Drivers must exchange UK driving licences for Irish

Time is running out for Irish residents driving with a UK (including Northern Ireland ) driver's licence to exchange it for an Irish licence.

October 31 is the cut-off, coinciding with the date the UK leaves the EU, and if it does so without a deal, then a UK driving licence will no longer be valid for those holders living in Ireland.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA ) is warning UK licence holders to exchange them now to ensure they have a valid driving licence when the UK leaves the EU.

If drivers wait till close to the UK exit date of October 31, they may face lengthy delays in exchanging a UK licence, and the National Driver Licensing Service cannot guarantee drivers will have a valid licence to drive in Ireland.

"For this reason those living in Ireland who hold a UK driving licence are strongly urged to act now and exchange their licence," it says.

To date in 2019 more than 30,000 UK licences have been exchanged for an Irish driving licence by the NDLS. This compares to 6,000 for the whole of 2018. It can take 30 days to process a licence exchange for any country, and the exchange of UK licences for Irish licences is currently taking 10-15 days.

To exchange a licence drivers must complete a licence application form and present this, the correct fee and the UK licence at any NDLS centre. An appointment can be made online atwww.ndls.ie to attend any of our 36 NDLS centres, and there is also a walk in

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, says Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will have a significant impact on Ireland.

"It requires planning by Government, business and citizens. The fact is a UK licence holder resident here must exchange their UK licence for an Irish one. It is vital this is done before the UK leaves the EU because under current EU arrangements a UK licence holder resident here in Ireland has an entitlement to exchange the licence for an Irish driving licence. This entitlement will expire on 31 October if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.”

In the vast majority of cases, when exchanging a UK licence, the driver will have all valid licence categories on their driver licence included on the Irish licence. There are some limited exceptions.

Visiting Ireland on a UK licence

UK visitors to Ireland are not affected, and there is no reason that they will not be able to drive in Ireland for holidays with their existing driving licence. They should not be required to carry an International Driving Permit in order to drive here, just ensure to carry a UK driving licence with them.

The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.

More information on driver licences and Brexit can be found on www.ndls.ie and on gov.ie/brexit, the Irish Government’s website to help businesses and citizens around the country to prepare for Brexit.

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