Since Brexit, there have been many new and ever-changing developments in the UK. It’s understandable, then, that many have been left confused about the possibility of new rules and regulations around licence checks. So, what are the differences in licence checks in the Republic of Ireland and the UK/Northern Ireland?


UK driving licences are still valid within the EU. However, unlike the Republic of Ireland drivers’ licences, UK licences may be subject to added inspection. In these exceptional cases, papers such as the International Driving Permit (IDP) may be needed. This is not the case with the Republic of Ireland licences as the country remains within EU regulations.

An IDP can be obtained easily from your local Post Office for a reasonable price. Check with the embassy of the country you are driving in before travelling to ensure that your documentation is correct.

Re-checking and Updating Regularly

As a driver in either the UK /Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, it is important to check you or your employee’s licence regularly. Whether it is performed every six months or quarterly online driving licence checks are a vital administrative task for any business with a fleet of vehicles.

Without regular, meticulous checks, you cannot be sure that your drivers have a clean record. Licence checks are also important for new employees before they begin working with your fleet.

In the Republic of Ireland, the governing body that checks driving licence credentials changed in 2015. Drivers are now required to attend a face-to-face meeting at the offices of the RSA (Road Safety Authority) rather than their local motor tax office.

In the UK, if you wish to check your driving licence or that of your employees, DriverCheck offers this service, including a Vehicle Documents Check. This is particularly important if any of your staff use their own vehicles for work, as they must meet the UK’s legal road requirements. Business insurance, MOT and Road Tax are some of the things that must be in order before a vehicle is used for work.

Penalty Points and Endorsements

The accumulation of penalty points has a similar impact on driver’s eligibility in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. However, there are some variations. In the UK, drivers will be disqualified from driving if they accumulate a total of 12 penalty points over a period of three years. The length of the driving ban varies depending on the court’s decision. In the UK, a driving ban can last up to two years if the driver gets a third disqualification within three years.

Any penalty points recorded on a driver’s licence are called endorsements in the UK. Endorsements remain on the driver’s record for a period between four and 11 years, depending on the offence committed.

In Ireland, the penalty points system has operated under the Road Traffic Act of 2002, with various amendments over the years. Should the driver collect 12 penalty points within three years, they will be disqualified from driving for a period of six months. Penalty points remain on the driver’s licence for three years following an incident.

The UK and Ireland have a road safety arrangement called the Mutual Recognition of Driver Disqualifications, introduced in 2017. This agreement, however, does not take penalty points into account. The agreement means that when a driver with a UK licence is disqualified in Ireland, that disqualification also applies in the UK, and vice versa.

Driver’s regulations and licence checks can be difficult to understand and there is a wide breadth of information to know regarding these rules. Our online licence check system is fully GDPR compliant and easily accessed. If you are looking to maintain the highest safety standards for your drivers, don’t hesitate to contact us today.