A driving license is an officially valid document that permits you to operate several types of motor vehicles like a car, motorbike, bus, truck, etc on public roads and highways. In various Indian states, they are managed and directed by the Regional Transport Authorities or Offices as RTA or RTO. A driving license is mandatory in India by any individual driving a vehicle on a public road or any highway as well-defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and no individual is authorized to drive a motor vehicle in a public place without a valid Driving license.
In simple language, if you wish to drive a motor vehicle like a four-wheeler or a two-wheeler on roads, you must primarily hold a valid driving license in India. Also, if you are learning and practising to drive a vehicle, it’s important to get a Learners license which will be treated as a provisional license and after that, a driving test is conducted for you to be eligible to get a Driving license. In this digital era, online services are available that will help you to get your Driving license with just a few clicks and get an online driving license easily and without any hassle.
Types of Driving License in India
You need to understand some common types of driving licenses available. Let us see them as below
- Permanent Driving License: As mentioned above, a driving license is an official permission that enables you to drive a vehicle in India. Driving license is issued by the RTO office after you clear the license test successfully. The primary eligibility for applying for a permanent driving license is holding a learning license and is of at least 18 years of age. You can apply for a permanent license by filling out the online driving license form. The license is issued as a smart card that shows your personal data like a photograph, address, signature, address, etc. A chip is being put on the smart card which has your biometric information like a fingerprint together with the type of vehicle for which you are legally authorized to operate.
- Learner’s Driving license: As the name says, a Learning License is issued to you if you wish to learn how to drive a vehicle. This license is only valid for 30 days after which, you as a learning license holder may apply for a permanent driving license. The criterion for applying for a permanent driving license is that you have to pass an online driving license test which happens at the RTO office. Online Driving License is more suitable than going and visiting the RTO office personally thereby saving much of your time. If you are having a learning license then you must be always accompanied by a permanent driving license holder.
- Commercial Driving License: The procedure of obtaining a commercial driving license is similar to that of getting a driving license for private vehicles. Here, your health position is methodically checked while issuing this type of driving license. You must compulsorily have to pass at least the 8th standard exam from a sanctioned school. The minimum age limit of the applicant differs as per the rules and regulations of various Indian states. This license approves you to drive heavy vehicles which aid in the conveyance of goods or passengers.
- International Driving License: An international driving license permits you to rent and drive a vehicle in foreign countries. This permit is to be used in combination along with a permanent driving license. The validity of the license is for 1-year, then you need to again apply for the same.
As we know by now that driving license is issued to you as per the type of the vehicle. Now here is given below a comprehensive list of categories for which you can apply for the driving license in India:
- MC 50CC (Motorcycle 50cc) — All Motorcycles with an engine capacity of 50 cc or less
- MC EX50CC (Motorcycle more than 50cc) — All Motorcycles and Light Motor Vehicle car
- Motorcycles or Scooters of any engine capacity, with or without gears with an engine capacity of 50cc or more
- MC Without Gear or M/CYCL.WOG (Motorcycle Without Gear) — All motorcycles and Scooters without gears
- MC With Gear or M/CYCL.WG (Motorcycle with Gear) — All motorcycles.
- LMV-NT (Light Motor Vehicle—Non-Transport) — Used for only personal
- LMV-TR (Light Motor Vehicle—Transport) — Used for commercial transportation together with light goods carrier
- LMV (Light Motor Vehicle) — This includes cars, jeeps, taxis, delivery vans
- LDRXCV (Loader, Excavator, Hydraulic Equipment)—Used for Commercial purpose of all hydraulic heavy equipment
- HMV (Heavy Motor Vehicle) – An individual holding an LMV vehicle driving license is only eligible for applying for heavy driving license
- HPMV (Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle)- All heavy passenger vehicles
- HTV (Heavy Goods Motor Vehicle, Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle)- This includes Heavy Transport Vehicle
- TRANS (Heavy Goods Motor Vehicle, Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle) TRAILER — An individual holding a heavy vehicle driving license is only eligible for applying for heavy trailer license
Features of An Authentic Driving License:
Nowadays there are quite a few frauds that are happening in terms of false documents etc, hence you need to know some of the main features of driving license so that you are aware of the structure of a proper driving license to understand whether the same is authentic or not.
Following are the important characteristics of a valid license which can help you differentiate it from a false one:
- In India, the driving license must reflect the name of the issuing authority
- The driving license should have a rubber stamp and the signature of the officer in charge of the issuing authority
- The driving license will comprise of a registration number to exclusively identify the owner of the license
- The driving license will have the owner’s passport size photo with details like date of birth, address and blood group
An interesting point to note there that there are many other features that we as common people cannot see by the naked eye on the license. This feature helps Indian authorities to easily distinguish an authentic license from a duplicate one.
