As an expat in Costa Rica, you can drive on a driving license from any state outside the EU/EEA for up to a year provided the driving license is current and valid. However, on taking up ‘normal residence’ in Ireland you must either exchange your driving license or apply for a driving license in Ireland.
How to Exchange your foreign driver’s license to an Ireland Driver’s License
If you have a driving license issued by an EU/EEA member state, you can drive in Ireland as long as your existing license is valid. If you wish to exchange your driving license for an equivalent Irish driving license, you must do so within 10 years of your driving license expiring.
Where a driving license has been issued on foot of an exchange from a country that Ireland does not have an exchange agreement with then Ireland cannot exchange the driving license.
To complete an application, you will need to submit:
• Fully completed application form for a Driving license D401
• Current or most recent EU/EEA driving license (if your license has expired by less than ten years or does not have a category start date you will need to provide an original letter of entitlement / driver statement from the relevant licensing authority)
• If you do not have your most recent driving license in your possession, you will need to present an original letter of entitlement / driver statement from the appropriate licensing authority and must complete the lost or stolen license declaration on the application form and have it witnessed by a member of An Garda Síochána
• Certified translations are required for all letters of entitlement / driver statements which are not in English or Irish
• Photographic I.D.
• Proof of your personal public services number (PPSN)
• Evidence of address dated within the last six months is required if your current address is not recorded on your permit and it differs from that provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if and when you applied for a PSC
• Evidence of residency entitlement, (if you hold a public services card and your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union/European Economic Area, it is adequate to present the PSC)
• Fully completed NDLS medical report form, dated within one month, if required in your case
• Evidence of certificate of professional competence (CPC), if required
• If exchanging a Northern Ireland license it must be accompanied by the counterpart
• Application fee of €55
Ireland has reciprocity agreements with all EU members and a list of other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and South Africa. The Canadian province of Ontario was recently added to the list and rest of Canada is expected to follow shortly.
Visit the National Driver’s License Service for updated information:
the National Driver’s License Service.
Note: Information may not be up-to-date. Please check official government information for latest laws and regulations.