Starting Out Guide

From Roadskill Trainng Centre


A complete guide to learning to drive/ride from start to finish


Anyone wanting to drive or ride a motorcycle, drive a car or any other category of vehicle must first pass the theory test.

This consists of passing a multiple choice test based on the Rules of the Road. You must pass with at least 35 correct out of 40.

To apply for the theory test click the link You will need all of your details at hand including your PPS number.

Available material to study for the theory test include the rules of the road handbook and the official driver theory test CD rom available at most good bookshops or online at


You must pass the theory test for the category you want to drive see HERE

You may take the theory test from the age of 15 as the certificate lasts for a period of two years.

To apply for you learners permit after passing the theory test you will need to get an eyesight report from an optician, 2 passport photographs and a fee of €35.00.

You can download a free copy of THE RULES OF THE ROAD below






You cannot take your driving/riding test until you have held your learner permit for at least 6 months in that category. You apply for your Learner Permit or Driving Licence at your local NDLS center. Please visit to find out exactly what you must provide them when you arrive for your appointment. Please note that as of 8th April 2018 you will require PSC (Public Service Card) to enable you to apply for your learner permit or driving licence

Some of the forms required are available for download below







Your first learner permit (Code 991) will be for 2 years. The second learner permit (Code 992) will be for 2 years and you must apply for you test during this time or you will not be issued with a third.

You must carry your learner permit with you whenever you are driving or riding by law. If you let your learner permit lapse for more than 5 years you will need to re-sit the theory test and will be subject to all new rules and regulations brought in since the permit ran out.

If you have a full licence and you let it lapse by over 10 years you must go back to the beginning as above then re-sit your driving test also.


CARS (Category B)


Once you have your Learner Permit you are allowed to learn to drive either with a professional driving instructor (ADI) or with a full licence holder that has held the full licence in that category for at least 2 years. You are not allowed to drive unaccompanied at any time until you have passed your full driving test. This will show as a code 999 on your learner permit.

You must display an L plate on the front & rear of your car at all times along with a valid tax disc, NCT cert (If the car is over 4 years old) and an insurance disc.

You must make sure that you are insured with minimum 3rd party insurance for the car you are driving.

If you pass your test in an automatic car you will be restricted to automatics on your full licence.

If you pass your test in a car with gears you may drive either a manual or automatic car. 

As of April 4th 2011 a course of 12 mandatory lessons were introduced prior to taking your full driving test. These must be completed and signed off by an approved driving instructor (ADI) or you will not be able to sit the test. 


Motorcycles (Categories AM, A1, A2 & A)


New licencing laws for motorcyclists from the 19th January 2013.

you can read them by clicking each link below

New Licence Laws

Chart for Progressive and Direct Access for Motorcyclists

Description of Licence Catergories From 19th January 2013


With motorcycle learner permits things are somewhat different as of December 6th 2010. Once you pass the theory test you will be issued with a learner permit (Apply at the NDLS office) that only entitles you to ride on the road with a qualified motorcycle IBT instructor until you have completed your IBT.

IBT is a 16 or 18 hour training course which you must pass before being allowed on the road alone. There are 4 modules to complete in the IBT syllabus for categories AM & A1 which can be found HERE. If you are moving up to a different learner permit for example an A1 to an A2, A2 to A or an automatic bike to a geared bike you must complete a module 5 conversion course on that type of machine.

If you are already of age for category A2 or A (Unrestricted) learner permit then you can do a Direct Access IBT course of modules 1,3 & 5 (18 hrs)

Your IBT instructor must be satisfied that you are not a danger to yourself or other road users and you can control your motorcycle correctly before signing off your certificate.


A1 learner permit.

16 y/o you are allowed to ride a motorcycle or scooter up the size of 125cc and no more that 11kw (14.7 bhp) and no more than .1 kW per Kg


A2 learner permit. 18 y/o you can ride a motorcycle or scooter up the power of 35kw/46.6 bhp with a power to weight ratio not exceeding .2 kW per kg. You cannot restrict any bike that is more than double that power (70 kW)

Example 1. A Suzuki Bandit 600 is 57kw. If this bike is restricted to 25kw it is originally more than double the restricted power so not allowed for the A2 learner permit or test. A 35kw restriction would be ok as this is more than half original power but is within the permit restrictions for the A2.

Example 2. A yamaha Fazer 600 is 95 bhp (70.8 kw) so would not be allowed for restriction to the A2 permit as half of it's original power is 35.4 kw which is .4 kw over the allowed 35kw.


A (unrestricted) learner permit.

20 y/o you can apply for a learner permit in category A (Unrestricted) if you have had a full licence in category A2 for a minimum of 2 years. You will then need to do IBT progression module 5 with no requirement for another test for the full A (Unrestricted) licence.

24 y/o or over. If you are getting your first learner permit then can apply for the A (Unrestricted) LP and avail of the Direct Access IBT modules 1, 3 & 5 (18 hrs). You may then ride any size motorcycle on the road without power restriction.

All learner permit holders on a motorcycle or scooter are required by law to display a full size L plate on the front & rear of a Hi-Viz yellow tabard since December 2007.


Once you pass you full licence test in any motorcycle category you may carry a pillion passenger, use motorways (subject to regulations) and ride in other countries

When applying for you motorcycle test please make sure you are fully prepared and understand the rules regarding representative vehicles allowed for the test itself. read this link

























The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has announced changes to the driver licensing system that apply to newly qualified novice drivers and first time learner permit holders.


These changes are important road safety measures that form part of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, one of the key actions in the current and previous Government Road Safety Strategies aimed at improving how we train, test and licence learner and novice drivers.

The changes are as follows:

  • A person granted a first full driving licence on or after 1st August 2014 must display N-plates on the vehicle for a period of 2 years, and during that period display N-plates on any other vehicle in respect of which they get a driving licence. Where the vehicle is a motorcycle, the rider must wear an N – tabard.

  • The novice period applies only once ie someone who holds a driving licence for a category of vehicle and who after a period of two years becomes entitled to drive another category, does not become a novice in respect of the new category.

  • Non-display of N plates is an offence under traffic law and is  punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a fixed change  the failure to display an N-plate will carry 2 penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or 4 on conviction.

  • A lower threshold of seven penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first driving licence.

  • There is no requirement for novice drivers to have an accompanying driver – this is still only the case for learner drivers. However, a novice driver may not act as an accompanying driver for someone who holds a learner permit










Laws Regarding The Introduction of 'N' Plates
Apply For your Car or Motorcycle Test Online HERE
Applying for your Learner Permit or Driving Licence
What to bring with you