For anyone planning to travel around Northern Ireland by road, it is essential to be prepared. You will learn how to get Northern Ireland drivers license. However, if you are planning on driving in Northern Ireland, here you need to know about driving laws, obtaining driving license, renewing, replacing or change of address, duplicate license see below.
How to apply driving licenses in Northern Ireland?
Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) are responsible for driver licensing in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland driving license is made of two parts such as plastic photocard and paper license. Both parts make up your driving license and they will provide documents.
All learner riders must complete Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course before riding a moped or motorcycle on public road. In Northern Ireland, drivers keep to left-hand side of road. It is strictly forbidden to drink and drive. For general information you can visit Northern Ireland official site with https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/driver-licensing/apply-new-or-updated-license
- You full name and date of birth
- your driving license number
- types of vehicles you can drive
- Any penalty points or disqualifications you may have.
What is minimum age for learner driver’s in Northern Ireland?
Driving license requirement in Northern Ireland is 16 years old to have full driving license. You can take theory test once your provisional license becomes valid. You can apply for a provisional license up to three months before your 17th birthday, but the earliest it will become valid is your 17th birthday.
On this date you can legally take your theory test. Minimum age to drive vehicle in Northern Ireland is same as UK. You must be 17 years of age. If you are wishing to hire car you need to be at least 21 years of age. For more details check https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/minimum-ages-and-rules-learner-drivers-and-riders
Cost of Learning to Drive in Northern Ireland
There are different types of driving licenses and details of how to pay. To know more about Fees can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk/the-cost-of-a-driving-license .
- Provisional License – £62.50
- Renewal – £30
- Replace lost or stolen license – £30
Note – Please do not send cash, bank notes or blank postal orders with your application DVA can’t be held responsible if they go missing.
Northern Ireland Learner Driver Rules
When you are just starting to drive there are lots of rules to get your head around, but don’t worry, we have made it easy for you to learn them. Here you known about rules for learning to drive.
Learner drivers in Northern Ireland are being charges nearly twice price for provisional license compared in United Kingdom. Under new rules, learner drivers will be allowed to take lesson on motorways when go by fully qualified driving instructor in dual-controlled card. In Northern Ireland it is only available by post at $62.50. When it comes to renewing full driving license, it costs $30 in Northern Ireland.
Provisional license holders will undergo mandatory minimum learning period of 12 months. New drivers up to age of 24 will not allowed carrying young passengers, except family, for six months after passing driving test.
Northern Ireland – Learner Permit
- Do theory test in northern and get provisional license
- Get driving lesson in republic from an approved instructor
- Learner drivers can drive at night, as long as they are correctly supervised.
- Learner drivers can have passengers as long as front seat passenger seat is occupied by qualified driver.
How new rules will it affect to young people in Northern Ireland?
New law would affect young people are
Drivers will be able to obtain provisional license at 16 ½ years, instead of 17 years. Someone applying at 16 ½ must take full year of training or lessons before practical test can be taken, that means youngest person can have full driving license is 17 ½ years.
- Drivers will have to complete compulsory ‘Learning to drive’ course which involves completing logbook (training record)
- New qualified drivers will have to display plates for 2 years, rather than one.
- Young drivers will face passenger restrictions. For six months after driver (up to 24 years old) passes their test, they will not be allowed to carry passengers between ages of 14-20, unless accompanied by qualified driver over 21 and qualified for more than 3 years.
- There will be lower drink drive limit for period of 2 years for new drivers.
- 45mph speed restriction on L and R drivers will be removed and driving test will be changed to include driving on wider range of roads, including motorways.
Rules for learner’s driver’s in Northern Ireland
More rules for learner driving license rules changed in Northern Ireland. Learner drivers applying for provisional license to drive or passing driving test from this date will need to know new rules, which mostly apply to motorcycle and moped licenses, motorcycle practical test and drivers of buses and Lorries.
Before you learn to drive new vehicle make sure you know about rules and restrictions that apply to you. Different vehicles have different minimum age and restrictions. Before you start to drive you must
- Hold valid provisional driving license for Northern Ireland
- Make sure that any vehicle you drive is insured
It is important to learn safe driving rules from beginning of your driving.
- If you want to practice driving before you have passed your test, you must be go by at least 21 years of age qualified driver who has full driving license for three years.
- In Northern Ireland there are restricted speed limits in place for learner drivers. Speed limit for vehicles displaying “L” Plates is 45 mps.
