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International Driving License: Here's What You Need to Know

Whether for travelling and exploring or work purposes, there may be times when you have to get behind the wheel while in a foreign country. This is where having an international driving license becomes necessary. The international driving license is an official translation for your driver's license issued in your home country, which lets you drive legally in a foreign country.

What is an International Driving License (IDL)?

The International Driving License, officially known as the International Driving Permit (IDP), is a document authorized by the United Nations and issued to people travelling to foreign countries. It certifies that the holder legally possesses a valid driving license in his/her home country. It also translates the document into various foreign languages, so it is easier for foreign officials to verify and understand the credentials. It allows you to legally drive the types of vehicles that are listed in your IDP in foreign nations. The International Driving License contains the name, photo, and driver information, and is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries, along with your original country's valid driver's license and a valid passport.

Applying for IDL in India

Thanks to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, applying for an International Driving Permit is now a very convenient process. Any individual who wishes to rent and drive vehicles in another country on an overseas trip is required to apply for an International Driving Permit.
The steps involved in this process are: -
1. Individuals should visit their nearest RTO with the required documents and the application fee.
2. You can either fill the application form in person at the RTO or fill it online, at the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways portal (parivahan.gov.in) and carry the acknowledgement with you, along with the other necessary documents to the RTO.
3. Submit the documents and pay the prescribed fees. The application and the required documents have to be submitted in person to the concerned RTO by the applicant in both cases.
4. The processing time to get an International Driving License after the submission of documents is usually 3-4 business days.

Documents Needed for Applying for an International Driving Permit

1. Valid Driver's License and its copies
2. Valid Passport and its copies
3. Valid Visa (when applicable) and its copies
4. Copy of your air ticket for verification
5. Valid medical certificate (Form - 1A)
6. Application for the issue of IDP (Form- 4A)
7. Four copies of your recent passport size photograph
8. Prescribed fees and user charges

Advantages of Having an International Driving License
The International Driving Permit,

  • Allows you to drive a vehicle in a foreign country.
  • Is accepted as proof of your driving credentials and capabilities.
  • Is a confirmation stating that you hold a valid driving license in your home country.
  • Can be used as an identity proof alongside your original valid driving license and valid passport. It is quite useful if your original driver's license is not in a language spoken in your country of travel.
  • Is accepted in over 150 countries across the world who are signatories to the 1949 United Nations Convention agreement.
  • Some countries do not allow you to rent a car unless you have a valid IDL.
  • Insurance companies require an IDP to provide coverage to foreign drivers who drive motor vehicles.
  • Does not require you to take any additional driving tests in the countries you are visiting.

An International Driving Permit is valid for 1 year from the date of issue and it is crucial that you apply for one if you are planning to drive on your next overseas trip.

As per the MoRTH notification dated Jan 7, 2021

Applicants will be able to renew their existing International Driving Permits online through Indian Embassies, in case their license expires when they are still abroad. After submitting the documents required and the prescribed user fee, applicants will no longer need to submit a valid visa and medical certificate and will be able to get their international driving permits renewed easily, without hassles.

Important Points to Note:

  • If an individual applying for an IDP was issued their driver's license within 3 months of their IDP application, then they will be required to take the driving test for a second time while applying for the IDP.
  • Only Indian citizens are allowed to apply for an international driving permit through the RTOs or an Indian transport authority office.
  • There are a number of websites and organizations that offer online submission and issuance of IDP documents. Always stay wary of fraud on such platforms and only apply for an International Driving Permit through the official government transport authority in your country, which is the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways portal (parivahan.gov.in) in India.

All You Need to Know about a Driving License in India

When it comes to driving, a driving license is one of the most important identification documents in India. It is extremely important to have a license before you drive a car since it works as your permit to drive on Indian roads. Most people already know what a driving license in India is, but how much do you actually know about it? Let’s detail it out.

What is a Driving License?

A Driving license is a document that is issued by the Indian government which permits people to drive different types of vehicles on the road. In India, the license is issued by the Regional Transport Office or the Regional Transport Authority (RTO / RTA) of each state. The license is most commonly referred to as a DL. It helps in confirming that the driver has:

  • Undergone the training and tests required to drive a car in India, and
  • Is aware of all the traffic rules and regulations

The DL consists of a registration number and a passport-sized photograph of the license owner for the purpose of identification. Along with this, the driving license has a rubber stamp, the signature of the RTO officer-in-charge, and the address of the office that issued the DL.

Types of Driving Licenses in India

Driving licenses are of different types, which are issued based on the type of vehicle that you want to drive. Following are the main types of licenses that you should be aware of: –

  • Learner’s License
  • If you are learning how to drive a vehicle in India, it is mandatory to have a learner’s license. This acts as a provisional license that allows you to practice driving on the road. However, a person having a permanent DL must be accompanying you. To acquire a learner’s license, the applicant must have good knowledge of road rules and should have passed a written or online test.

  • Permanent Driving License
  • Once you finish learning how to drive and pass the driving test, you will receive a permanent driver’s license, 30 days after receiving the learner’s license. There is a particular time period for which this license is valid, after which you have to apply for the renewal of your driver license.

