Which foreign driving license is valid in Ireland?

Foreign drivers coming from EU countries and EEA countries can drive in Ireland with their foreign driving license provided that it is current. Once the foreign license expires, it can then be exchanged for a full Irish driving license. Application for a license exchange must be made within one year of the foreign license’s expiry date. Foreign driving license exchange is also allowed for foreign drivers coming from one of the following ‘recognised states’:

  • Australia
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland

Foreign drivers that hold licenses issued by any other countries (such as the United States or Canada for example) must go through the full licensing procedure for Ireland. You must first pass the Driving Theory Test, then apply for and receive a Learner Permit, complete the Essential Driver Training course, and finally pass the Irish driving test.

Once you have passed the driving test in Ireland, you can apply for a full Irish driving license. During this time, however, you can drive on your foreign driving license provided that it is valid and current, that you have the proper insurance in place, and that you have not been in the country for longer than 12 months.

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