-plates on any vehicle you drive for the first two years. 

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Passing your driving test is just the first step in becoming a truly safe and competent driver. You should continue to drive carefully and build up your experience with different loads and in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions. The Road Safety Authority offers a range of learning materials that will help you develop your road safety awareness and skills.

Services MyRoadSafety portal

You can now easily manage all your driver services, tests, permits and licences online on MyRoadSafety.