- As your teenager using your car you should remove these plates while you are driving otherwise these restrictions will apply to you as well. You can find more information on legal requirements of provisional license driver https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/minimum-ages-and-rules-learner-drivers-and-riders
What are general driving rules, laws and regulations in Northern Ireland?
General Northern Ireland driving information rules, laws and regulations in Northern Ireland
- Driving in Northern Ireland is on the left hand side of the road
- Ireland has changed their road signs to metric system, so be aware that distance and speed limit signs will be in kilometres.
- Mobile phones are not permitted while driving vehicle, with exception of hands free system.
- Petrol stations in Northern Ireland open from 8am to 10pm with some stations in major cities open 24 hours. Currently there are no tolls on roads of Northern Ireland
- Seat belts when driving a hire car in Northern Ireland are mandatory.
- Drivers are to carry at all times while driving, valid driver’s license, registration documents and insurance documents.
Northern Ireland provisional driving license
There is separate service if you are resident of Northern Ireland and applying for Northern Ireland provisional license. You cannot apply for Northern Ireland First Provisional driving license online. If you are living in Northern Ireland, then offline process is similar. But there are some differences you can not apply online for provisional driving license in Northern Ireland, so you have to apply by post.
Cost is also higher is £62.50. There is separate service if you are resident of Northern Ireland and applying for Northern Ireland provisional license. There are separate regulations for driving in Northern Ireland, which you can find on website of Northern Ireland government services. You can read more about NI licenses at DVA site https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/apply-provisional-driving-license.
How to get first Provisional License?
You need provisional license while learning to drive motorcycle. You may apply for your provisional car license 2 months before your 17th birthday, but you must not drive until it comes into effect. To obtain provisional license you must be 17 years of age and will have to complete DL1 application form which is available from main Post Office branches http://www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder or MOT test centers.
Once you has obtained Provisional license, learner driver must prepare and start their lessons. You may apply for moped license at age 16. If you apply for first provisional license for tractors/mopeds at 16 you will automatically be granted provisional right for car. You must not drive car until car privilege comes into effect.
What must learner drivers do before they start driving on road?
- Have valid provisional driving license for Northern Ireland.
- Ensure that your car is road-worthy – most vehicles must have valid MOT certificate once they are three years old (there are exceptions, but unless you’re planning to drive taxi, ambulance or large passenger vehicle such as mini-bus, three years is norm)
- Have current road tax
- Arrange proper insurance (preferably in your own name, so you can start earning no claims bonus right away, even while you’re still learning to drive).
- Be able to read new-style number plate from distance of 20 metres (roughly 66 feet) or an old-style plate from 20.5 metres (roughly 67 feet). If you need glasses or contact lenses to meet requirement, you must wear them every time you drive.
How to apply Full Driving License in Northern Ireland?
Once you have passed driving test you must send test pass certificate to us in order to claim you’re new right on your driving license. You must return both parts of your current driving license. If you are unable to return your driving license. Please complete form DL1 (NI) and tell us why in section 10 of DL1 Northern Ireland.
However, if your license was issued on or after 13th June 2011, you may be eligible for automatic issue of your driving license (ADLI). Your Driving Examiner will be able to advise you upon passing your driving test.
‘R’ Plate Restrictions – Cars & Motorcycles
Holder of temporarily restricted license shall shown date on their counterpart
- Display R plates which are clearly visible at front and rear of vehicle and
- Not exceed speed of 45mph when driving vehicle of category or categories shown
What document you need to provide for driving license in Northern Ireland?
If you want to apply for Photocard driving license, you need to provide identification. Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) cannot issue driving license until your identity is confirmed. If you need to provide identity documents, they must be originals. DVA will not accept photocopies or laminated certificates.
Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for License
- If you currently hold Northern Ireland (NI) or UK photocard license, identity documents are not normally required.
- If this is your first Northern Ireland license, or if you are changing your name or correcting your date of birth on your existing license, you must provide valid identity documents
- Full valid current passport in your current name
- valid UK Biometric Residence Permit
- UK or Republic of Ireland birth certificate
- DVA will return your documents within 10 working days, separate from your license. If you don’t receive them, contact DVA customer enquiries. Check proof of identity for driving licence https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/providing-proof-identity-driving-license
What is procedure for Renew your Driving license in Northern Ireland?
In Northern Ireland, driving license will expire every 10 years unless you have medical restricted. There are exceptions for drivers over 60 and for lorry and bus drivers. Before two months, DVA will send you renewal notice called DL1R application for renewal of driving license form. This will be posted to your address held in their records, so it is important that you tell DVA when you change address.
