NCT Booking Delays : Can You Get a Free NCT?

There are still some lengthy NCT booking delays in some parts of the country when trying to get an NCT test date.  The worst period for NCT booking delays seems to be around December and January – because  January is when most people first bought their cars.

Cars first registered in 2020 , 2018 , 2016 , 2014 and every year prior to 2014 are due for an NCT in 2024

The best advice is to book early if possible . You can book upto 90 days before your NCT is due.

Free NCT Test if Delayed

An NCT test costs €55 Euro  – but delays in getting an NCT could mean you might get a free test. This is not a new thing – it has been in the NCTS customer charter for several years. This clause was suspended during Covid – but it was reactivated in October 2022.

In 2023 by early June 2023 – over 4000 free NCT tests were given because of delays.

According to the NCT customer charter – :

You will be provided with a test, free of charge, where an appointment cannot be offered within a 28 day period, UNLESS any of the following apply:

the test is overdue by more than 7 days at the time of contacting NCT;

an NCT appointment was offered 7 days or more prior to the test due date;

you have made specific requests regarding suitable days, times or dates;

you have declined or rearranged two or more appointments;

you have failed to attend an appointment; or

you have previously accepted or requested an appointment outside of the 28 day period.

So – if you’re given an appointment which is at least a week before your due date – it doesn’t matter how many weeks away it is – you won’t get it for free.
Also – the free test doesn’t apply if your NCT had expired by more than 7 days when you first contacted NCT.

If you accept a test date online or over the phone which is more than 4 weeks in the future – you will fail the criteria for getting the free test. If that is all they offer you – then point out that it must be free according to their charter.

In 2015 NCTS had to do 81,000 tests for free because of delays – (according to the annual review by the RSA)  .

In the first half of 2023 – over 4000 free NCT tests were given because of delays.

NCT Priority List

It has been pointed out by NCT that the appointments listed on the NCT website are sometimes not a true representation of all the slots available.  To get access to all the available appointments they say it is best to phone the call centre, where it is possible to be put on a priority list.

NCT Priority Booking Online

It is also possible to apply for the NCT priority list online.
You will find the option to add your vehicle to the NCT priority list on the main booking page.
Enter your vehicle details ,confirm that it is your vehicle, scroll to the end of the page and you
will find the priority option there.

In the majority of priority cases – they will eventually come back to you with an appointment that is less than 4 weeks away and therefore it will not be free – but mentioning the option of a FREE NCT might get you an earlier appointment.
If you don’t get an appointment within 28 days , starting from the day after you asked, they are obliged to give you a free test.
The time and day they offer might not always suit you 100% – but it has to be at the test centre of your choice.

The NCT Bookings Phone Number is   01 413 5992 – (Monday-Thursday 8am to 8pm, Friday: 8am -6pm).


Of course – one way to avoid your NCT expiring is to book a test well in advance. The NCT Regulations allow for a car to be tested up to 90 days in advance of the current NCT expiry date test due date without affecting the expiry date of the certificate issued.

NCT Test Within an Hour

The NCT charter also says that customers are entitled to a free test if they have to wait more than 60 minutes after their appointment time before the test begins.  (As long as you arrive on time).  If this happens, you will probably need to ask for a refund – the staff may not just offer it to you.
Plus:  If NCTS cancel your test booking and does not give you at least 5 days notice, a new test appointment should be provided free of charge.

NCT contact details


Post : The Booking Department , National Car Testing Service Ltd

Citywest Business Campus ,Lake Drive 3026 ,Naas Road ,Dublin 24

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