Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has today announced that Ukrainians fleeing the war can now exchange their Ukrainian driving licence for an Irish driving licence, making it easier for them to move around and access work, school or other vital public services.
Minister Ryan has signed an Order today that will allow Ukrainians temporarily resident (under the Temporary Protection Directive) in Ireland because of the conflict to drive their cars in Ireland if they exchange their Ukrainian driving licence for an Irish licence.
This new move comes on the back of an announcement earlier this week that there will be increased and enhanced public transport services rolled out to support Ukrainians placed in more rural locations. These new enhanced transport services aimed at supporting better integration are part of the broader Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan which aims to increase public transport connectivity for all users.
Minister Ryan said: “After providing housing and shelter, one of the most important things we can do for our Ukrainian guests is to give them with the ability to move around easily, where they are located first, and then throughout the country, where they may have family and friends. This Order allows Ukrainians to exchange their Ukrainian driving licences for an Irish licence on a temporary basis. It operates much like renting a car if we are in another country, for example, and comes with the same warnings that users must be acutely aware of the rules of the road in that country. I strongly urge anyone applying for an Irish licence to take time to familiarise themselves with the Irish road system.”
“I hope that this Order, coupled with the earlier move to increase and enhance public transport in certain rural areas, will give Ukrainians who have sought to find shelter in Ireland, greater freedom to explore our country, but importantly to be able to access work, school, college or to visit family and friends while they are here.”
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton added: “Today’s announcement is very important for individuals and families who have fled the war as it will allow them move around and access employment opportunities and vital public services including education and healthcare while they are living in Ireland.
“I would also urge people availing of this initiative to familiarise themselves with driving in Ireland. It is vital that motorists are aware of the changes that come with driving in another country in order to protect themselves, their families and other road users. Information which will be provided by the Road Safety Authority will be very helpful in this regard.”
Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA said: “The RSA welcomes the announcement by the Minister to provide a pathway for Ukrainian refugees who hold a Ukrainian licence to drive here. The RSA is providing information in Ukrainian on our website, and we will also update other relevant government and non-government organisations on the details of the licence exchange arrangements. The RSA will have a presence at ferry ports to provide information to Ukrainian refugees arriving by car and we are making arrangements to provide information for all refugees already in the country. The National Driver Licence Service, which is operated on behalf of the RSA, is also geared up to accept applications for licence exchange from Ukrainian refugees. More details can be found on the RSA’s website.”
The new licence will be valid for 12 months and will apply to cars only.
An application to exchange a licence can be made in any National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centre. An appointment to attend an NDLS centre can be booked online at https://www.ndls.ie/booking-service.html or by phone at 0818919090.
The Road Safety Authority will provide detailed information on driving in Ireland including a detailed FAQ for Ukrainian drivers which covers topics such as driving a car in Ireland and vehicle safety. For more information, please see “frequently asked questions Ukrainian road users” on the Road Safety Authority’s website at www.rsa.ie.
Ireland is also involved in discussions at EU level for a Europe-wide approach to this issue.