The process to obtain your Driver’s License
The first step to getting your driving licence is to pass the Theory Test. This is a computer based test of general road safety knowledge and motoring legislation.
The test is designed to check knowledge of topics such as:
• Rules of the Road
• Risk perception
• Hazard awareness
• Good driving behaviour.
You will have a chance to take a practice session on the day before starting on the actual test.
If you have special needs please contact the Driver Theory Service and explain your requirements.
You can view more information and book your test online on the official Theory test site. You must pass this test before you can apply for your learner permit.
Before you can start taking driving lessons, you will need to obtain a Learner permit.
To apply, you must be aged 17 or over and have passed the theory test. Learner permits are processed and issued by NDLS. You can download the application form here.
A Driving Test is designed to determine that you:
- Know the Rules of the Road.
- Possess the knowledge and skill to drive competently in accordance with those rules.
- Drive with proper regard for the safety and convenience of other road users.
Prior to your driving test you should study the Rules of the Road (pdf), a booklet which is published by the Road Safety Authority and is available from bookshops, priced €5.
It is also a good idea to practice driving as much as possible on all types of roads and in all types of traffic situations.
This will improve your driving techniques and build your confidence.
On the day of your test, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the test centre with a few minutes to spare.
If your first learner permit was issued since 4 April 2011 you should bring your logbook from the Essential Driver Training (EDT) you have completed.
When your name is called and you are brought into the examination room, your test officially begins.
Technical checks of vehicle
If you are doing a driving test for categories B (car), EB (car with trailer) and W (work vehicle) you must explain some technical checks as part of your test.
After you have answered some questions on the Rules of the Road, the instructor will bring you out to your vehicle. You will be asked how a technical check would be performed on 3 of the following: Steering, horn, brakes, tyres, lights, reflectors, indicators, engine oil, coolant, windscreen washer fluid.
Access to these items will require you demonstrate how to open the bonnet and to close it securely.
Read more detailed information on technical checks for all motor vehicles here.
If you are doing a test for categories C1, C, EC1 and EC (truck and trucks with trailers) you will be asked how a technical check would be peformed on three of the same items above.
Access to these items will require you to open and securely close the bonnet, to open/close panels etc.
Practical test of skills
Your driving test in Ireland will take approximately 30 minutes to complete (depending on traffic).
The aspects of your driving that will be assessed include:
• Road positioning.
• Overtaking and passing.
• Anticipation and observation.
• Use of mirrors and signals, progress; speed.
• Compliance with traffic lights, road signs and road markings and proper use of your vehicle controls.
At some point during your test, the examiner will ask you to demonstrate your hand signals. You can also expect to make a number of left and right turns.
You will be given clear instructions throughout the test, but if you don’t understand something, ask the examiner to repeat it. Do not panic if you make a mistake during the test. It may not be as serious as you think and it may not mean you have failed.
You will be assessed in the following situations: moving off, driving in traffic, stopping, reversing round a corner, a turn about, a hill-start and parking.