Obtaining a driving licence is about to become a lot easier for emigrants returning to Ireland 9 months ago

Obtaining a driving licence is about to become a lot easier for emigrants returning to Ireland

Shane Ross announced the introduction of the new measures on Wednesday.

Emigrants returning to Ireland will find it easier to obtain an Irish driving licence in the future following the introduction of new measures designed to speed up the process for returning emigrants and people taking up residence in Ireland.

Under the new measures, people who take up residence in Ireland and hold a full driving licence which is not exchangeable for an Irish licence will now be required to take six rather than 12 lessons before taking the test, significantly reducing the time and cost to individuals in the process.

Currently, people who take up residence in Ireland and are holders of a full driving licence which is not exchangeable for an Irish one must go through the full driver learning process, including a mandatory 12 Essential Driver Training (EDT) lessons.

As it stands, visitors to Ireland from any state outside the EU/EEA (European Economic Area) with a current and valid driving licence can drive in Ireland for up to a year.

On taking up 'normal residence' in Ireland, however, motorists must either exchange their driving licence or apply for a driving licence in Ireland.

Ireland has agreements with certain countries/states that designates them as recognised states for the purposes of driving licence exchange, but the United States or certain parts of Canada, for example, do not currently have that agreement with Ireland.

The list of states recognised by Ireland and more details on how to exchange a licence can be accessed here.

Commenting on the introduction of the measures, Shane Ross said: “As Minister, I have a responsibility for public safety, and it is right that we should have tests to make sure that the people we licence to drive on our roads are qualified to do so.

"At the same time, many experienced drivers are currently made to go through a whole range of mandatory lessons before taking the Irish driving test when it is clear that this is not necessary. I do believe that a number of lessons will help people adjust to specifically Irish rules and make it easier for them to pass the test, but making them go through a complete 12-lesson programme designed for beginners does not make sense.”

“I am sure some will ask why I did not remove the requirement to take any lessons in these cases,” Ross added.

“This was an option I considered, but the evidence shows that taking some lessons will be very useful preparation and improve people’s chances of passing the tests first time. We also have to remember that people who have very safe driving records overseas may not be familiar with Irish rules, and taking some lessons will help them to adjust.”