• Driving Licence In India

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    A driving licence is defined as an official permission or official document given to a person to drive a vehicle after he/she passes a driving test. In India, it is mandatory for every individual who drives a vehicle to get a driving licence as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The driving licence issued by the transport authority proves that the person has taken necessary tests and is well aware of the traffic rules and regulations and safety guidelines laid down by the government.

    Driving licence types

    The Regional Transport Offices (RTO), around the country, issue the driving licence cards to the applicants. There are different types of driving licenses in the country. The details are given below:

    • Learning licence: The learning licence is a driving permit that is provided before the driving licence. The individual with a learning licence is allowed to learn how to drive a car within the 6 months mentioned on the learning licence document. Once he/she is confident, he/she can then apply for a permanent driving licence.
    • Permanent driving licence: The permanent driving licence is the final driving permit provided to the individual allowing him/her to drive a car on Indian roads. A person can apply for the permanent driving licence 30 days after his/her learning licence was issued. The person is required to apply for it within 180 days from the day the learning licence was issued to him/her. To get a permanent driving licence in India, one should be able to drive safely and be aware of the traffic regulations. The transport authorities, hence, conduct tests to understand where the person stands in terms of his/her knowledge of driving and road rules.
    • Two-wheeler licence or motorcycle licence: This is a separate driving licence provided to individuals who wish to ride only two-wheelers. This type is further divided into categories based on the motorcycle the person wants to ride. The bikes are categorised based on the engine capacity and whether it has a gear or not. A person who has a two-wheeler licence to ride a gearless two-wheeler is not permitted to ride a motorcycle with gear.
    • Driving licence for commercial use: Individuals such as auto rickshaw drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, delivery van drivers, etc., who wish to drive vehicles for commercial purposes have to get a separate driving licence. The vehicles are differentiated as light motor vehicles, heavy motor vehicles, heavy passenger motor vehicles, medium goods vehicles, and so on. One has to apply for the driving licence and mention the category of vehicles he/she wants to drive.
    • International driving licence: Most driving licence types mentioned above permit individuals to drive within India and a few other select countries. But if a person plans to travel to a foreign country and wants to drive there, he/she will have to get an international driving licence. An international driving licence will need the visa, passport, and travel ticket in addition to the regular address proof and identity proof documents. An international driving licence is usually valid for a year and will be issued only if the person has a permanent driving licence in India.

    How to apply for driving licence online

    The transport ministry has made the driving licence application simple and easy by allowing applicants to apply and book test slots on their official portal. The details of the process are given below.

    Step 1: Apply for learning licence

    To get a driving licence, you will have to first get a learning licence to permit you to learn how to drive a car. Here are the steps to be followed to get a learning licence:

    • Visit the official website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
    • Under ‘Driving Licence’, click ‘Apply Online’.
    • From the drop-down menu, select ‘New Learner’s Licence’.
    • Read the instructions provided and click ‘Continue’.
    • Fill in all the details required.
    • Upload proof of identity and proof of address documents.
    • Upload your passport-sized photograph and signature.
    • Then, book a test slot to take the preliminary learning licence test which basically comprises a set of theoretical questions.
    • Make the payment for the learning licence application.
    • You will receive the learning licence once you pass the test.

    Once you pass the test, the RTO will verify all the details and issue a learning licence with a validity of 6 months from the day the licence is issued.

    Step 2: Apply for driving licence

    Once you are given the learner’s licence, you can learn how to drive a car. Make sure you carry your learner’s licence when you practice driving. After completion of 30 days from the day the learning licence was issued, you can apply for the driving licence. You are required to apply for the permanent driving licence before the learning licence expires.

    Follow the below-mentioned steps to apply for a driving licence online:

    • Open the official website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
    • Find ‘Apply online’ under ‘Driving Licence’.
    • After you click ‘Apply online’, click ‘New Driving Licence’.
    • Go through the instructions given on the redirected page and click ‘Continue’.
    • Fill in the details as requested on each page.
    • Upload the necessary documents along with your recent passport-sized photograph and signature, if required.
    • Book a test slot for your driving test if the facility is available in your state.
    • Pay the applicable driving licence fee.
    • Once you pass the test, the permanent driving licence will be sent to your postal address.

    After you pass the driving test, the driving licence will be issued to you by the transport authority.

