In the event of a no-deal Brexit the driving licence of a UK licence holder living here in Ireland will not be recognised and the driver will not be able to continue to drive here in Ireland on that licence. The advice to such drivers is that they should exchange their UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence before the 29 March 2019, which is set as the withdrawal date of the UK from the EU. Under current arrangements a UK licence holder resident here in Ireland has an entitlement to make such an exchange. In such a case the driver will have all valid licence categories on their driver licence included on the Irish licence. There are some limited exceptions where what are known as national licences categories cannot be transferred to the Irish licence. You may need to speak to the DVLA to find out if you have any national categories on your UK licence.
To exchange your licence you must complete a licence application form and present this, the correct fee and your UK licence at an NDLS centre- you will get more information on the process here.
FAQ on Brexit and Driving Licences
Q. I live in the UK and hold a UK driving licence and would like to be able to drive a vehicle in Ireland from time to time on holidays after Brexit.
A. As a visitor there is no reason that you will not be able to drive in Ireland for holidays with your existing driving licence. This will apply regardless of whether there is a deal or no-deal Brexit. You should not be required to carry an International Driving Permit with you in order to drive here, just ensure to carry your UK driving licence with you.
Q. I live in Ireland, hold a UK driving licence and would like to be able to continue to drive here in Ireland after Brexit on my UK driving licence.
A. In a no-deal Brexit scenario, as a resident in Ireland, your UK driving licence will not be valid to drive here in Ireland. Prior to 29 March 2019 you could decide to exchange your UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence- the usual processing timeline for this is quite short- up to ten days. However, that may change in the event of a high level of demand for driving licence exchanges. More information on exchanging a driving licence can be found here. It is also the case that, following a no-deal Brexit, as things stand your driving licence will not be valid for exchange following Brexit. There is a possibility in such a scenario that Ireland and the UK will enter into a bi-lateral arrangement on driving licences where Ireland recognise UK driving licences. Inevitably, this will take a little time to complete as it involves a formal agreement and legislation here in Ireland. The position is different if there is an agreed Brexit. The current Withdrawal Agreement provides for arrangements to recognise UK driving licences across the EU during the transition period which is until December 2020. It is expected that negotiations on the future relationship, which will take place during the transition period will seek to put a permanent arrangement in place. This means in an agreed Brexit, for residents in Ireland, that UK driving licences in Ireland will be recognised until December 2020 and subject to whatever agreement is then reached in the transition period.