Every detail about the types of driving licenses in Ireland

If you want to drive in Ireland you need to have a driving license or a learner’s permit. Both these documents are issued by the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS), a body whose primary objectives are safety and security. It makes the entire process more convenient while ensuring that the unlicensed and illegal drivers stay off the road. For any application of license or a renewal process, you will have to opt for a face to face interaction in any of the 34 nationwide centres of the NDLS.

The licenses issued for various vehicles are related to the age of the driver and each vehicle type has a certain age-limit set for the drivers. The categories of vehicles that you are permitted to drive is listed in your license and you cannot drive a vehicle beyond that category. Keep in mind that it is a serious offense to drive a vehicle type that you are not permitted to.

There are 15 different categories of driving licenses and learner permits issued in Ireland which are valid for different types of vehicles. These categories deal with various aspects ranging from the age of the driver to the formal trainings required and further to the penalty points. So before applying for your license, it is important to go through these details so that you can make the application in the correct manner.

The list of motorcycle driving licence categories in Ireland

You can apply for any of the four motorcycle licenses by direct access, i.e. without having to hold a license of lower category at first. But one needs to pass the motorcycle theory test as well as the Initial Basic Training (IBT) course, which is designed to teach basic riding skills to learner motorcyclists. A certificate of successful completion will be issued by approved driving instructors which is needed along with the learner’s permit, when you drive your motorcycle. Get detailed lessons from best driving instructors Dublin has to support you with.

The following are the categories listed for motorcycle licenses.

  • Category AM- This is for mopeds and light quadricycles and the age limit is 16 years.
  • Category A1- This category is for motorcycles within their engine capacity within 125 cubic centimetres, a power rating not exceeding 11 kW and a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1 kW/kg. This section also includes motor tricycles with a power rating not exceeding 15 kW. The age limit for this license is 16 years.
  • Category A2- This section also include motorcycles and the age limit is 18 years. This is for motorcycles with a power output not exceeding 35 kW and a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2 kW/kg. It should also not derived from a vehicle of more than double the value of its power.
  • Category A- This category involves motorcycles of 595 cubic centimetres capacity with engine power of at least 50 kW. The category needs an age limit of 24 years. The applications can also be made by those above 20 years of age with progressive access.

The list of vehicle driving licence categories in Ireland

The remaining elven categories deal with vehicles, including buses and trucks. Before you apply for a learner permit in any category, you need to appear for the driver theory test for that category. The tests are computer-based and user-friendly. Essential Driver Training (EDT) is a training course designed to teach the basic skills of driving to beginner car drivers and is necessary before appearing for a driving test conducted by the RSA.

A driver needs to have a car driving licence before applying for a truck or bus learner permit. One has to clear the truck or bus Driver Theory Test along with taking the Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) theory and practical tests in order to obtain the necessary Driver’s Certificate of Professional Competence. This CPC test has been designed for professional drivers throughout Europe for observing good driving and safety standards on roads.

The following are the types of vehicle driving licence categories in Ireland.

  • Category B- This category involves vehicles other than motorcycles, mopeds, work vehicles or land tractors, whose Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) does not exceed 3500 kg. It should have the capacity to carry a maximum of eight passengers in addition to the driver.

The section also includes a vehicle towing a trailer where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.

In case the trailer is heavier than 750 kg, the combined MAM of the towing vehicle and the trailer should not be greater than 3,500 kg. Heavier quadricycles are also included in this category. The minimum age requirement for this license is 17 years.

  • Category BE- This category is for vehicles towing a trailer where the MAM of the trailer does not exceed 3500 kg. The minimum age for obtaining this license is 17 years.
  • Category W- This category includes work vehicles and land tractor with or without a trailer. The age limit required for this license is 16 years.
  • Category C- This license is for vehicles, with or without a trailer, which have MAM values exceeding 3500 kg.  It should be designed for eight passengers in addition to the driver and the MAM of the trailer should not be more than 750 kg. The minimum age limit for this license is 18 years with a CPC and 21 years without it.
  • Category CE- This category has the same conditions as category C and is needed for vehicle towing trailers which have a MAM value greater than 750 kg.
  • Category C1- This category covers vehicles with the same conditions as category C, apart from the fact that the MAM of the vehicle should not exceed 7500 kg. The vehicle should be designed for eight people in addition to the driver. In case of an attached trailer, the MAM of the trailer should not exceed 750 kg. The minimum age limit for this category is 18 years.
  • Category C1E- This category adds to the vehicle combination types of category C1 where the MAM of the trailer is more than 750 kg and the combined weight of the two does not exceed 12000 kg.

It also adds to the vehicle combination types of category B with the MAM of the trailer greater than 3500 kg and the combined MAM value of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12000 kg.

The minimum age limit set for this category is 18 years.

  • Category D- When the vehicle can carry more than eight passengers including the driver, it comes under this category. In case of an attached trailer, the MAM of the same should not be more than 750 kg. The minimum age requirement for this category is 21 years with CPC and 24 years without it.
  • Category DE- This is an extension of the category D for cases where the MAM of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.
  • Category D1- This section is for vehicles designed for not more than 16 passengers in addition to the driver and the maximum length not exceeding 8 metres. The MAM of the trailer is not to be greater than 750 kg. The minimum age required for this license is 21 years.
  • Category D1E- This category is an extension of the category D1 where the weight of the trailer is more than 750 kg.

Concluding words

So these are the driving licence categories in Ireland which are matched with the various vehicle types that you can chose from as per your requirement.  A point to be noted is that a driving license or a learner permit can also refer to multiple codes that can restrict its use or place an obligation on the driver. You can check the NDLS website to get the list of all the codes and their meanings to clear any doubts about the same.

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