Learning to Drive – Getting Started

Learning to Drive – Getting Started

‘Learning to Drive’ can be a stressful but equally rewarding experience for many people.

Getting Started

‘Learning to Drive’ can be a stressful but equally rewarding experience for many people. It’s also different to the way somebody would be used to learning in school or college. It is carried out on a ‘one to one’ basis with a professional trainer, which in itself can be a challenging situation for some. What is being learned is a very important life skill and unlike theoretical knowledge learning a practical skill requires a different approach.

People have different learning styles and trainers need to be able to identify each individual’s personal learning style. This is in order to make the training a success and as cost effective as possible. It is with that in mind that Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) develop individual training and lesson plans to suit each individual learner. Some learners are known as ‘Kinestetic’ type learners and learn best from training methods that include ‘hands on’ activity. Such learners may require more practical experience. Therefore, it is important for an ADI to recognise this and utilise a training plan that involves more practice.

Other learners may be ‘Auditory’ and respond best to training methods that focus on spoken words and sounds. Their ADIs may spend more time explaining things rather than demonstrating. ‘Visual’ learners respond well to methods of training that include strong visual components so plenty of demonstration may be required. Other learners respond best when they read or write something and ADIs may set written work to help them progress through their learning to drive experience.

Whatever type of learner you are you will need time to practice outside the formal lessons, so it helps to be aware of your learning style and be guided by your ADI as to how best to practice. By practising what you have learned you will be able to develop and hone your driving skills. It will also help you to become a safer and more socially responsible driver.

Getting your Learner Permit

A learner permit is issued to drivers who are learning to drive.

To apply for a learner permit you must be able to demonstrate that you are normally resident in Ireland; this generally means that you live here at least 185 days each calendar year because of work or personal ties. If you are studying or working abroad you may still be considered normally resident in Ireland provided you return here regularly. Where a person lives some part of the year outside of Ireland the question of personal, family and community ties helps determine whether or not you are normally resident. You can apply to renew a learner permit up to three months before the expiry date of your learner permit. If your licence has expired for five years or more you must start the application process afresh and take a driver theory test, mandatory driving lessons and a driving test.

If you are an applicant for a learner permit you will be required to verify your identity as part of the face to face application process in an NDLS centre. This means that you will have to submit documentation to prove your identity, your address & your PPSN, as well as confirmation of your country of birth/residency entitlement.

How to apply

1. Presenting a PSC at the NDLS centre will simplify your application process as the PSC will satisfy the following requirements:

  • Photographic ID,
  • Evidence of PPSN,
  • Evidence of address (where your address is as provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection DEASP) and
  • Evidence of residency entitlement   (where your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union / European Economic Area/Switzerland).


2. If you do not have a PSC you are required to present documentation at NDLS centre to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Photographic ID,
  • Evidence of PPSN,
  • Evidence of address and
  • Evidence of residency entitlement.
  • List of acceptable documents are available here.

Note that possession of a public services card will enable applicants to renew their driving licence / learner permit online as part of a new online service that will be rolled out to customers in the coming months.

To apply for a first-time learner permit

  • Fully completed application form for a learner permit D201
  • Original driver theory test pass certificate (dated within two years)
  • Photographic I.D.
  • Proof of your personal public services number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of address dated within the last six months is required if your current address is not recorded on your permit and it differs from that provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if and when you applied for a PSC
  • Evidence of residency entitlement, (if you hold a public services card and your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union/European Economic Area, it is adequate to present the PSC)
  • Fully completed NDLS eyesight report form, dated within one month
  • Fully completed NDLS medical report form, dated within one month, if required in your case
  • Evidence of certificate of professional competence (CPC), if required
  • Application fee of €35.00

Your photograph and signature will be captured electronically at the NDLS centre.

To renew a permit

  • Fully completed application form for a learner permit D201
  • Current or most recent learner permit
  • If you do not have your most recent learner permit in your possession, you must complete the lost or stolen permit declaration on the application form, have it witnessed by a member of An Garda Síochána and submit it with alternative photographic I.D.
  • If you are applying for a third or subsequent learner permit you must provide confirmation that you have applied for a driving test in that category or that you have failed a driving test in that category in the last two years (statement of driving test outcome)
  • Proof of your personal public services number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of address dated within the last six months is required if your current address is not recorded on your permit and it differs from that provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if and when you applied for a PSC
  • Evidence of residency entitlement
  • Fully completed NDLS medical report form, dated within one month, if required in your case
  • Application fee of €35.00
  • You can apply for a learner permit up to three months before the expiry date of the learner permit.

Your photograph and signature will be captured electronically at the NDLS centre.

Learner Permits by category

Learner Permits by category – View PDF

Learner Permits by count

Learner Permits by count – View PDF