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What licensing rules apply when driving in other countries

EU and EEA countries

You are still required to produce your own licence for inspection when hiring a vehicle overseas; an IDP should be seen as a translation of your licence and not a replacement.

All countries in the EU benefit from a ‘mutual recognition’ agreement in respect of driving licences.

Under the agreement, Irish driving licence holders can drive in any EU country on their existing Irish driving licence so long as it’s current and valid. Likewise, people from those countries can drive in Ireland on a current, valid licence.

An Irish licence holder must be age 18 with a full licence to drive in most EU Countries.  The following countries (Austria, Germany, Hungary, United Kingdom and Norway) allow a full licence holder to drive at the age of 17. 

Other countries

When driving in non-EU or EEA countries, an international driving permit (IDP) is required. This is recognised internationally and allows you to drive in most but not all countries across the world.

An IDP is available to Irish residents with a current full Irish driving licence. The permit is valid for one year from date of issue.

EU/EEA licence holders who are resident in Ireland may also apply for an IDP here.

There are two types of IDP:

  • 1949 UN Convention IDP. More common type; recognised in most countries
  • 1926 UN Convention IDP. Needed for driving in Brazil, Iraq, Nigeria and Somalia

How to get an IDP

To obtain an IDP you will need:

  • Valid full Republic of Ireland driver licence
  • Passport-size photo
  • Completed application form
  • Fee – €5.08

If you require both types of permit, please send two photographs, two completed applications and double the fee to €10.16.

If you are from an EU/EEA country and possess a full valid driving licence from your home country, you will need to supply a copy of a utility bill (electricity, telephone or gas) showing your address in Ireland. You will also be required to sign a declaration of residency on the application form.

Apply to:

56 Drury Street
Dublin 2
Tel:(01) 617-9988

Who is ineligible?

You cannot be issued with an IDP in Ireland if:

  • You have a learner permit (provisional driving licence)
  • Your driving licence is due to expire within six months
  • You are from outside the EU or EEA.

Where can I use my IDP?

You can use your permit in any of the countries that have signed the 1926 or 1949 UN Convention on road traffic. In addition, many other countries that are not signatories to the 1949 convention recognise the IDP and accept it in their territory.

A list of countries that recognise IDPs is available online but you should contact your embassy or consulate in advance of travel to confirm whether or not an IDP is recognised by the country you will be visiting.

Note: even when you hold an IDP, you should always carry your own driving permit when travelling abroad, as you may be required to produce this licence for inspection, for example, when hiring a car abroad.