The learner driving permit

Obtaining your learner driving permit

A learner permit is a licence issued to learner drivers. It enables them to learn to drive and to apply for a driving test at the same time. A learner permit is issued to enable the permit holder to learn to drive and is not valid in Northern Ireland or in any other country outside of Ireland.

The learner permit replaces the provisional licence, which is no longer issued.

as a holder of a learner permit you must:

  • Hold a licence for the category of vehicle you are driving and comply with the conditions attached to that licence when driving
  • Be accompanied at all times by a person who holds a full driving licence in the same category for a continuous period of two years From the 4th April 2011 all new first time learner permit holders for cars will be required to mandatory Essential  Driver Training (EDT)with an approved driving instructor (ADI). The course is made up of of 12 individual one hour lessons. The learner will be able to take the lessons at any point during the learning process and can practice with an accompanying driver during the time while taking lessons. Evidence of completing the lessons will be signed off in a learner’s logbook by the Approved Driving Instructor. The logbook showing completion of the lessons may have to be presented before taking a driving test.

In addition, a number of penal offences have been introduced for learner drivers. These include driving unaccompanied (see above), not displaying ‘L’ plates when driving, and the carrying of a passenger by a learner motorcyclist.

These offences are punishable by a minimum €1,000 fine for a first offence.

Other requirements

  •  Age

There are legal restrictions on what types of vehicle you can drive at what age. For example, you have to be 16 to ride a moped, 17 to drive a standard car, 18 to drive a truck with Certificate of Professional Competency (CPC) or 21 without CPC and 21 to drive a bus with CPC and 24 without CPC. 

  • ‘L’ plates

All learner permit holders, with the exception of those who hold learner permits in category W (work vehicles/land tractors), must display ‘L’ plates while they are driving. Vehicles in categories B, C1, C, D1, D, BE, C1E, CE, D1E or DE  must display L plates at all times. The letter L should be at least 15cm high and appear as red on a white background, in clearly visible vertical positions to the front and rear of the vehicle.

Drivers of vehicles in categories A, A2, A1 and AM must also display L plates at all times. The plates must be displayed on a yellow fluorescent tabard worn over the person’s outside clothing. The letter L should be at least 15cm high and appear as red on a white background and in clearly visible vertical positions to the front and rear of the person’s body.

  • Accompaniment

All learner permit holders, with the exception of those who hold a learner permit in category A1, A2, A, or AM (Mopeds),  must be accompanied by a qualified driver at all times while driving. A qualified driver is one who holds a full licence for a continuous period of two years in respect of the vehicle category being driven by the learner permit holder.

A person holding a category W(work vehicles/land tractors) learner permit is not permitted to carry a passenger unless the vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry a passenger and the passenger is a qualified driver – ie, a person who has held a full licence for the vehicle category for a continuous period of at least two years.

There is no longer a requirement for a person who holds a learner permit in category BE to hold the permit for 6 months before sitting their driving test.

If you hold a full driving licence or permit in the category corresponding to the category on your learner permit which was issued by the competent authority of another jurisdiction and shows that you have had that entitlement for at least 6 months, then you do not need to wait 6 months before sitting a driving test.


Region Covered

Please check the link below to see the regions that we work with

Contact us

Alert Driving School Mullingar

Co. Westmeath,



  • Just passed my test first time after taking lessons with Alert Driving School. Full of positive feedback and great instruction. I would highly recommend them.
    Brian F. Sept.2013
  • I passed my test first time with Frank. I was a late learner and quite nervous but I was able to do it with Frank's help. Also very kind on purse at €25.
    Mairead f
  • Thanks to you I got there.Great driving lessons, would highly recommend
  • Great stuff Frank passed at first attempt.
  • I am a very nervous driver. However having switched to Alert Driving School, Frank guided me successfully through my driving test.
    Geraldine, 48.