Driving in NI on a GB or EEA licence
If you’re visiting NI and hold a Great Britain (GB) or a Community licence issued in a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) you can drive any vehicle if your licence is valid and it shows the suitable full entitlement for the vehicle you wish to drive.
Visitors from GB and the EEA
If you drive in NI you must satisfy NI's minimum age rules. These are 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 24 years for large lorries and buses.
This includes GB (including Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man), and Community licences which are issued by the following EEA member states:
- Czech Republic
You can drive in NI with a car and motorcycle driving licence (ordinary driving licence) as long as the licence is valid, or you can exchange the licence for a NI one to show your new details.
If you have a lorry, minibus and bus driving licence (vocational driving licence) you can drive:
- for five years after you become resident
- if you are aged 65 or over - for 12 months after you become resident
To continue driving after these periods, you must get a NI driving licence.
If you have a GB licence you may drive on your licence for the time it was issued and may exchange it for a NI licence even if it has expired.
Driving on a provisional licence
If you have a provisional driving licence from GB, or hold a full Community licence with provisional entitlement for more or higher categories, you may drive if you:
- are supervised by a qualified driver who is present in the vehicle - a qualified driver is someone who holds a full NI, GB or EEA driving licence, is at least 21 years of age and has held a suitable driving licence for at least three years in total
- displays L plates
- do not draw a trailer (except where allowed by the provisional entitlement)
Exchanging licences from elsewhere for a GB or Community licence
If you have been issued with a GB licence on the strength of a licence from a designated country it is valid for driving in NI for as long as the licence remains valid. It is acceptable for exchange purposes even if it has expired.
If you have been issued with a Community licence on the strength of a licence from a designated country it is valid for driving in NI for 12 months. It is acceptable for exchange purposes even if it has expired.
If you have been issued with a GB licence on the strength of a licence from a non-designated country it is valid for driving in NI as long as the licence remains valid. It is acceptable for exchange purposes.
If you have been issued with a Community licence on the strength of a licence from a non-designated country it will be valid for driving in NI for 12 months only. It is not valid for exchange purposes.
If you have been issued with a licence from any country outside GB or the EEA which was originally issued on the basis of a Community licence, it will be valid for driving in NI for 12 months only and is acceptable for exchange purposes. Evidence of the original GB or EEA entitlement must be given.
Register of Community licence holders
If you are resident in NI and hold a Community licence with entitlement to drive goods vehicles and/ or passenger-carrying vehicles you must register your details with the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA). For more information contact the DVA using the for contact details at the link below:
Notifying health conditions
You must tell DVA about all medical conditions which existed before and after you came to NI, even if you have already notified the authorities.
In most cases the rules will be the same as those in other EEA countries although there may be some differences. For example, epileptics who have had attacks in the last 10 years are not allowed to hold a vocational licence.
Taking a driving test
If you want to take a NI driving test you must be a resident in NI. If you were recently a permanent resident in another EEA country, you must have been in NI for 185 days in the year before you apply for a driving test and full licence.
To take a NI driving test you will need to exchange your Community licence for an NI licence and ask for the relevant provisional entitlement.
Vehicles which Community licence holders may also drive in NI
If you have a Community licence with category B entitlement you can also drive certain vehicles in NI, which are not part of the normal large vehicle driver licensing rules. These include:
- non-commercial minibuses driven on a voluntary basis
- Permit Minibuses