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Around 17,000 UK driver licences in Ireland need to be traded in before the end of the year

The NDLS is expecting a surge in applications in the final weeks before the transition period ends on 31 December.

Image: Shutterstock/Bartosz Zakrzewski

AROUND 17,000 HOLDERS of British driving licences resident in Ireland are being asked to exchange their driver licences for Irish ones as soon as possible, as they expect a last-minute surge in applications in the next two and a half months.

At 11pm on 31 December, the Brexit transition period ends and the UK will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. After this period a number of changes come into force, including British driver licences no longer being legally recognised by Irish authorities.

There are an estimated 70,000 UK licence holders resident in Ireland.  

In response to a Parliamentary Question posed by Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond, the Minister for Transport said that they expect that 10,000-17,000 people will exchange their British licences to an Irish one by the end of December.

Since 2018, the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) said that around 53,000 UK licences have been exchanged for the Irish version.

In a statement, the Rathdown TD said that “a potential 17,000 UK licence holders [are] vulnerable to losing their driving privileges come January”.

It is vital that anyone who holds a UK licence in Ireland exchanges it as a matter of priority.

This will not impact on those visiting Ireland, Richmond said.

How to exchange your licence

Drivers do not have to resit their test in order to exchange their UK licence.

To exchange your licence, you need to fill out a licence application form and present this, a €55 fee and your UK licence at any of the 36 NDLS centre. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you must book an appointment with an NDLS centre.

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The NDLS has said that it is important to take steps now to exchange your UK/NI licence as there may be further delays caused by a last-minute increase in applications, plus extra demand on the service caused by Covid-19.

“Exchanging your UK licence is an easy and straightforward way to protect yourself from the impact of Brexit come January,” Richmond said.

The Road Safety Authority is running a public information campaign in a last-minute attempt to encourage those who need to exchange their licence to do so soon.

For more information, visit the RSA website here and the NDLS site here.

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