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New Drivers (NI) Order

Under the New Drivers (NI) Order you’ll lose your licence if you reach six or more penalty points within two years of passing your first driving test. This includes any penalty points you had before passing the test, which are still valid.

What the New Drivers (NI) Order means for you

If you have just passed your first driving test, the New Drivers (NI) Order means you’re ‘on probation’ for two years. If you reach six or more penalty points in that time, you’ll lose your licence. Then, you’ll have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence. This means you’ll be a learner driver again.

Who does the Order affect?

The New Drivers (NI) Order applies to all drivers and motorcyclists who have passed their driving test in:

If you have held a full driving licence for two years, the Order doesn’t apply. For example, there isn’t another probation period if you already have a full car licence and pass a test in another category, like lorry. But you need to have passed both tests in one of the countries listed above.

Foreign driving licences

The Order also applies if you exchange a foreign driving licence for a Northern Ireland licence and then pass a further driving test in Northern Ireland.

How you get penalty points

You get penalty points for all sorts of driving-related offences, such as speeding or driving dangerously. The penalties for traffic offences are set out in the Highway Code.

Penalty points on your provisional licence

You can also get penalty points on your provisional licence before you pass your test. These points last for three years and will count under the Order. If you reach six points before you’ve taken your test, your provisional licence won’t be taken away. But if you get any more points within two years of passing your test, you will lose your licence.

What happens if you lose your licence under the Order

If you lose your licence under the New Drivers Order, you must first apply for a provisional licence. A provisional licence means you must:

  • display L plates on the front and rear of your vehicle
  • drive under the supervision of a qualified driver who is at least 21 and has held a full licence for at least three years
  • drive at a speed not exceeding 45mph
  • not drive on a motorway

You must not drive on any public road in Northern Ireland without a licence. If you drive without a valid licence, or disobey the conditions of a provisional licence, you face a penalty of up to £1,000.

If you don’t have a valid licence, your insurance will be invalid. You’ll need to tell your insurance company immediately if you lose your licence under the Order.

Getting your full driving licence back

To regain your full driving licence you must reapply for a provisional driving licence, pass the theory and practical driving tests again and claim your test pass. You’ll need to:

  • complete ‘Application for a driving licence’ DL1 form, available from local vehicle licensing offices or main Post Office® branches
  • tick the 'new licence after disqualification' box in section 4
  • pay the fee (see ‘renewal after disqualification’ on the cost of a driving licence)
  • post the DL1 form to:
  • DVA
    Driver Licensing
    County Hall
    Coleraine
    BT51 3TB

  • Where are the motor tax offices?
  • The cost of a driving licence  

Pass the theory and practical driving tests

You’ll need to pay for and re-sit the theory and practical driving tests.

Claim your test pass

After passing your driving test, you’ll need to upgrade your provisional driving licence for a full one.

Your driving entitlement

Full entitlement to drive all categories of vehicle you previously held on your driving licence will only be reinstated when you pass a test in any one of your previously held entitlements. If you successfully pass a test for entitlement to a category you have not previously held, you’ll get a full driving licence for that category only.

After passing your retest

It’s important to remember that passing the retest:

  • doesn't remove the penalty points from your driving licence
  • the penalty points remain valid

Your driving licence can only be revoked once under the provisions of the Order.

Appealing against the withdrawal of your driving licence

You can only appeal against the conviction that led to you getting the six penalty points. Contact the convicting court for advice on how to appeal.

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