If you apply early to get your new driving license before your existing license expires where you has declared medical condition https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/driver-licensing/medical-conditions-and-driving this application may take longer to process. However, if you have sent valid application before your existing license expires, you can continue to drive and in that case you should not need to contact DVA to check progress.
How to renew your Northern Ireland Driving license by online?
Once you have got your renewal notice, you can apply to renew your driving license online at link below, if you are Northern Ireland resident. This online service will not allow you to renew lorry or bus driving license. These licenses can be renewed by visiting DVA office.
To apply online to renew your car, motorcycle or tractor driving license you will need
- Credit or debit card if payment is needed
- your Northern Ireland driving license number and expiry date both can be found on plastic card of your driving license ‘5’ is driving license number and ‘4b’ expiry date.
- Valid email address
It costs £20, and it can take up to four weeks before your new license is sent to you. You can change your address when renewing your license by online but you cannot change your name online. Check renew your driving license online https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/renew-your-driving-license-online
How to renew your Northern Ireland Driving license by Post?
You can renew your driving license by post. You need to provide following documents. Here’s address for sending renewal applications in Northern Ireland
- Fill in DL1R that you received from DVA in post
- Pay renewal fee
- If your name has changed since you received your last driving license then send original identity documents to confirm this such as your passport in name by which you are known or birth and marriage/civil partnership certificate.
- Provide new passport size photograph and also see new rules https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/photocard-driving-license-explained
Driver Licensing Enquiries, County Hall,
Castlerock Road, Waterside,
Coleraine, BT51 3TB.
For full details of renewing your driving license in Northern Ireland, see Renew your vocational license in Northern Ireland https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/renew-your-vocational-license
How to renew driving license over 70 years of age in Northern Ireland?
If you passed your test you may grant additional privilege to drive medium sized goods vehicles and minibuses with certain restrictions. These are C1 and C1E (8.25 tones), D1 (not for hire or reward) and D1E (not for hire or reward). If you are
- Renewing your license at age 70 or over
- Renewing medically restricted license
Driving licenses sent to applicants aged 70 years or over will normally be valid for up to three years. If you wish to continue driving, you must renew your license. Please submit completed Medical Examination Report (form DLM1) if you wish to retain either of these right. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/renew-your-driving-license-70-plus
How driver’s in Northern Ireland can update their driving license?
DVA have changes to how motorists in Northern Ireland can update their driving license. You have new online licensing services allowing drivers to renew their license, change an address or order duplicate license are now available online. These services are first in series of digital service improvements being offered by Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA). These new online service allow public to being to make these applications online through official site.
How to change of Address or name on Northern Ireland Driving License?
You have changed your name or address on license issued by DVA in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland License is in two parts, such as plastic photocard and paper counterpart. You must tell Driver & vehicle agency (DVA) immediately of any changes to your name, address or your health. You can update your driving license by sending it to DVA for change. And new license will be issued free of charge. Once you have provided proof of identity, you need not to provide it to us again in future.
Keeping your details correct on Northern Ireland Driving license
By informing DVA of your changed details will make sure your records are up to date and all future driving license reminders are sent to your correct address. If you move permanent to another country, DVA cannot register your new address on your Northern Ireland driving license. So you need to contact driving license authority in your country of residence for information on exchanging.
Change your address on driving license by online
Rules for changing your details in diving license are slightly different in Northern Ireland. You must inform DVA if your address changes because that your records must be up to date and therefore future driving license reminders will be sent to right address.
You get fined by DVA if your information is not kept up to date. You can change your address if you are still resident in Northern Ireland only. If you are holding Northern Ireland driving license you can apply online to renew your license online. You will need below details when you are applying online to change your address.
- Credit or debit card if payment is needed
- Email Address
- Your Northern Ireland Driving license number and expire date – both can be found on plastic card of your driving license.
When changing your address you need to send both driving license such as plastic photocard and paper part to DVA office. For more information on change of address or name read https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/keeping-your-driving-license-date
- If you are unable to return both driving license you must give reason. In this case, you need to pay for replacement license. If your license is due to expire within next 12 months you can apply to renew instead of replacing with same cost.
- If your license has expired within two months you cannot apply to change of address. Then you must apply to renew your driving license. Also you can change your address but you cannot change your name through online. So, if your name has changed you must fill in and return driving license application form with right identity document
- To change your address, you need to fill out paper counterpart of your license and sent it along with photocard to this address. You can also visit suitable MOT centre from 8.45 am to 12.30 pm and 1.15 pm to 4.00 pm. There are seven MOT test centers which can check your application for you.
