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Is Californian licence valid here?

I was told you could drive here legally with a California driver’s licence. Is this so? Maureen, Loughrea, Galway.

Hi Maureen  - the answer is yes, provided you don’t drive here for more than a year, after which time you would have to exchange your licence for an Irish driver’s licence.  If you are doing that, just make sure that under Californian regulations you can reverse the process without having to do a driving test there, in case you ever go back to California. 

If you are buying a car and driving here for the year it would be important to notify your insurance company that you have a Californian driver’s licence.  This is because there might be additional risk involved in the insurance company taking on someone who is used to driving on the right-hand side of the road.  It would be your obligation to tell the insurance company of this.  

Finally, I have a suggestion – that if you do intend to go home during the year it would be no harm to take out an international driver’s licence in Ireland – that way if you were stopped by the Gardai who mightn’t know that you are entitled to drive here on your Californian licence, the international driver’s licence will sort that out.  The AA issue international driver’s licences.

Here are 2 relevant websites: 

http://www.alltravelireland.com/Ireland/Car_Rental/Driving_Tips.htm#10

http://www.dublincity.ie/RoadsandTraffic/DrivingLicences/Pages/ExchangeForeignLicence.aspx

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