Car and light van - B
Steps to become a car or light van 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 learner permit. You should also check what documents you need to book a theory test, familiarise yourself with all driving test requirements and make sure your car is roadworthy and test ready.
Before you can apply for your learner permit, you must pass a theory test. This checks your knowledge of topics such as the Rules of the Road, risk perception, eco-driving, hazard awareness, and safe driving behaviour. The driver theory test is computer-based and user-friendly.
A learner permit allows you to drive on all public roads, except motorways, for the purposes of learning to drive a car and only when accompanied by someone who has held a full, valid driving licence in the same category for more than two years.
Essential Driver Training (EDT) is a training programme that car learner drivers have to complete. It involves 12 one-hour sessions with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), or 6 sessions if you're eligible for reduced EDT. You must hold a first-time learner permit for at least six months and complete all EDT sessions before you can take the driving test.
The driving test is conducted at one of many driving test centres across Ireland and takes about 65 minutes. It checks your knowledge of the Rules of the Road and your ability to drive safely by yourself, and with care for other road users and road conditions. Read more about the driving test and how to prepare for it.
When you pass the driving test you're 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. You can apply for your driving licence online or in person at any National Driving Licence Service (NDLS) centre.
Passing your driving test is just the first step in becoming a truly safe and competent driver. As a novice driver you must display N-plates on your car for the first two years and continue to build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions. We offer a range of learning materials that will help you develop your road safety awareness and skills.