Eligibility criteria for getting different types of driving licenses in India
Now, we will take you through the eligibility for driving license in India which is again dependent on the type of vehicle and the type of driving license. The eligibility criteria for various permanent Driving license types in India are as below:
Type of Vehicle
Motorcycles with gear
You should be at least 18 years old and should be aware of traffic regulations together with your valid age proof and proof of your address
Motorcycles without gear (capacity of up to 50CC)
You should be of a minimum of 16 years old and must have the permission of his guardian or parents. You must be aware of traffic regulations together with your valid age proof and proof of your address
Commercial Heavy Vehicles and Transport Vehicles
You should pass the 8th standard and should be above 18 years (In some states, the minimum age this vehicle type is 20 years).
You need to be trained from a government training school or any other place that is affiliated with the state government.
A learner’s license is mandatory before a Permanent License
It is important for you to understand that the first step to procuring the driving license in India is receiving a Learner’s License. A Learner’s License is a temporary license issued by the respective state Regional Transport Office (RTO) and Regional Transport Authority (RTO) and treated as a temporary & constrained License. You need to be conversant with road sense and traffic rules, of course, to get a Learner’s License. In India, Learner’s License will be allotted to you after you pass a written or online exam that will assess your knowledge on the rules of the road. After getting a Learner’s License, you will be allowed to practice driving on public roads. However, you as a learner have to be escorted by a permanent driving license holder.
In India, every region and state has its own RTO or RTA office in all major cities from where one can get the Learner’s License. Now, many state RTOs have their online portal where an online driving license can be applied without any hassle. The necessary online driving license forms are readily available together with mock Learner’s License tests, there is not much hassle in getting a Learner’s License.
Why is it essential a Learner’s License in India?
You must be wondering on the point as to why there is so much focus on the Learner’s License. Some of the reasons as to why you require a Learner’s License in India are as below:
- A Learner’s License legally allows you to learn driving with a knowledgeable and skilled instructor or driver on the Indian roads
- You can practice driving with a permanent Driving License holder. This, in turn, will help one to acquire driving skills before the vehicle is taken out finally
- Easy to apply and get a permanent Driving License if you are having a valid Learner’s License
- You get familiar with road and traffic guidelines and become more comfortable to drive
Process of applying for an Online Driving License in India
Now let us see how you can apply for a driving license in India. In India, many state RTO websites provide online facilities for Learner’s License applications. The general process of how an application is made to get a Learner’s License online is as below:
- You just search in google to find the transport department’s website for the respective state or the RTO website to check whether the website has the online facility of applying for Learner’s License
- If the state transport department provides the facility for applying for a Learner’s License online, then you need to fill up necessary information like father’s name, postal code, district, Aadhaar card number, and locality. Then you need to upload requisite documents like your age proof and your proof of address online before submitting the form
- Some state RTOs provide the feature where you can choose the Learner’s License test schedule. You can make a payment towards the Learner’s License application & test online and can also get a receipt in your email address about the test timing and day
- Some RTO websites help to download the application which you will have to present later at the RTO before taking the test together with other documents in original
- You must be present at the RTO / Learner’s License test facility to take the Learner’s License test as per the schedule
A step-by-step process for applying for Online Driving Licence
For your ease, we are giving below the main steps for applying for an online driving license which is a very easy and a simple process and comprises of few steps. You can go to the authorized website named Sarathi –https://sarathi.parivahan.gov.in/ of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry.
5 easy steps to be followed for applying for online driving license
- Register Online
- Fill the form
- Submit the form
- Give Learner’s License Test
- Schedule the Test and attend
- Get the license
The detailed procedure for filling out an online application for a Learner’s Licence or a Driving Licence online is as follows:
- After you visit the website, you can see the option of “Driving Licence”
- You have to select the section “Apply Online” and then select “New Driving Licence”
- You need to read the directions cautiously and then “Continue”
- You need to tick the relevant box upon asking the options like whether you have a Learning Licence, an international license permit, or any Licence from defence and then you need to put the license number accordingly
- You need to fill your date of birth and then tap on” OK” where you need to fill up your individual details
- You will have to upload other important documents for your proof of address, proof of age, and proof of your identity
- You will have to upload the scanned copy of your photograph with signature
- The schedule for the test needs to be selected by you so that you can visit the RTO and give the test
- The application will be sent to the RTO post the payment made along with the form
- Once the application has been processed, a notification will be sent to you via SMS
- After completing the above, you will have to visit and give the test
Process for applying for your Driving license in RTO or Offline in India
Other than the above online method, you can also go physically to the RTO office and put an application for applying for your Driving license in India, which is user-friendly and simple. Below are the steps are given below for your understanding.
