The RTA doesn’t recognise licences from all countries, meaning you may need a minimum of 40 half-hour lessons from instructors at authorised driving schools, even if you have been driving without any problems for several years. Holders of provisional licences from recognised countries may be subject to fewer than that amount. The waiting lists for driving lessons can be fairly long, and there are limits to how many lessons can be taken each week, so expect a lengthy wait (and a hefty payment). However, if you’re willing to pay an extra wedge of money, you can get ‘VIP’ treatment, and skip the waiting list. Rules change regularly, so call the RTA on 04 203 6666 (or visit, for up-to-date information.

The test
There is a ‘signal’ test to make sure you know your road signs, then there’s a parking test that involves a reverse park.

Once you pass them both, there’s the main driving test that the driving school also arranges for you.

You’ll be sharing the car with three other hopefuls, with each person driving for about 10 minutes.

You will be expected to perform a number of lane changes and do a U-turn. Once back at the centre, you will then sit in a waiting room. If you are unlucky enough to fail, there is no system of appeals – just take your form, go home and sulk.

Do not argue with the examiner, even if you think they've been unfair, as you might get them next time too. If you do pass the test, then your licence will be issued to you right then at the centre.