For many driving on roads is more of a passion rather than a necessity and for some, it is one of the best ways that make your travel easy and happy. Being able to drive in a vehicle on any roads in India gives you the liberty to go wherever you want to, but you will not be in a position to enjoy till you have a valid driving license. In India, if you want to drive or ride on roads, obtaining a driving license is compulsory. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 forbids all of us from driving a vehicle without a driving licence. The act visibly states that no one will be allowed to ride or drive on roads without a valid driving licence.

Let us first see what a driving license is and why it is very important.

What is a driving license?

A driving licence is a legal and certified document that authorizes the holder to run all categories of motor vehicles on Indian roads as well as highways. Driving licence is a certification to drive a definite class of the vehicle on the road, like a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler or maybe a commercial vehicle, within national limitations.

Who issues a driving license?

The entire transport process is looked after by the RTA(Regional Transport Authority) or RTO (Regional Transport Office) which are the Regional Transport Offices in the respective state. Driving without the same is treated as a legal offence which is subject to severe consequences.

The Government has allowed the facility of online services that will help you to make an application for a Driving licence and get a driving licence effortlessly and without any botheration.

Why is the driving license necessary?

You need a driving license to drive a vehicle in India. Besides this primary reason, a driving license helps you avoid legal complications when you are caught driving without a license. Moreover, the license also serves as a proof of identity, address and date of birth in different types of transactions. Thus, a driving license is a necessary requirement if you wish to drive.

Types of Driving License

Let us now see the types of driving license. There are four types of Driving licence in India. Let’s understand what these types are so that you know which license you need to avail for your requirement.The following are common types of driving licenses:

  1. Learner’s Driving license: If you are willing to learn driving, a Learner’s License gets issued to you. The Learner’s License is only valid for a period of 30 days after which, you will have to apply for a permanent driving license. The standard criteria for applying for a permanent driving license are that you will have to give and pass the online driving license test at the RTO office. A person holding a learning license like you should be at all times to be escorted by a permanent driving license holder.
  2. Permanent Driving License: As mentioned above, a driving license is a lawful document that empowers an individual to drive a vehicle in Indian roads. Driving license gets issued by the RTO or the RTA post you pass the driving license test effectively. The key eligibility for applying for you to apply for a permanent driving license is to hold a learning license and your age should be minimum 18 years. The application for a permanent driving license can be done by completing the form for a driving license available online. The license gets issued as a smart card which has your personal information like address, photo, address, signature, etc. A chip is being placed on the smart card which holds your biometric information like an impression of the finger with the category of vehicle that you are officially authorized to run.
  3. Commercial Driving License: The process of obtaining a commercial driving license is similar to that of receiving a driving license for private vehicles. In this case, the health aspect of the applicant is carefully checked when issuing this kind of driving license. You as an applicant need to pass the 8th standard test from a certified school. The minimum age of the candidate varies per the rules of various Indian states. This type of license allows you to drive heavy nature which helps in the transportation of goods or travellers.
  4. International Driving License: An international driving license allows you to take a vehicle on rent and drive a vehicle in a foreign land. This permit needs to be used with the permanent driving license. The validity of this type of license is for 1-year after which you will have to again apply for another International Driving License.

Different classes of Driving license

The driving license also depends on the type of vehicle which would be driven using the license. There are different classes of driving licenses based on the different types of vehicles plying in India. These classes of driving licenses and the vehicle types that they cover are as follows –

  1. MC 50CC (Motorcycle 50cc) — All Motorcycles having the engine capacity of 50 cc or less
  2. MC EX50CC (Motorcycle more than 50cc) — All Motorcycles and Light Motor Vehicle car
  3. MC Without Gear or M/CYCL.WOG (Motorcycle Without Gear) — Motorcycles and Scooters without gears.
  4. Motorcycles or Scooters of any engine capacity, with or without gears with an engine capacity of 50cc or more.
  5. MC With Gear or M/CYCL.WG (Motorcycle with Gear) — Motorcycles.
  6. LMV-NT (Light Motor Vehicle—Non-Transport) — Used for only personal
  7. LMV-TR (Light Motor Vehicle—Transport) — For commercial transportation together with light goods carrier.
  8. LMV (Light Motor Vehicle) — For cars, jeeps, taxis, delivery vans.
  9. LDRXCV (Loader, Excavator, Hydraulic Equipment)—For Commercial purpose of all hydraulic heavy equipment.
  10. HMV (Heavy Motor Vehicle) – A person holding an LMV vehicle driving licence is only eligible to apply for heavy driving licence
  11. HPMV (Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle)- Heavy passenger vehicles
  12. HTV (Heavy Goods Motor Vehicle, Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle)- Heavy Transport Vehicle 
  13. TRANS (Heavy Goods Motor Vehicle, Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle)
  14. TRAILERE — A person holding a heavy vehicle driving licence is only eligible to apply for heavy trailer licence