    How to apply for driving licence offline

    Alternatively, you can apply for the driving licence offline at your nearest RTO. In this case, too, you will have to apply for the learning licence first and then apply for the driving licence. Here’s how to go about it:

    • Get a driving licence application form, either form 1 for learner’s licence or form 4 for permanent licence. The application form will be available at the nearest RTO.
    • Fill in all the details required in the form and submit it along with the proof of address and proof of age.
    • Request the RTO officials to schedule a test.
    • Pay the fee and take the test on the scheduled date.
    • Once you attend and pass the test, the transport authority will send the driving licence to you.

    Driving licence test

    The driving licence is provided to an individual only after he/she passes the driving licence test. The test is conducted to issue licences for two-wheeler vehicles as well as cars. The test, in most cases, is conducted by a motor vehicle inspector. For a two-wheeler test, the person will have to ensure his/her feet do not touch the ground while riding the entire stretch. For a car driving licence test, the applicant has to make use of mirrors, follow all traffic rules, keep in mind any signs he/she may come across, shift gears correctly, and use appropriate hand signals. The inspector may ask the individual to take the 8-shaped track test, S-shaped reverse test, or a parallel parking test.

    One can take driving licence practice tests by joining a driving school that will help the person learn and prep himself/herself for the final driving test. In the case of the learner’s licence test, the applicant will have to go through a theoretical test based on traffic rules, road signs, and so on. One can find abundant sources online that will list out some of the commonly asked questions in such tests.

    Details on a driving licence

    The driving licence, which is a document that permits an individual to ride or drive a vehicle, can also be used as a proof of identity. The driving licence smart card in India has the following details on it:

    • Individual’s basic details such as name, date of birth, and address
    • The vehicle class and type for which the permit is given
    • Date of issue of the driving licence
    • Licence validity details
    • Serial number of the chip
    • Details about the issuing authority
    • Signature of the individual

    How to renew my driving licence

    A driving licence is usually valid for 20 years from the day it was issued or when the individual turns 50 years old, whichever is earlier. It is important for a person who drives a car, for personal or commercial reasons, to renew his/her driving licence within 30 days from the day the licence expires. The driving licence will be valid for 30 days from the day it expires, so one will have to renew his/her driving licence within that period. Failure to do so will attract fines at the time of renewal. If the person does not renew the driving licence for 5 years after it has expired, the person will have to apply for a fresh driving licence. Additionally, he/she will be fined if caught without a driving licence by the traffic police.

    The procedure to renew one’s driving licence is given below:

    • Get the driving licence renewal form number 9. It is available online as well as in RTO offices.
    • Fill in all the details and submit it along with the below-mentioned documents:
      • Expired driving licence
      • Medical certificates - Form number 1 and 1A
      • Valid proof of age
      • Valid proof of address
      • Passport-sized photographs
      • Driver refreshing certificate, in case of heavy motor vehicle commercial licence
      • No objection certificate, in case the renewal is being applied in a state different from the one that issued the previous driving licence

    How to get a duplicate driving licence

    A person may need a duplicate driving licence if he/she lost his/her driving licence or finds that it is damaged. Anyone who requires a duplicate driving licence can get one from the same RTO he/she got the original driving licence from.

    In case the original driving licence was lost or stolen, the following procedure needs to be followed:

    • Visit the police station that is in the same jurisdiction as the place where your driving licence was lost/stolen.
    • Lodge an FIR regarding the lost/stolen driving licence.
    • Visit a notary and get an affidavit for the lost licence.

    Once the above-mentioned procedure is completed, one can apply for a duplicate driving licence by following the procedure mentioned below:

    • Get an LLD application form online or from the RTO where you were issued your original driving licence.
    • Fill in all the details in the form.
    • Attach your photographs and sign the document.
    • Submit the form along with a list of documents mentioned below:
      • Photocopy of your original driving licence
      • Proof of age documents
      • Passport-sized photos
      • Original driving licence if a new one is applied for because it is damaged
      • First Instance Report (FIR)
    • Collect the receipt from the RTO official after submission of all the documents.
    • The details will be verified and the duplicate driving licence will be sent to your postal address.

    Driving licence status

    Once you apply for your learning licence or your driving licence, you might want to check what the status of your application is. The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has, hence, created an option that allows applicants to check the status of the driving licence application.

