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New regulations to make it easier for returning emigrants to get an Irish driving licence

People with non-exchangable full licences will now be able to take the driving test after six rather than 12 EDT lessons.

Image: Shutterstock/Ditty_about_summer

NEW REGULATIONS HAVE been signed which will make it easier for returning emigrants and others to obtain an Irish driving licence. 

Currently, people taking up residence in Ireland, including returning emigrants, who have a driving licence from another EU country, or from a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement on the exchange of driving licences, can exchange their licence for an Irish equivalent. 

However, people with a full licence from a non-EU country with which Ireland doesn’t have a licence exchange agreement are required to go through the driver learning process again here. 

In short, people who fall under this criteria have to undertake a mandatory course of 12 Essential Driver Training (EDT) lessons, alongside the driving test. 

According to the Department of Transport, this is done in the interest of public safety. 

It does note, however, that this system is both costly and time-consuming for returning emigrants and others. 

New regulations

Following discussions with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Minister for the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon, Minister for Transport Shane Ross has now signed regulations into law to shorten the number of lessons needed for people with non-EU country licences. 

People with a full but non-exchangable licence will now be able to take the driving test after a reduced programme of six rather than 12 EDT lessons. 

Due to the need for changes in the RSA systems and to prepare driving instructors for the new arrangements, the new measures will take effect from 21 January 2019. 

“I am very pleased to be able to bring in this measure. While it is not just about returning emigrants, I know that many returning emigrants who are not able to exchange their driving licences have found the process of getting an Irish driving licence very frustrating, as well as costly and time-consuming,” Ross said. 

Ross noted that some people would like the new regulations to go further, but added that he is “convinced that requiring some lessons will help people to prepare for the test and improve their chances of passing at the first go, as well as helping them to adjust to specifically Irish road traffic rules”. 

“This will benefit a growing number of people, as our economy improves and more people come here, including returning emigrants.” 

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