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.
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:
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:
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:
After you pass the driving test, the driving licence will be issued to you by the transport authority.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
Once the above-mentioned procedure is completed, one can apply for a duplicate driving licence by following the procedure mentioned below:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
No, the international driving licence will expire when the Indian driving licence expires.
Yes, it is mandatory to submit the medical certificate to get a driving licence.
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.
Typically, the driving licence will be issued in 2 to 3 weeks’ time after the driving test is conducted.
If you fail the driving test, you can retake it. There is no limit on the number of driving tests that can be taken.
The minimum age for 50cc vehicles is 16 years and for all other vehicles is 18 years.
No, you cannot use another person’s driving licence. If found doing so, you will be fined heavily.
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