    • To check the driving licence application status, visit the Parivahan website of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry.
    • Under the Driving Licence menu, click ‘Apply online’.
    • In the drop-down menu that appears, click ‘Application Status’.
    • On the redirected page, enter your application number and date of birth.
    • If you have used a portal other than the Parivahan portal, select the name of such portal from the drop down option available.
    • Click ‘Submit’.

    Driving licence validity

    The date of issue and date of expiry of the driving licence are provided on the driving licence smart card. The date of expiry is either 20 years from the date of issue or when the driving licence owner turns 50 years old, whichever is earlier. Before the driving licence expires, one will need to renew it to continue driving his/her car legally. The person is usually given a 30-day grace period from the date of expiry of the driving licence during which time he/she can use the same driving licence and apply for the renewal too. If a person does not renew the policy, he/she will have to pay heavy fines if found driving a car without a valid driving licence. If the person applies for the renewal post the grace period, the person will have to pay fines during the renewal process. If, however, the renewal application is made after completion of 5 years from the date of expiry of the licence, the person will be asked to apply for a fresh licence. In this case, the person will have to take the driving licence test again, contrary to a renewal where no driving test is required.

    Driving licence address change

    If an individual has changed his/her residential address, he/she must apply for an address change within 1 month of moving into the new house. The application for such change in address should ideally be made in the RTO that issued the previous driving licence. If the individual has moved to a different state within India, he/she should get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the RTO that issued the previous driving licence.

    The documents that need to be submitted for a change in address on the driving licence are:

    • Original driving licence with previous address
    • Proof of residence of new address
    • NOC in case the application has to be submitted in a new state

    How to apply for an international driving licence

    Any person who is planning to go abroad and plans to drive a car during his/her stay there will have to apply for an international driving licence. An international driving licence is given only to those who hold an Indian driving licence and it will be valid for a period of one year. Though it is necessary to get an international driving licence, one will be permitted to drive a car in certain foreign countries for a period of 6 months if he/she has only an Indian driving licence. Some such countries are United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, South Africa, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Mauritius, Norway, and Finland. After completion of 6 months, however, the Indian driving licence will not suffice as a driving permit in such countries. In such cases, a person has to apply for an international driving licence. The procedure is given below:

    • Get the IDP form and fill in all the details.
    • Apply for the international driving licence using the IDP form in the nearest RTO.
    • Submit the following documents along with the form:
      • Valid Indian driving licence
      • Residential address proof
      • Passport
      • Valid visa
      • Medical certificate
      • Passport-sized photographs
      • Cover letter explaining why you want the international driving licence
    • Pay the fee for application of the international driving licence.
    • You can pick up the licence from the RTO or it will be sent to your postal address.

    Smart Card Driving Licence in India

    It is imperative that one ensures the driving licence he/she holds is genuine. A person who is found using a fake driving licence will have to pay heavy fines and might be imprisoned too. To prevent people from issuing or using fake driving licences, smart card driving licence has been introduced. These smart cards have chips that store all necessary information and are difficult to imitate. Here are a few other advantages of smart card driving licence:

    • The card is made of plastic and can hence not be torn or mutilated.
    • Since it is a single card, it is easy to carry around.
    • The information stored in the chip of the driving licence cannot be erased, it can only be modified. This prevents malpractices.

    FAQs on Driving Licence

    1. What is the consequence of driving without a driving licence?
    2. If a person does not have a driving licence and is caught by the traffic police, he/she will be fined and may be imprisoned too.

    3. Will my international driving licence be valid for the rest of the year even if my Indian driving licence expires?
    4. No, the international driving licence will expire when the Indian driving licence expires.

    5. Is it necessary to submit the medical certificate to get a driving licence?
    6. Yes, it is mandatory to submit the medical certificate to get a driving licence.

    7. Can I change my date of birth on my driving licence?
    8. Yes, you can request for a change of your date of birth on your driving licence. You will have to submit an application requesting for a change of the date of birth and submit a document as a proof of your date of birth along with the application.

    9. In how many days will I receive my driving licence?
    10. Typically, the driving licence will be issued in 2 to 3 weeks’ time after the driving test is conducted.

    11. What if I fail the driving test?
    12. If you fail the driving test, you can retake it. There is no limit on the number of driving tests that can be taken.

    13. What is the minimum age for obtaining a driving licence?
    14. The minimum age for 50cc vehicles is 16 years and for all other vehicles is 18 years.

    15. Can I borrow someone’s driving licence while driving a car?
    16. No, you cannot use another person’s driving licence. If found doing so, you will be fined heavily.

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