Six month rule

How long you need to hold a learner permit before you can apply for a test

What is it

First-time learner permit holders (in certain categories) must wait six months after the date of issue of the particular licence category before they can sit their driving test. In the past, some people took the test shortly after getting their first learner permit and research has shown that the more practice and experience a person gets, the better a driver they become.

This is particularly important if you have added a licence category to your permit as it is the date the category was added that is relevant not the date that your permit was issued.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have checked your permit details and that you are eligible to sit the test.

If you apply and turn up to sit your test and you are not eligible then you will lose your fee and have to re apply 

Who does it apply to

It applies to first-time learner permit holders for:

  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • works vehicles (eg, tractors, JCBs)

Exemptions

Where you opt to take Progressive Access (where you have held the lower category for a minimum of 2 years)  from category A1 to A2 or Category A2 to A and wish to take a driving test, you do not need to wait six months to sit the driving test.

A holder of a current full driving licence from another country (jurisdiction) for more than six months is exempt from this requirement, provided you forward a current original driving licence and a letter of entitlement from the relevant licensing authority in that country to the:

Customer Service Manager
Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo
drivingtest@rsa.ie
1890 40 60 40

Applicants are advised to forward their original licence by registered post.

A letter of entitlement  refers to a copy of a driver record with details of name, address, date of birth, driver number, date of expiry of licence and class of licence to include  details of what that class refers to.

How do I know when my six months are up

If you look at your learner permit you will see the code 991 on the restriction column and then also the date that the permit was issued for your particular licence category  -  You need to add 6 months to this date of issue.

Example:

In the image below the date of issue is the 1st of January 2010, the holder of this permit cannot sit their driving test until on or after the 1st of July 2010 i.e six months after the date shown in the “ó/from” column 
  six month rule image of learner permit 

In the example below, you can see a plastic card learner permit which has been issued on the 30th  January 2013, and the holder of the learner permit cannot sit their driving test until on or after the 30th July 2013 i.e. six months after the date of issue of the category.

plastic learner permit 

Why was it introduced...

Research shows that the longer a learner is supervised while driving, the less likely they are to be involved in a collision.

The rule was introduced into the Rules of the Road in 2007

It allows a learner driver to become a more experienced, and therefore most likely a safer, driver.