Ireland has a long history of emigration and every year thousands more leave for distant shores in search of new adventures. For some this will be a permanent move and we wish them well! For many though, the pull of home will eventually bring them back. If you have been living abroad for a long time coming home can be almost as difficult as it was to move away in the first place. You’ve most likely lain down some roots in your adopted country.

This may include learning to drive, getting a licence and insurance in that country. Thankfully we here at First Ireland have experience with this kind of thing so we can provide you with a few tips.

I don’t have an Irish Licence. What should I do?

For most people this should be straightforward. If you have a licence from any EU/EEA member state you will be able to drive in Ireland for as long as your licence is valid. This also applies to the following countries:

  • Australia
  • British Columbia Province of Canada
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Manitoba Province of Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Province of Canada
  • Ontario Province of Canada
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan

However if you are planning to stay long-term it may be best to convert your licence as soon as you can. You can convert your licence from any of these regions to an Irish licence for a fee of €55.

If your driving licence is not from one of the above countries/regions you will be required to go through the full application process for a full Irish licence, starting with the driver theory test. See NDLS for more information.

Insurance

Insurance can also be an issue when you return to Ireland. You may be fully qualified to drive in Ireland as far as your licence is concerned. However if you have been away for a long time your next insurance premium may be affected.

Coming Home after 1-2 years:

Your No Claims Discount remains valid for 2 years following the last date that your previous Irish insurance policy was in force.

Coming Home after 2+ Years:

Since more than 2 years have passed since your previous Irish policy was in force your No Claims Discount is no longer invalid.

However, proof of claims-free driving in the country you were living will be taken into account by some insurers and this can help bring your premium down.

First Ireland compares products from Ireland’s top insurers to find the best car insurance deal for you. Get a quote with us today and we’ll do all we can get you back on Irish roads.