Driving Licence

A Driving Licence (DL) is a legal document that permits you to drive a motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, etc) on the public roads of India. It is issued in form of a card by your State Government. A Driver Licence is thus, a legal requirement as per the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. This Act states that no person can drive on public roads without a valid DL issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) or Regional Transport Authority (RTA).

The document works as a personal identity proof. It contains your name, driving licence number, and other details. You can apply for a Driving Licence online or offline, and obtain a permanent DL after passing a practical driving test. Before obtaining a DL, you need to get a Learner’s Licence (LL), and know about road safety and traffic rules.

In this post, we will discuss about purpose of a DL, its features, eligibility criteria, types, difference between DL and LL, procedure to get a driving licence and test, fees for application and documents required, process for LL test, how to get a permanent driving licence, and FAQs.

The Purpose of Possessing a Driving Licence in India

Here is why you will require a DL if you are to drive in India:

  • Legal Provision: If you wish to drive a motor vehicle on roads of India, then by law, you are required to possess a valid driving licence. The document in question must be active (within the expiry date), and authentic. In case of Driver Licence expiry, you must renew it in time.
  • Drive Independently: No matter you are driving your own vehicle or that of another, for an independent commute, the licence is needed. At times, you have to travel alone, or you simply do not wish to take a public transport. At such times, driving a vehicle will ensure commute without having to depend on anyone else.
  • Personal Identity Proof: If you have to submit your identity proof as documentary evidence, then a Driving Licence will suffice. DL is accepted as a government-recognized ID proof at airports, hotels, workplace, and others. Some other important identification documents include PAN Card, Voter ID Card, Aadhaar Card, Passport, etc.

Features of Driving Licence

Here are some of the features of a Driver’s Licence

  • A valid copy of DL carries a unique registration number.
  • It also has the photograph of the licence holder.
  • The card bears the signature and rubber stamp of the officer in charge and issuing office, respectively.
  • The document contains the name of the office from where the licence has been issued. This detail helps you to contact the same for inquiries.

Driving Licence Eligibility Criteria

Here are the eligibility criteria for Driving Licence:

  • To ride a two-wheeler without gear (capacity of up to 50CC), you must be at least 16 years old for getting a two-wheeler licence. You should also know the traffic rules and have a consent from parents or guardians.
  • For motorcycles with gears, minimum age requirement is 18 years with proper knowledge of traffic rules.
  • On the other hand, if you are 18 years of age, then you can drive a four-wheeler, and obtain a Driving Licence.
  • The age to operate a transport vehicle is 20 years (18 years in a few states). To operate heavy commercial vehicle, you should have cleared the 8th standard.
  • If a foreigner wishes to get an Indian DL, then he/she can be eligible to on submitting the required documents with the application form.

Types of Driving Licence in India

Here are the four types of Driver’s Licences in India by the RTO:

1) Learning Licence

To get a permanent driving licence, you must firstly possess a Learning Licence (LL) in India. This document has a validity of 6 months. The LL entails that you have to enhance your knowledge to drive on roads for the first 6 months, after which, you can apply for a permanent Driving Licence, after passing a driving test and theory.

2) Permanent Licence

After passing the theory exam and driving test, you will receive a permanent and valid DL from the RTO. If you are over 18 years of age, you can apply for a Driving Licence online. This document is valid for operating private vehicles such as bikes and cars.

3) Commercial Driving Licence

People who drive heavy vehicles will need a Commercial Driving Licence (CDL). The vessel could be a goods carrying vehicle or passenger vehicle. Here, the applicant for the document must have cleared his/her 8th standard to obtain the licence.

4) International Driving Permit

The non-citizens of India, must have an International Driving Permit to drive on the domestic roads. The validity of such a document is only for a year. The licence holder has to apply for a new one again after the original expires.

Difference Between a Learner’s Licence and a Permanent Driving Licence

Here are pointers to distinguish between an LL and DL:

  • LL is provided to people who are at the beginning state of learning to drive. DL on the other hand is for people who want to legally drive on public roads after expiry of LL.
  • An LL is valid for 6 months, while a permanent DL is initially valid for 20 years.
  • You have to apply for a Learner’s Licence. You can obtain a Driver Licence only after 30 days of LL being issued.

What is the Procedure to Get a Driver Licence?

To apply for a valid driving licence, you need to firstly get a Learner’s Licence. The application process for the same is available both offline and online. You can apply on the official website (Sarathi) by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry.

  • After this, click ‘New Driving Licence’ from the column ‘Sarathi Services’.
  • Fill the driving licence form online with the required details and submit the documents.
  • On the portal, you can also book an appointment (time slot) for the driving test to get the LL. The same will be active after your application is processed.

What is the Procedure of a Driving Test?

An invigilator will be appointed by the RTO. This person in authority will take your driving test and judge if you have passed or failed the test. Your test result will be based on your performance and how well you have completed the provided test. At the time of the test, you have to get your own vehicle. If you do not have a vehicle of your own, then you can use the one from your motor driving school. This vehicle has to be of the same class as mentioned in the application for DL. In case you fail the test, you can retake it after 7 days from the original test.