- You will have to get Form 4 which is the application form for driving license. You will have to take the Form from the respective Transport website of the State or you can visit the RTO to acquire Form 4
- The application form needs to be filled appropriately by you with documents of your age proof and your proof of address and to be submitted at the RTO in the respective jurisdiction. A schedule with a specific slot will be given after the payment is made by you
- You need to be present as per the specified day for the test. Once passed, the driving license will be given to you there itself or will be posted to your recorded address
- When you are getting lessons from a Driving institute, the school also can assist you to get a driving license
A step-by-step process for applying for a Learner’s License in RTO or Offline in India
The process for applying for a Learner’s License is the same as applying for a permanent driver’s license with basic few differences. You can easily apply for a Learner’s License directly at the RTO office. Below are the steps for you to understand the application process for a Learner’s License at the RTO.
- You will have to get either Form 2 or Form 3 which is for the application of Learner’s License with passport photographs. These forms can be very easily downloaded online or can be directly obtained from the RTO office
- The application form needs to be filled in correctly and accurately by you by attaching your photographs, your identity proof. You need to visit the after submitting the required form with other documents, the schedule for the test will be fixed
- You need to be present as per the specified schedule for the test. Once passed, the driving license will be given to you will be posted to your recorded address
- When you are getting lessons from a Driving institute, the institute also can assist you to obtain your driving license
Online Application V/S Offline Application of a Driving License: Reason for applying Online Driving Licence
In this age of fast life, applying for an online driving license is definitely more appropriate and easier for you as it takes less time rather than going and doing the entire thing physically. There is no need for you to stand in the queue to collect the form and you can download the required form from the official website, fill all the details and submit the same to the RTO and get ready for the test.
The important point to note here is that you cannot apply online for a learning license for getting a commercial driving license. You can only apply for a learning license for getting the license for private use. You are allowed to put an application for Learner’s License for multiple classes of vehicles. The initial test is the same for all categories of vehicles regardless of the type of vehicle.
You will have to fulfil the below criteria for applying for a Learning license:
- You need to be more than 16 years of age for driving a two-wheeler and 18 years of age for driving a four-wheeler
- You are eligible for applying for your permanent license a month after your Learner’s license is issued
- You are eligible for applying for your permanent driving license in 6 months after your Learner’s license is issued
List of Documents Required to Be Submitted for Driving Licence
Knowing the documents involved in obtaining a license both permanent as well as learning license is important as it will help you avoid wastage of time, will reduce unnecessary travelling to the transport offices due to lack of some conditions and other vital things.
- Documents needed for getting a Learner’s Licence
You will need the below documents which you have to upload. You need to upload the learner license application form number 2:
- Form Number 1 which is your declaration about your physical appropriateness
- Form Number 1- A which is a declaration given by an authorized doctor about fitness
- Passport-size photographs
- Proof of your address: Can be anyone from the below list:
- Ration card
- LIC policy in your name
- Voter’s Id
- Aadhar Card
- Proof of your age: Can be anyone from the below list:
- Voter’s Id
- Birth certificate
- School leaving certificate
- LIC policy in your name
- Documents needed for a Permanent Driving License
Following are the documents which need to be submitted by you along with the application Form no: 9 which is the application for the renewal of driving license:
- Learner’s Licence.
- Proof of address: Any one of the following documents can be submitted as proof of address-
- Ration card
- Voters’ Id
- Aadhar Card
- Life insurance policy
- Utility bills like telephone bill, electricity, gas bill
- State or Central Government issued payslip
- House Agreement
- Proof of age: It can be any one of the following:
- Pan Card
- Aadhar Card
- School matriculation certificate
- Voter’s identity card (EPIC card)
- Birth certificate
- Driving school certificate (for transport vehicle driving license applicants)
- All documents pertaining to the vehicle to be used for the driving test
- Passport-sized photograph
- Additional documents needed:
- 3 photographs which should be of passport-sized when you are putting an application for a learner’s license
- 3 photographs which should be of passport-sized when you are putting an application for a permanent driving license
- applying for a permanent driving license
- Application fees
- Appropriately filled up the application form
- If you are more than 40 years of age, a certificate is needed from any authorized doctor about your physical fitness
Test Process to obtain the Driving License in India
Any final degree or accreditation has to go through a test process and so is in the case of driving license as well. You will need to give a test to measure your driving expertise and knowledge of the traffic rulebooks.
