Asylum seekers can now apply for driving licence in Ireland

A High Court ruling gives legal certainty to allow asylum seekers to access the driving licence system now, ahead of legislation
Asylum seekers can now apply for driving licence in Ireland

Asylum seekers in Ireland can now apply for a driving licence or learner permit, the Department of Transport has confirmed.

It follows a recent High Court ruling that those applying for international protection in Ireland meet the normal residence requirement of the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006 and are eligible to apply for a driving licence.

This ruling gives legal certainty to allow asylum seekers to access the driving licence system now, ahead of legislation, the Department said.

Work is also under way to amend legislation to ensure that anyone who is legally entitled to reside in the State can apply for a driving licence, it added, to provide clarity and legal certainty for both applicants and the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “In the Programme for Government we gave a commitment to making it possible for asylum seekers to access the driving licence system.

“The courts have now made a ruling that international protection applicants meet the residency requirements to apply for a licence. I will now proceed to introduce an amendment to the Roads Bill that will put our policy on a statutory footing.

“Asylum seekers face many challenges as they make their way in life. Being able to drive will give people more independence in their daily lives and the ability to commute to work and education by car when necessary.”

'Step forward'

Minister for Children, Equality and Integration, Roderic O’Gorman, said the Government has committed to improving conditions for people living in direct provision as it works to end the system, and “allowing people to apply for driving licences is another element of that.”

“By removing the barrier to accessing driving licences, we are giving people an option to travel that many of us take for granted, whether that is going to college or work, meeting up with friends or bringing children to school,” he said.

“This is a positive step forward, that will help people to live independent lives and better integrate into their communities.”

International protection applicants can now use their temporary residence certificates as proof of normal residence in Ireland when applying for a driving licence or learner permit.

All other requirements for a driving licence or learner permit application must also be met, with a full list of these requirements available on the National Driver Licence Service website www.ndls.ie.

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