1) Four-Wheelers Driving Test

There is a specially designed track, on which you have to drive when taking the test. You should make sure to not come in contact with the pillars when driving on the track. If your performance is satisfactory, the invigilator will ask you to drive on the road. After looking at your overall performance, it will be decided if you have passed the test or not.

2) Two-Wheelers and Three-Wheelers Driving Test

The track for this test is an imaginary patter of the figure ‘8’. You are expected to ride within this border without touching the feet on the ground. If the invigilator finds your performance on par, he/she will ask you to ride on the road. After judging your overall performance and control on the vehicle, a decision will be taken as to if you have cleared the test or not.

Fees for Driving Licence Application

Here is the free structure for DL and other vehicle related services:

  • Rs 151 + Rs 50 for Learning Licence test.
  • Rs. 716 for a permanent Driver Licence.
  • Rs 216 for a duplicate DL.
  • Rs. 416 for Driving Licence renewal in India.
  • Rs. 1000 for an International Driving Licence Permit.
  • Rs. 766 for authorization to drive a public service vehicle.
  • Rs. 50 for alternation in vehicle.
  • Rs. 100 for medical certificate/duplicate fitness document.
  • 50% of the registration fee of a particular class of vehicle is required to get a duplicate Vehicle Registration Certificate.

Document to Apply for a Driving Licence

To drop a Driving Licence application, you will need the following documents:

  • A duly filled application form at the RTO or online source.
  • Recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Age proof such as birth certificate, PAN Card, Passport, or Class 10th marksheet.
  • Proof of current address such as electricity bill in your name, Aadhaar Card, Passport, Ration Card, Voter ID Card, house ownership proof, rental agreement if staying in a rental house, etc.
  • Application fees.
  • If you are over 40 years of age, then you have to submit a medical certificate by a certified physician

What is the Process of a Learner’s Licence Test?

When you book the test at RTO, you need to go to the centre with the photocopy of the documents, as well as the originals.

  • You have to submit proof of age, proof of address, and the application fee.
  • The amount of fee differs from a state to another in India. Thus, know the actual fee at the enquiry counter of the centre.
  • For a Learner’s Licence test, you will receive a token which will tell your position in the queue.
  • You will have to give a computer-based test. The questions will be of multiple choice. The questions will examine your knowledge about traffic rules and how well you make judgements based on that.
  • In total there will be 20 questions, and to pass this exam, the minimum marks required is 12.
  • If you pass the test, you will get a receipt which you have to submit to a counter, from where the LL will be issued.

How to Get a Permanent Driving Licence?

You can apply for the permanent DL after 30 days of possessing an LL. But you have to apply for it within 6 months of LL’s issue. You can apply for a permanent Driver Licence soon after 30 days of LL issue. For this, you have to go through a practical driving test. The examiner will also ask a few questions related to the vehicle, along with practical driving with instructions.

  • The test will be conducted on a Forward 8 shaped track. You will also have to give a Reverse S test or Parallel Parking test, and probably drive backwards on an S shaped track.
  • The examiner will judge your performance, especially how smoothly you change the gears and adhere to the traffic rules.
  • After clearing the test, you will receive a receipt. This will be a proof and makeshift licence till you receive the actual card-shaped Driving Licence through a speed post within 2 to 3 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions about Driving Licence in India

Here are the Driver Licence FAQs:

You can obtain a DL from the nearest Road Transport Office (RTO). Every state and city have designated RTOs. Find out the one closest to your place of stay, and drop your application. It is important to get the licence from a legal provider such as from the Sarathi website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Here are tips to clear test for Driving Licence:

  • Till your LL is valid, you must practice to drive well on this licence.
  • Drive regularly on empty roads before trying the highways.
  • Know all the traffic rules properly.
  • During the test, maintain calm, and reach the RTO before time on the test day.
  • Follow the test instruction and drive the motor vehicle with confidence.
  • Use the indicators when changing directions.
  • When the vehicle completely halts, make sure to turn the ignition off.

If your licence is stolen or lost you have to firstly file an FIR (First Information Report) at the nearest police station.

  • The police station should be the one near the site as the case will be under their jurisdiction.
  • The FIR will serve as a complaint proof for the loss of DL.
  • After the complaint, visit the notary office and get an affidavit made about the loss on a stamped paper. In the next step, you can apply for a duplicate Driver Licence.

To get a duplicate licence for driving, submit the details of the original licence, the FIR copy, photocopy of the original DL, proof of age, proof of address, and your passport-sized photograph. You have to submit these documents to the RTO where the application is then processed to release a duplicate DL.

An international driving permit or licence allows you to legally drive on roads of different countries. This document carries the name of the country where the licence was first issued. It also contains details sauch as the VISA number of the card holder. This document is valid for a year.

  • You have to fill a form for an international driving permit at an RTO.
  • Provide your proof of address and proof of age.
  • Duly fill and submit the application form with other documents such as a valid Visa, Passport and its photocopy, medical certificate, passport size photographs, etc.
  • You have to also provide a cover letter detailing why you wish to get an international driver licence.
  • Make the payment of the application fee.
  • After this, your application will be processed. You can collect the licence from the centre or the same will be sent to you on your postal address.