Now licences to change from paper to plastic

From this week (January 12) anyone who applies for their first learner permit or is renewing their driving licence will receive a modern, plastic, credit-card sized version. The new licence will be in a format that is standardised and recognisable throughout the EU.

From this week (January 12) anyone who applies for their first learner permit or is renewing their driving licence will receive a modern, plastic, credit-card sized version. The new licence will be in a format that is standardised and recognisable throughout the EU.

The directive officially takes effect on January 19, but all licence applications submitted from the 12th will receive the new card licence. Applications will continue to be made at the local Motor Tax Office, but the facility to provide over-the-counter licences will no longer be available after this date.

This is because the new format licence will be produced in a specialist facility, because of the card’s high-level security features, and posted out to the applicant. As well, licence delivery will also be centralised when the Road Safety Authority (RSA) becomes the national licensing authority later this month.

Motor Tax Offices will continue to deliver the service until September 2013. After that licences will be delivered by the RSA under the banner of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS).

The new plastic card licence will only be available to those who - 1 have passed their driving test and are applying for their first driving licence; 2 are renewing their learner permit or driving licence; 3 are exchanging a foreign driving licence for an Irish driving licence

As all old paper licences are valid for a maximum of 10 years, they will be replaced on a phased basis as they expire. The new 10-year plastic licence will cost E55. A three-year licence will cost E35 and a one-year licence E25. The cost of a learner permit is E35.

Changes to existing licences and permits, for example, if you wish to add a ‘New Category’, will cost E35. Licences for the over 70s will remain free of charge. Under the terms of the EU 3rd Directive, a three-year licence will only be available to those over 60.

The switchover from the paper to plastic card licence will take place between January 12 and 19 January. Therefore, there will be no facility to issue any licences during that week.

If your current licence is due to expire during that week, you must submit your renewal application to your local Motor Taxation Office at the earliest opportunity.

Licenses issued from January 19 will also be subject to changes to licensing rules as part of the EU Directive, the most significant of which is that licences for trucks and buses will now last for five years instead of the current 10 years. There are also changes to motorcycle licensing categories.