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Learner Drivers

Driving licence categories in Ireland

To legally drive a vehicle, you will need to obtain the relevant driving licence and ensure that it remains valid.

There are currently 15 different licence categories covering all vehicle types. Licence categories for group 1 vehicles (cars, motorcycles and works vehicles) are valid for 10 years. However, licences to drive group 2 vehicles (buses and trucks) need to be renewed every 5 years.

The table below explains each of the 15 licence categories as well as the minimum age at which you can obtain a learner permit for each category.

 

Category

Vehicle Type

Minimum Age*

AM

Mopeds and light quadricycles.

16 years

A1

Motorcycles with an engine capacity not exceeding 125 cc, with a power rating not exceeding 11 kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1 kW/kg. Motor tricycles with a power rating not exceeding 15 kW.

16 years

A2

Motorcycles with a power rating not exceeding 35 kW, with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2 kW/kg and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.

18 years

A

Motorcycles and motor tricycles.

24 years or 20 with progressive access (motorbikes)

 21 years (motor tricycles)

B

Vehicles (other than motorcycles, mopeds, work vehicles or land tractors) having a MAM1 not exceeding 3,500 kg, designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver.

The vehicle may tow a trailer (a) where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg or (b) where the MAM1 of the trailer exceeds 750 kg the combined MAM1 of the towing vehicle and the trailer is not greater than 3,500 kg.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles with a MAM1 exceeding 3,500 kg. but not exceeding 4,250 kg. for the transport of goods operating without a trailer by holders of a category B driving licence which was issued at least two years before, provided that the mass in excess of 3,500 kg. is due exclusively to the excess of mass of the propulsion system in relation to the propulsion system of a vehicle of the same dimensions, which is equipped with a conventional internal combustion engine with positive ignition or compression ignition, and provided that the cargo capacity is not increased in relation to the same vehicle.

A licence with code 96 permits the combination of drawing vehicle and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer may exceed 750 kg and where the MAM1 of the towing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 4,250 kg. Quadricycles (other than those covered by AM) are also covered by this category.

17 years

BE

Combination of drawing vehicles in category B and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 3,500 kg.

17 years

W

Work vehicles and land tractor with or without a trailer.

16 years

C

Vehicles (other than work vehicles or land tractors) having a MAM1exceeding 3,500 kg, designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.

21 years or
18 with CPC

CE

Combination of drawing vehicles in category C and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.

21 years or
18 with CPC

C1

Vehicles in category C having a MAM1 weight not exceeding 7,500 kg, designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.

18 years

C1E

Combination of drawing vehicles in category C1 and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg and where the MAM1 of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12,000 kg.

Combination of drawing vehicles in category B with trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 3,500 kg and where the MAM1 of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12,000 kg.

18 years

D

Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.

24 years or
21 years with CPC

DE

Combination of drawing vehicles in category D and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.

24 years or
21 years with CPC

D1

Vehicles in category D designed and constructed for the carriage of not more than 16 passengers in addition to the driver with a maximum length not exceeding 8 metres and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.

21 years

D1E

Combination of drawing vehicles in category D1 and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.

21 years

Notes:

Minimum Age* refers to the minimum age at which you can hold a learner permit in that category.

MAM1 - Maximum Authorised Mass – refers to gross vehicle weight (g.v.w.) and it is usually displayed on a metal plate attached to the vehicle by the manufacturer.

Tricycle: Where a person had an entitlement to the category B full licence prior to 19 January 2013 that also covered them to ride tricycles, they still retain that entitlement. All first full licences issued for the category B from 19 January 2013 would not have this entitlement and therefore they must take out the appropriate bike category to ride a trike. The appropriate bike category will depend on the cc of the tricycle.

Moped: Where a person was issued the category B full licence prior to 21 October 2006 that also covered them to ride mopeds and therefore are entitled to the moped category AM provided the category B licence has not expired for more than 10 years.