On Tuesday, October 29, the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS), the new service to receive applications for driving licences and learner permits, will open nationwide.
Managed by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), the NDLS will have 34 centres nationwide with at least one centre in every county. The Offaly office will be based in castle Buildings, Tara Street in Tullamore.
The new NDLS service will deliver an improved customer focused, modern, state-of-the-art service for drivers to submit their application forms for learner permits or driving licences. Applications will no longer be accepted at Local Authority Motor Tax Offices from Friday 25 October.
The NDLS centres are located around the country to ensure that 95% of the population will be within 50km of one of the new centres. A new improvement to the service, will allow customers to visit any one of the 34 centres nationwide to apply for their licence or learner permit. Customers are no longer restricted to going to their local centre.
Another significant benefit of the new service will see centres opening from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and will remain open through lunchtimes. For the first time customers will also be able to apply for their licence at the weekend as the new NDLS centres will open from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays. These improved opening hours will enable customers to visit any one of the NDLS centres at a time that is convenient to them.
A feature of the new service is the requirement to apply for your learner permit or driving licence in person. This applies to all customers, whether applying for a first licence or learner permit or renewing or replacing their current licence or learner permit. This ‘face to face’ application should in most cases be a once off requirement and is part of a new security process that will help to combat fraud and keep illegal and unlicensed drivers off our roads.
Mr John Caulfield, Interim Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said the NDLS was a significant milestone that brings the quality of the licensing service and the security of the driving licence in line with international standards.
“The new National Driver Licence Service, or NDLS, is being managed by the Road Safety Authority as part of its remit to improve road safety and reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads. The first phase of this new service was in January when the new plastic card licence was introduced across the European Union. In this next phase, the way you apply for your licence will change. The National Driver Licence Service or NDLS will deliver a more consistent, secure and customer-focused service to those who are applying for their licence or learner permit which will match the standards set by our EU counterparts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of the Motor Taxation Offices for their efforts to ensure the transition to the new licensing system.”
In January of this year, Ireland switched from producing paper licences to plastic credit card sized licences and learner permits as part of an EU-wide change to make licences more secure. Since then, 408,018 new plastic card licences and learner permits have been issued to customers throughout the country. The new application process that’s being introduced when the National Driver Licence Service, or NDLS, goes live on the 29 October will add another layer of security to the process to further increase the security of licences and learner permits and protect road-users from risks posed by unlicensed drivers and licence tourism (when people apply for a licence in more than one country). This means that from 29 October, anyone applying for a new or replacement learner permit or licence will be required to attend one of the NDLS centres nationwide in person.
As part of the security process, customers will be required to bring documentation to confirm their identity, in addition to their application form. The customers photograph and signature will also be captured digitally, to be used on the new licence and this is included in the cost of the licence. The new licence or learner permit will then be posted out to customers within eight working days.
Mr Declan Naughton, Director of Driver Licensing and Testing, Road Safety Authority said that the new security process would benefit road safety.
“The presence of illegal unlicensed drivers on our roads is a concern for the Road Safety Authority. This new, more secure application process is important as it will ensure that the licence, which is a valuable piece of personal property, is only used by the person who has applied for it. Using modern technology, an internationally accepted security system and a well-trained team around the country, the NDLS network of centres will make the application process for those seeking to apply for a driving licence or learner permit as efficient as possible.”
“And remember you can now visit any of the NDLS centres around the country when making an application, it is something you will only normally ever have to do once and you can renew your licence up to three months before expiry. By introducing this new improved system it means that we can get unlicensed, fraudulent and potentially unsafe drivers off our roads,” concluded Mr Naughton.
The fees for a driving licence and learner permit are unchanged. A ten year licence will cost €55, a three-year licence will cost €35 and a one-year licence will be €25. (The cost of the photographs, taken at the NDLS centre, is included in these fees). The cost of a learner permit remains €35. Changes to existing licences and permits, for example, if you wish to add a ‘New Category’, will cost €35. Licences and learner permits for the over 70s will remain free of charge.
A major public information campaign will commence on Monday 21 October to make people aware of the changes. More information on the National Driver Licence Service, including Frequently Asked Questions, an information leaflet and flyer, can be found on www.ndls.ie.
A free APP for smart phones has also been developed which includes a handy NDLS Centre location finder available for both iPhones from iTunes and for Android though the Google Play Store.
A number of short information videos on the new service, detailing what will happen when you visit an NDLS centre, can be viewed on the RSA’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/RSAIreland
In the past number of months reminder notices have been sent to those whose licence is expiring, where we have up to date and current address details, along with an application from and a leaflet on the new service.