- Timeline within which you need to apply for your permanent driving license after getting your learning license as mentioned above under “criteria for applying for a Learning license”
- At least one hour before, you must appear for the test
- All the application documents need to be submitted by you and then you need to pay the required fees along with the appointment slip for the test if there was an online driving license application
- Test procedures are State-specific; however, the test happens in front of a designated Motor Vehicle Examiner
- You will need to showcase a ‘Parallel Parking test’, ‘Onward 8 formed path tests’, or maybe an ‘Opposite S’ or have to show ‘Driving back on an S-form track’
- You have to make sure that your foot should be up in case of a two-wheeler test, and for a car driving exam, you must use the rear glasses, use appropriate hand signs and move gears competently
- You will have to give a test in writing related to the traffic guidelines
- And If you have applied for online driving license, the test will be taken online
- After you pass all tests, a receipt is given to you which will act as your driving license till upon receiving the final driving license
What is the process to obtain a Learner’s Licence in India?
Well, now that you know the normal test process of getting a driver’s license, let us see the same for getting a learner’s license. You as a Learner’s License applicant will have to give an online test if the online driving license application is made or a written test that will check your knowledge about the road rules and safety signs. Important points for you to note here as below:
- You need to be present at the test venue at least half an hour before the chosen slot
- Mostly RTOs hand over a printed notice having important points like road signals and rules which will be tested
- Submission of the confirmation slip at the selected counter is needed by you with the payment for the test
- If you fail the test, you will be allowed to retake the test after a week. You can apply for the Driving License 30 days after the date of the issue of the Learner’s License. The application for permanent Driving License needs to be filed within 180 days date of issue of the Learner’s License
Process of Issuance of a Duplicate Driving License:
There might be incidents when you may lose the driving license like stolen, getting robbed, dropping the document by mistake, etc. What will you do in such scenarios? Well, you need not panic, its just that you must know the process of getting a duplicate driving license as an Indian resident and follow the same with patience.
The steps are as follows:
- Step 1: Visit the nearest police station and lodge a report
You must visit the nearest police station and complain. The police officer in charge must give a First Information Report FIR which is a written document arranged by police when they receive information about a cognizable offence
- Step 2: Get a stamped affidavit
After complaining about the lost driving license, you must visit a notary office to get an affidavit stamped on a paper to prove that you took a pledge before a notary public or any other concerned authorized person for the loss of the driving license
A step-by-step procedure to get a Duplicate Driving License
In continuation with the above point, you need to note that you can get a duplicate DL if the original one is misplaced, torn or has been stolen as mentioned above. In all these situations, you must submit the following documents which are essential to get a duplicate.
- Application form LLD which is the form for applying for duplicate driving license
- First Instance Report or FIR as mentioned above and If the license was stolen or torn, then an NCR form
- You will have to furnish the original DL if it is soiled, torn or mutilated
- Xerox of the original license
- License details
- Passport size photographs
- Age proof
After furnishing the above documents to the respective officer in charge at the Road Transport Office, the officer will follow the required procedures and issue a duplicate driving license.
Online Process to apply for a Duplicate Driving License:
The Indian Government, with the help of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has made it easy and possible for you if you want to get a duplicate DL by applying online. Some basic steps are as follows:
- You will have to fill and submit an online LLD form as mentioned above
- You need to take the necessary printouts with attached photographs with sign
- After above you will have to visit the RTO from where the original license was received
- No further test is required to be given by you
- After the above, you will be given a receipt that may be used as your driving license till you get the duplicate one. The driving license will then be processed and will be sent through the post
How To Get An International Driving License in India?
Foreign nationals living in India, or Indian citizens who live in other foreign countries can also utilize their international driving license to drive in India. An international driving license contains the name of the country for which or where it is issued and the visa number of the license holder. As an Indian national, you must know that the country’s license can be used in other countries as well.
Also, if you are travelling to the countries like Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Mauritius, Canada, Spain, Finland and Norway you need not apply for the international driving license at least for the first six months. However, after the expiry of the six months, you will not be allowed on the road with the Indian driving license. In this situation, you will be required to put the application again for an international license.
The process to get an international license.
- Step 1: Filling up the international DL forms
You can get the form number 4A which is the application for an international driving permit from any RTO upon payment of a fee of INR 1,000
- Step 2: Need to submit the requirements:
The requirements will consist of the following which you need to submit:
- Your current driving license
- Address proof
- Original Passport with a photocopy of the same
- Valid visa and not an expired one
- Medical certificate which can be obtained at RTO office
- Filled up International Driving License form
- A cover letter that explains the explanations why you need the international Driving license
- 4 recent photographs
- Step 3: Payment of application fee
After the above, you will have to pay the application fee for the license as mentioned. The same will be posted to your address as recorded with the RTO or you can visit the RTO office and collect it physically as well.
Hope the above has given a good idea about various aspects of driving license in India. It is very important to adhere to the required legal norms of the process to ensure that you are safe and you do not get into any trouble unnecessarily. Hence, now you can easily apply for any type of driving license as per your requirement, follow the process, submit the required documents and get your driving license to drive safely.