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Agreement signed to allow continued exchange of UK driving licence for people living in Ireland

After 11pm, UK licences used by those living in Ireland will no longer be valid.

File image of driving licence forms in Ireland.
File image of driving licence forms in Ireland.
Image: Leah Farrell

THE TRANSPORT MINISTER Eamon Ryan has signed an agreement with the UK to allow people holding a UK driving licence but living in Ireland to continue to be able to swap for an Irish licence after tonight. 

At 11pm, 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 that British driver licences used by those living in the State will no longer be legally recognised by Irish authorities.

As of October, an estimated 10,000-17,000 people were expected to make an application at the last minute to exchange their British driving licence for an Irish one. 

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

The mechanism that has allowed for the recognition and exchange of UK licences for an Irish licence expires tonight.

This evening, Eamon Ryan confirmed that he has signed an agreement with the UK to allow this exchange to continue.

“This agreement will be of particular benefit to anyone planning to live in Ireland as it will allow them to exchange their UK licence for an Irish driving licence,” the Department of Transport said in a statement.

It will also allow anyone who has not exchanged their UK licence in time, before the deadline of 11pm on the 31 December, to exchange it under this new agreement.

However, anyone living in Ireland who has not yet exchanged their UK licence will no longer have a valid licence to drive here after tonight’s deadline.

The UK licence will only be valid for exchange purposes and the department said “it is imperative that it be exchanged immediately”. 

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The change only applied to UK licence holders living in the Republic of Ireland, not people living in Northern Ireland or people visiting or driving in the State. 

People with an Irish driving licence who are resident in the UK don’t need to take any action as the UK accepts any EU member state driving licence as valid. 

People with a UK licence either currently living in Ireland or who intend to move here can exchange for an Irish licence by visiting

- With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha.

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