Driving in other countries on a NI licence

If you intend to drive when visiting or moving to another country, it's important that you understand what is required of you. As a visitor to another country you'll need your Northern Ireland driving licence. An international driving permit is also required in certain countries.

Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit

Find out at the link below what all drivers may need to do to drive in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019:

Travelling cross-border by car after Brexit

If you hold a UK or NI driving licence you should not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.

You may need an IDP, along with your driving licence, to drive in other EU or EEA countries if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

If you hold an EU or EEA licence you will not need an IDP to drive in the UK. Therefore Republic of Ireland motorists will not need an IDP, in addition to their driving licence, to drive in NI.

You can get an IDP from the Post Office:

Motor insurance (Green Card)

If there is a no-deal Brexit, from 29 March 2019 NI drivers will need to carry a Green Card when travelling to the Republic of Ireland. It would be illegal to travel without this proof of insurance.

Green Cards are an international certificate of insurance issued by insurance providers in the UK, guaranteeing that the driver has the necessary third-party motor insurance cover for driving in the country being travelled to.

They are not cards in the strict sense – they are paper documents which, under current international rules, should be printed on green paper.

To get a Green Card, you should contact your insurance provider. As this may take anything from 15 days to one month to process you should factor in that time before travelling. Any charge for a Green Card will depend on your insurer.

If you hold a motor insurance policy as a resident of the Republic of Ireland, you won’t need a Green Card to drive in NI, as your insurance certificate will be accepted as proof of valid cover.

Hiring a car

When hiring a car in an EU country after Brexit, then a Green Card should not be needed, because the insurance that comes with it from the rental company should provide the necessary cover.

However, if a car is rented in Northern Ireland for use in the the Republic of Ireland, a Green Card would be needed.

Towing a trailer

A separate Green Card may be needed if you intend to tow a trailer. Your insurance provider will be able to advise you about this.

Before you go

Make sure:

Visiting another country

You may use your NI licence for driving in other European Economic Area (EEA) member states. However, you should note that while the minimum age for driving a car in NI is 17, individual member states may apply their own age restrictions for entitlements.

The member states are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

If you’re caught breaking the law, for example by a speed camera, the authorities can get the vehicle’s registered keeper’s details from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).  For rules in other European countries check with a motoring organisation:

Check with a motoring organisation if you want to drive in a non EEA country. They will advise you whether you need an International Driving Permit.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a formal document issued to visitors to another country which translates details of a driving licence into several languages. This enables foreign authorities to interpret the driving entitlements held, their validity periods, and the identity of the holder.

They are issued by the Automobile Association (The AA) and the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). To get an IDP, you must be resident in NI, have passed a driving test and be over 18 years of age.

Any enquiries about IDPs (such as how much they cost and how to apply) should be directed to one of the motoring organisations listed above.

Moving to another country

If you move to another country, you should check with the driving licence authorities there for information about driving and exchange of licences. You don't need to notify Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) of a change of address when moving to live abroad.

Returning to NI

If you return to NI from a non-EEA country and are not in possession of a NI licence, you may:

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