Changing your address on driving license by Post
When changing your address by post you need to
- Complete changes section on your paper counterpart, sign and date it
- Send both parts of your driving license such as photocard and counterpart documents to address below.
Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA)
Castlerock Road, Waterside, Coleraine, BT51 3TB
Please see DVA website https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/guidance-notes-your-dl1-driving-license-application for further information regarding Guidance notes for your DL1 driving license application.
Driving in Northern Ireland on an EEA country license
As mentioned above, regulations for driver’s licenses in Northern Ireland are different from rest of the UK. Still, drivers from Northern Ireland do not have much to worry about. These are your options
- You can exchange it for full British driver’s license immediately.
- Or you can continue using it until it runs out then apply to renew it as British driver’s license.
Exchanging your foreign driving license to Northern Ireland license
If you want to change your driving license for Northern Ireland you must be resident in Northern Ireland and have permanent address there. Also you can get application forms https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/application-forms-and-guidance from main post office branches, local vehicle licensing offices or MOT centers.
This completed application should be forwarded to Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). Northern Ireland Direct website provides further information driving in NI on foreign license. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/exchanging-your-foreign-driving-license
Driving in Northern Ireland on foreign license
All drivers must comply with Northern Ireland’s minimum age requirements. These are 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 21 years for large Lorries and buses.
- Motorcycle driving license holders can drive in NI as long as license is valid, or you can exchange license for Northern Ireland to show your new details.
- Where an Irish license holder takes up residence in another EU country or European Economic Area (EEA) – Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland they can drive on their existing Irish driving license so long as it’s current and valid. National Driver License Service
Driving in other countries on Northern Ireland License
If you plan to drive when visiting or moving to another country, it is important that you understand what process is. As a visitor to another country you need your Northern Ireland driving license. Also international driving permit is required in some countries.
You may use your Northern Ireland license for driving in other European Economic Area (EEA) member states. However, you must note that while minimum age for driving car in NI is 17 years of old with restrictions. You can check your driver’s record https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/drivers-record
Before you go to drive you make sure below details
- Information on your driving license are up-to-date
- You take your driving license with you
- If lost, stolen or destroyed, you replace your driving license
International Driving Permit (IDP)
An International Driving Permit is formal document issued to visitors to another country which translates details of driving license into several languages. This allows foreign authorities to take driving right held validity periods and identity. They are issued by Automobile Association (AA) and Royal Automobile Club (RAC). To get an IDP, you must be resident in NI, have passed driving test and be over 18 years of age.
Moving to another country
If you move to another country, you should check with driving license authorities for information about driving and exchange of licenses. You don’t need to notify Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) of change of address when moving to abroad. Find contact details for councils in Northern Ireland https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/local-councils-in-northern-ireland
What to do if you lose your photo card or paper counterpart driving license.
You can apply for replacement driving license using form DL1 Northern Ireland application for driving license which is available from main post office branches or MOT centres. If you lose your driving license, you must return any part you still hold to us. But you will issue replacement of both parts.
If either part of your driving license has been lost or stolen, you should also tell police. You can read more about replacing your driving license if lost, stolen, defaced or destroyed on DVA official website. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/replacing-your-driving-license-if-lost-stolen-defaced-or-destroyed
Returning from another country to Northern Ireland
If you return to Northern Ireland from non-EEA country and are not in possession of NI license, you may
- drive for up to 12 months on your foreign license
- apply for duplicate of your NI license on payment of fee
- Exchanging your foreign driving license
Driver and Vehicle Agency driver licensing Contact Number and office hours
Driver & Vehicle Agency is in charge for licensing and testing vehicles and driers in Northern Ireland. This page has contact details for driver license enquires. If you’re from Northern Island, you may call DVLA contact number NI 0300 200 7861.
Other customer service numbers to dial are 028 9067 5914 and (44) 28 9049 5914 if calling from abroad. You may also send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opening hours of DVA office is from 9.15 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays.
Normal opening hours of test centre offices are Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 12.30 pm and 1.15 pm to 4.00 pm. If you wish to write to them, send it to below address. Check Contact details for Northern Ireland Government Departments https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/government-departments-in-northern-ireland
Northern Ireland DVA Licensing Mailing Address
DVA Driver Licensing division
Driver Licensing Division
County Hall, Castlerock Road, Waterside
Coleraine, BT51 3TB, Telephone: 0845 402 4000, Fax: 028 7034 1398