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Holders of British Columbia driving licenses can now exchange these for the Irish equivalent, thanks to a new agreement signed today.

Ireland’s Transport Minister confirmed the news, which comes into effect immediately, and will be widely welcomed by returning emigrants.

The province of British Columbia began exchanging Irish licenses in 2015. However, there was no formal exchange of British Columbian licenses in Ireland until now.

The announcement means it is now easier for holders of British Columbia driving licenses to obtain an Irish equivalent.

British Columbia is the fourth province where a reciprocal agreement has been reached. Arrangements were previously put in place in Ontario, Manitoba, and Newfoundland & Labrador.

For some time now we have been working towards agreement on driving licence exchange with the Canadian provinces,” Irish Transport Minister, Shane Ross, explained.

“With this agreement we now have exchange arrangements in place with four of the ten provinces, meaning over half of Canada’s population is now provided for, and work is continuing on reaching agreement with the remaining six.”

The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) in Ireland advises that applications to exchange a license can take up to two or three months. This is because they will need to contact the authority who issued the license.

Exchanging a British Columbia license for an Irish license

To exchange your license, you must present at a National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centre, with the following:

  • D401 Driving Licence application form
  • Your current British Columbia license
  • Evidence of a PPS Number
  • Eyesight report form D502
  • Evidence of address
  • Evidence of residency entitlement (e.g. Irish passport, or Garda National Immigration Bureau card)
  • Application fee, currently €55

The reciprocal agreement provides for licence exchanges as follows:

B.C. Driving LicenseIrish equivalent
Class 5B*, W
Class 6A1, AM
Class 7B*, W
Class 8A1, AM

*Category B licenses will be restricted to automatic transmission, unless documents are provided to prove the test was passed in a vehicle with manual transmission.

Applicants will be required to surrender their existing license when applying for an Irish equivalent. Where the British Columbia license has expired, it may still be exchanged for up to a year after its expiry when accompanied by a letter of entitlement.