Driving outside Northern Ireland
If you plan to drive when visiting or moving to other parts of the UK or another country, it’s important that you understand what’s required of you. You'll need your Northern Ireland (NI) driving licence and in certain countries an International Driving Permit is also required.
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 Post Office. When applying for an IDP you will need:
- a full valid UK driving licence - photocard or an older paper licence
- a passport sized photograph - a recent true likeness of the applicant
- the application fee (cash or debit/credit card)
- original valid passport as proof of identification (only if presenting an older paper version licence)
Any enquiries about IDPs (such as how much they cost and how to apply) should be directed to the Post Office .
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.
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 let Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) know 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:
- drive for up to 12 months on your foreign licence
- apply for a duplicate of your NI licence on payment of a fee
- exchange your foreign driving licence