Not sure what you need to do to get started learning to drive?
This page details all the procedures you need to follow to get you on the
road and learning to drive.
Anybody over the age of 17 is entitled by law to learn to drive a car provided they hold a learners permit (or 16 if they wish to drive a works vehicle such as a tractor). In order to get a learners permit you need to complete the following stages
- Theory Test
- Eyesight Report
- Physically receive the Learners permit
The Driving Theory Test
The first step in learning to drive is to study for and pass the Drivers Theory test.
A comprehensive list of all Questions and Answers is found in The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers, Motorcycles, Cars and Work Vehicles.
The Book is available in 3 formats : Book, CD Rom and Online and can be purchased directly from the official Driving Theory store at www.dttstore.prometric.com .
Book : €18
CD Rom : €22
Online: 1 Month €22 3 Months €27 6 Months €40
We would strongly recommend having a physical copy of the book that you can quickly refer back to throughout your learning and beyond. It is also handy to have on the day of your driving test to help refresh the Road Signs while in the waiting room.
The Online format allows you to sit multiple tests and will give your scores in total as well as broken down by category:
- Control of the Vehicle
- Legal Matter/Rules of the Road
- Managing Risk
- Safe and Responsible Driving
- Technical Matters
If you are particularly weak in any category you can focus solely on questions within this category until you improve.
You can book the Theory Test online at www.theorytest.ie. You will need to select Category B (Car) as well as a location. There are 40 test centres throughout Ireland and are listed in Appendix A .
To sit the test you must have one of the following forms of ID
- Public Services Card (with photograph)
- Passports (valid for international use only or up to maximum 12 months expired)
- Irish Passport Cards (in good condition)
- National Identity Card from EU/EEA Member States or Switzerland
- Irish Category B (Car) or Category A (Motorcycle) Learner Permit or Full Driving Licence (in good condition)
Non Nationals must prove they have residency entitlement by providing one of the following:
- Public services card -where place of birth or nationality is within EU/EEA/Switzerland.
- Irish/UK (long-form) birth certificate or adoption certificate
- EU/EEA/Switzerland Driving Licence or Irish Learner permit which shows place of birth as within EU/EEA/Switzerland
- Certificate of entry in the Irish Foreign Births Register
- Irish passport/passport card (current or expired by no more than 12 months)
- Current passport for all EU/EEA/Swiss citizens (valid for international use)
- Current national identity card for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
- Irish certificate of naturalisation
- Current certificate of registration (Garda National Immigration Bureau/GNIB card) or Irish residence permit (IRP) for non- EU/EEA/Swiss citizens (The GNIB and IRP cards must be presented with a current passport valid for international use or a Public Services Card)
You should turn up for the theory test 30 minutes before the test is due to begin. The test is done on a computer and you have 45 minutes to answer 40 questions. You need to get 35 correct in order to pass. If successful you will get a pass certificate before you leave. If unsuccessful you can resit and there are no limits on the number of times you can sit the test. If you have difficulty with English an interpreter can be arranged in advance.
In addition to passing the Theory Test you also need to pass a basic eye test. Print out a D.502 form from online (Appendix 2) and bring it along to any opticians. Ask them for a Driving Test Eye Test and they will know what you need.
The law says that to drive you must:
- Have a visual acuity (with corrective lenses, where necessary) of at least 0.5 (6/12) when using both eyes together
- Your horizontal field of vision must be 150° or more
- If you have sight in one eye only, you must have a visual acuity (with corrective lenses, where necessary) of at least 0.6 (6/10), an unrestricted field of vision in the eye concerned and your monocular vision must have existed for enough time to allow you to adapt.
If you need to wear corrective lenses to meet these standards, your optician or GP must tick the form in the appropriate box. A Code 01 will then be added to the back of your Learners Permit to say you must wear Glasses/Lenses while driving. Failure to do so can result in an on the spot fine.
To obtain your Learner’s Permit you must attend an NDLS centre in person. There are 35 NDLS Centres and you can locate your nearest one at www.ndls.ie . You can make an appointment online to secure a place or attend on the day and wait in a queue. They always have an Administrator specially for walk in cases so you will be seen that day but do be prepared to wait especially on a Saturday. If “walking in” it’s best to go early in the morning when they first open at 9am to avoid the crowds.
For Identification and Proof of Address purposes you should bring along your Public Services Card. If you do not have one then you must supply the following:
- Photographic ID,
- Evidence of PPSN,
- Evidence of address (where your address is as provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection DEASP) and
- Evidence of residency entitlement (where your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union / European Economic Area/Switerland).
A List of acceptable documents are available on WWW.NDLS.IE
You must complete the Learner Permit D201 Form which is available online or there are copies at the NDLS Centre. Upon entry you need to register your attendance and wait for your number to be called.
Once everything has been completed it takes 3 weeks to receive your Learner’s Permit. As you must have a licence on you at all times while driving you are unable to drive until you physically receive the Learners Permit. Driving Instructors will check your Permit at the beginning of the lesson and failure to produce it will result in the lesson being cancelled and may still get charged. The NDLS Receipt is inadequate.
EDT Driving Lessons
Once you have received your Learners Permit you can now commence driving lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor. We will need to check the permit before the lesson starts to confirm identity which is why the full licence must be used and not just the NDLS receipt. Learners must complete 12 mandatory EDT Driving Lessons and wait 6 months before they can sit the driving test.
If you have a licence in another jurisdiction you can avail of the reduced EDT system which is 6 EDT Driving Lessons instead of 12. You are also exempt from the 6 month rule. Further information is available on our EDT Driving Lessons Page.