Format of a driving license

The driving license contains a unique identification number of the applicant which is mentioned in the format AA – 12 – 1234 – 1234567. The format can be explained as below –

  • The first two letters are the code of the State in which the driving license is issued. So, if you avail a driving license in Maharashtra, the first two letters would be MH
  • The next two digits are the code of the city in which the license is issued. So, if the license is issued in Pune, the code would be 12
  • The next four digits represent the year in which the license has been issued. If the year is 2020, the next four digits would be 2020
  • The last seven digits are the unique identification number which is allotted by the RTO.

So, if you avail a driving license in Pune in 2020, the format would be MH – 12 – 2020 – 1234567 where 1234567 would be the code issued by the RTO.

Eligibility criteria for getting different types of driving licenses in India

To avail a driving license you have to fulfil some basic eligibility criteria. The eligibility for driving licence in India is dependent on the category of the vehicle and the kind of driving licence.

The eligibility criteria for many permanent Driving licence types in India are explained below:

Type of Vehicle

Eligibility Criteria

For Motorcycles with gear

You should be minimum of 18 years of age and should be aware of traffic rules with a valid age and address proof.

For Motorcycles without gear (capacity of up to 50CC)

You should be a minimum of 16 years and should have the consent of your guardian or parents. You should be familiar with traffic rules with an effective age and address proof.

For Commercial Heavy Vehicles and Transport Vehicles

You as an aspirant should pass 8th standard and must be above 18 years (In a few states the lowest age for this category is 20 years).

You need to be trained from a government training institute or any place which is associated with the state government.

How to Apply for a Driving License in India?

  • Procedure to Apply Online for all types of Driving licences in India
  • You must know the process of applying for an online driving licence for all types of Driving licence in India which is an easy and a hassle-free process with just a few steps so that you do not have to waste your time energy and end up doing duplicate work. You will have to visit the official Sarathi website named https://sarathi.parivahan.gov.in/ of the Road Transport & Highways Ministry. From the column “Sarathi Services,” you will have to carefully choose the “New Driving Licence” option. After this, you will be taken to a new web page, which will show all the essential details. The form can be downloaded and filled correctly.

    The detailed process for filling out an online application for a Driving Licence online is as follows:

    • After visiting the website, you will see the choice of “Driving Licence”
    • You will have to select “Apply Online” and from the drop-down choose “New Driving Licence”
    • The directions need to be read cautiously by you and then “Continue” key to be clicked
    • The applicable box needs to be chosen by you like whether you are having a Learner’s Licence or a Foreign DL etc.
    • You will have to fill the date of birth in DDMMYYYY format and then tap on” OK” where you need to fill the personal details like your name, age, and address
    • After above, you will have to upload all the essential documents of address proof, age proof, and identity proof and scan and upload the photo with signature
    • You will have to choose the date and time to go directly to the RTO and appear for the test after which the application will be sent to the RTO after the necessary payment. After the application is processed and completed, a message will be sent to you
    • You will then have to go to the RTO office and give the test and then you will get the driving license upon passing the same.
  • Process for applying offline for all types of Driving licence in India through the RTO
  • You can also go physically to the RTO and apply for a driving license. Below are the steps are given below as to how to apply for a Driving licence in RTO –

    1. You will have to get a Form 4 – application form for motor vehicle driving licence in India. You can download the form from the respective State Transport website or you can visit the nearest RTO to get the same
    2. The form has to be filled correctly by you with documents like your age and your address proof and you need to submit at the RTO in the corresponding jurisdiction. The specific slot will be given after the payment is done

You need to be present as per the stated date and time for the test. After passing, the driving licence will be given or will be delivered to your registered address.

