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Professional drivers

1. Prepare

There are two routes to becoming an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) in Ireland:

Route 1: Successfully complete the  3-stage RSA qualification process: driving theory test; practical driving test; and instruction ability test. Each stage has to be passed before going to the next stage.

Route 2: Demonstrate that your existing qualifications and/or experience satisfy the ADI standard set by the RSA. You will need to submit original qualifications to the RSA for review. These will be returned to you by registered post. 

Passing (or gaining exemption from) all stages of the qualification process will entitle you to have your name entered on the ADI Register. An ADI Registrar based in the RSA will be responsible for and will oversee your registration process.

To satisfy the Registrar that you are a person of good repute and have your name entered on the ADI Register, you must:

  • be normally resident in Ireland to apply to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)
  • be medically fit to drive
  • hold a current full, valid driving licence for at least two years in each licence category for which you want to give instruction, e.g. category B (car and light van), category D (bus), etc.
  • only offer driving instruction in the licence categories for which you hold a full, valid driving licence for at least two years and for which you are an ADI
  • carry your full, valid driving licence and RSA ADI permit with you at all times while giving instruction
  • be tax compliant and in possession of a tax clearance certificate from Revenue (or a 6-digit tax clearance access number) so that the RSA can view and confirm your certificate

The ADI Information Pack

The RSA has produced an ADI Information Pack to help all ADI candidates know what's needed to become an Approved Driving Instructor. It covers:

  • ADI Assessment Guide - how ADI performance is judged
  • standards and applying for registration - to check if your qualifications comply with RSA standards or if you are exempt from either all or part of the stages of the ADI registration process
  • The Driving Instructor's Handbook - a professional resource for ADI candidates considering applying to register as a driving instructor
  • RSA Approved Instructor Booklet - information for qualified instructors
  • driver theory - sample questions from stage one of the RSA qualification process
  • driving test information - marking guidelines, preparation, check test and vehicle standards
  • ricability car controls - a guide to adaptions on vehicles suitable for older or disabled drivers
  • Essential Driver Training (EDT) and Initial Basic Training (IBT) booklets - information on how learner driver and learner motorcyclist training courses work
  • replacing lost EDT and IBT stamps and lost logbooks - pre-written forms to help replace lost documentation.
Open our ADI Information Pack here

Recognition of existing qualifications

If you are already working in a training capacity, it is an established principle that you may have reached a certain standard of competence in relation to the skills needed to deliver driver instruction. The RSA has developed a system whereby previous qualifications can be benchmarked against the RSA ADI qualification standard in a fair, open and transparent manner.


Prepare the documents you need

Make sure you have the right form of identity to bring with you to the stage 1 theory test. Otherwise you won't be able to take the test and will lose your test fee.

If you're doing your theory test at home your ID will be captured via webcam during the check in process.

Only the following forms of identity are acceptable:

  • a full, valid driving licence
  • public services card (with photograph)
  • passports (valid for international use only or up to maximum 12 months expired)
  • Irish passport cards (valid for EU/EEA travel, not expired and in good condition)
  • national identity card from EU/EEA member states or Switzerland

You must be normally resident in Ireland to apply for an ADI permit or be able to prove that you were born in or have nationality of the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland or were granted residency status in Ireland.

Prepare your vehicle

Your vehicle must:

If you can demonstrate that you have prior relevant driving and driving instruction experience or a relevant comparable qualification, the RSA Approved Driving Instructor Registrar can allow an exemption from all or part of the three-stage qualification process.

The RSA maintains a list of specialist trainers who can help you train to become a qualified Approved Driving Instructor.

Read more about vehicle safety and maintenance standards.

Am I exempt from any of the three stages of the ADI test process?

This depends on your qualifications or previous experience. You will need to demonstrate to the ADI Registrar that your qualifications and/or experience meets the RSA's standards for ADIs. This process includes providing any results, accreditations, awards, certificates or marking sheets from accredited organisations.

To assess the value of your existing qualifications, you would typically be expected to supply the ADI Registrar with the following details:

Stage 1 - theory test

  • format and content of the theory test undertaken
  • result of the theory test and copy of certificate
  • person/organisation carrying out the theory test
  • the qualifications or accreditations of the person or organisation that carried out the theory test.

Stage 2 - driving test

  • assessment method and weighting of skills on test
  • copy of marking sheet from the driving test
  • the qualifications or accreditations of the tester or organisation that carried out the driving test
  • driving test pass certificate.

Stage 3 - instruction ability test

  • marking sheet from the test 
  • assessment method used for the test
  • what qualification or accreditation of the examiner/organisation that carried out the driving instruction test
  • instruction ability test pass certificate.

Where the Registrar is satisfied that your qualification or experience is at least equal to that of the RSA ADI standard, the Registrar can allow an exemption from either all or part of the 3-stage qualification process.

Read more about applying for exemption by downloading our ADI information pack above.