Documents necessary for availing a driving license

To avail a driving license, there are different types of documents which you need to submit to the RTO. The license would be issued only if all the documents are submitted and verified. The list of documents which are needed to apply for a driving license includes the following –

  1. A valid age proof which can be your Voter’s ID card, passport, PAN Card, birth certificate, Aadhar card, mark sheet of Class 10, etc.
  2. A valid proof of current as well as the permanent address which can be your passport, Aadhar card, Voter’s ID card, utility bills, rent agreement, house agreement, ration card, etc.
  3. An application form for applying for the license
  4. 6 passport-size photographs for availing a Learner’s License or 1 photograph for getting the permanent driving license
  5. The relevant fee for application
  6. Form 1 and 1A which is the physical fitness certificate filled by the applicant and a medical practitioner respectively

How to clear the driving test to get the driving license?

You would have to take a learning test and a driving test and pass it before the driving license is issued. The date and time of the test would have to be selected when you apply for the driving license. The test is conducted after you have applied for a driving license and have submitted your documents along with the required fee.

For the learning test, different multiple-choice questions are asked on the test and you have to choose the correct answer. Once you clear the test, you get a learner’s license. The driving test is then scheduled one month after the learner’s license is issued.

For the driving test, you would have to physically go and appear for the test at a designated area. The process of taking the test is as follows –

  1. Reach the venue where the test is supposed to take place at least an hour before the scheduled time
  2. The test would be taken along with a Motor Vehicles Inspector
  3. You would have to drive the vehicle, a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler, on the designated track
  4. The Motor Vehicle Inspector would observe your driving skills and whether you follow the rules of driving like taking the right lane, using indicators, etc.
  5. Once you complete the test, you would get the result.

The validity of the Driving License in India

Now that you know the various aspects of applying for a driving license, you also must know the validity and the renewal process. In India, driving licences are valid and effective for 20 years from the issuance date or till the license holder reaches 50 years, either of which comes earlier. For commercial vehicles, the driving licence is valid until 3 years. A driving license can be renewed before the expiry date.

What is the renewal process of all types of Driving licence in India?

Suitably filled renewal application form other mandatory documents need to be submitted to the Assistant in the respective RTO. The license will be renewed for another 5 years if the renewal is for a Non-Transport Vehicle and for 3 years if the renewal is for a transport vehicle. The person can obtain the renewed licence on the same day if the licence is obtained in the same office, else it will take 20 days. Form 9 which is the application for the renewal of the Driving Licence is a document which has few questions on different information. And needless to say, that the main part of the mentioned form consists of the details of the current driving license of the candidate.

Issuance of duplicate driving license

If you lose your driving license, you would have to apply for a duplicate driving license because driving without a valid driving license is illegal. For a duplicate license, you would have to first, file a report of your missing license. File an FIR with the police notifying that the license has been lost. Avail a copy of the FIR. Go to a notary and avail an affidavit on a stamped paper declaring the loss of license. Then, apply for a duplicate license with the RTO. The application would have to be made in LLD form available with RTO. Fill up the form stating all your details and submit the form to the RTO along with the copies of the police FIR and the affidavit. A duplicate license would then be issued by the RTO.

A driving license is an essential requirement for driving a vehicle legally. Driving will be hassle-free if all the rules are followed properly from the time you are applying for the driving license, buying the vehicle and finally driving the same on the road with a valid driving license. Hence, avail a driving license if you want to drive a vehicle on Indian roads.


FAQ’s

Yes, you can have a smart card driving license in India by paying the requisite charge and submitting documents for age and address proof, application form, passport size photo and the learning license.


Not at all! You cannot use anyone else’s driving license for driving a motor vehicle in India. If caught, the penalty can be imprisonment up to 6 months or fined or both might occur.


Driving a vehicle without a driving license can be penalized up to INR 5000 or imprisonment up to 3 months or both.


You can track your online driving license status through https://sarathi.nic.in:8443/nrportal or directly at the respective RTO office.


No, you cannot change the address in your driving license online. But you can make an application to change the same online and visit the respective RTO with the original document for verification purpose.

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