  • International Driving License
  • If you wish to drive in foreign countries, you need to have an international driving permit (IDP) which acts as an official travel document and is certified by the United Nations (UN). The IDP is given to tourists who are travelling to foreign countries; for an Indian citizen travelling abroad, the IDP must be applied for in India.

  • Light Motor Vehicle License (LVM) and Heavy Motor Vehicle (HVM) Licenses
  • The light motor vehicle license allows you to drive vehicles such as autos, taxis, delivery vans, jeeps, and so on. On the other hand, a heavy motor vehicle license is for those driving buses, cranes, trucks, and similar vehicles. Both these licenses are commercial licenses that permit an individual to drive a commercial vehicle as authorised by the RTO of the state. Applicants need to get their learner's license before they apply for a light or heavy motor vehicle license.

Eligibility for a Driving License in India

To get a driving license in India, the eligibility depends on the type of vehicle that you want to drive.

1. For a motorcycle without gears, up to 50cc, the applicant must be at least 16 years of age and the consent of a parent or guardian is needed if the applicant is below 18.

2. To acquire a license for motorcycles with gears, the applicant must be 18 years old.

3. For commercial heavy and transport vehicles, the applicant should have completed their education up to 8th standard at least and must be more than 18 years old. In some states, the age requirement is 20 years.

While applying for a driving license, you need to submit a number of documents like your birth certificate, PAN card, passport, 10th class mark sheet, transfer certificate from any school for any class with your date of birth printed on it, AADHAR card, and so on. Know About These Documents in Detail

Point to Note: A general requirement for acquiring a driving license is that the applicant must be well-versed with the traffic rules and regulations and should have valid address and age proofs. Also, keep a track of the license's expiry date as it will help you get your driver license renewal process started on time so that there is no gap in its validity. At Maruti Suzuki Driving School, we provide world-class training to help you become a confident and responsible driver and offer license assistance as well. Come, get to know us. better.

How to obtain a driving license in India?

The Government of India has made it mandatory for individuals to acquire a driving licence before you start driving a two-wheeler or four-wheeler, legally within the borders of the country. Motor training is absolutely essential if you have never driven any kind of motorised vehicle before. Therefore, start the process by enrolling yourself in a driving school.

Get a Learner’s Licence

There are several local operators or even branded operators such as the Maruti Suzuki Driving School that can help you with driving lessons. Subsequently, motor training schools help you to apply for a learner’s licence which is issued to any individual meeting their eligibility requirements and who wishes to develop their driving skills. Before a permanent licence is given, you need to complete your driving test within a month of the issuance of the learner’s licence.

So, what is an Indian Driving Licence?

It is an official document that is issued by the Government of India, allowing individuals to operate or drive a motorised vehicle on any public roads without any kind of supervision. The Regional Transport Authority or the RTA has the power to issue the licence. It is stated in the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 that without a valid driving licence, an individual is not authorised to operate any bike or car on any public road.

Know More about the Types of Driving Licences in India

The eligibility criteria of the permanent driving licence vary based on the type of vehicle. Therefore, you should apply for the appropriate type of licence depending on the type of vehicle you intend to drive. Here is a list: -

  • Motorcycles with engine capacity of 50 cc or less
  • Motorcycles with gear, Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) including cars
  • Light Motor Vehicle for non-transport purposes

Eligibility/Requirements to obtain a driving licence

The class of the vehicle and the type of driving licence is determined by meeting the outlined eligibility requirements

  • The applicant must be at least 16 years old and must have the consent of the parents or the guardian if he is less than 18 years old before applying for a licence for gearless two-wheelers having a capacity of up to 50 cc
  • The applicant should be at least 18 years old if the individual wants to apply for a licence to drive motorcycles or a lightweight four-wheeler for non-commercial purpose In addition to the above, the applicant has to submit the following:
  • An age proof document that may be shown through a birth certificate, PAN Card, Passport, class 10th mark-sheet or a transfer certificate from any school with the date of birth printed on it
  • A permanent address may be proven via submitting copies of either the Passport, Aadhaar Card, self-owned house agreement, electricity bill issued in the applicant’s name, LIC bond, Voter ID card or Ration card
  • Current address proof may be provided in the form of a rental agreement and electricity bill or rental agreement and LPG bill

Additional requirements for the application must be met, such as: -

  • A duly filled out application form
  • 6 passport-sized photographs for the Learner’s Licence
  • 1 passport-sized photograph for the permanent driving licence
  • Application fee
  • A medical certificate issued by a certified Government doctor. This is mandatory for applicants above the age of 40 years

Applying for a Driving Licence

A driving licence in India may be applied through an online process via the official Sarathi website of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. An offline application is also available to do so; just submit all the required documentation to the nearest RTO

This will be followed by reserving time in order to appear for the Driving licence test at the RTO. Complete the process by paying the fee in order to take the examination.

The procedure of testing for a driving licence in India

An officer will be present in person during your test and will closely examine your driving abilities. This may be followed by a licence test where you may be asked questions on traffic rules and regulations. Post this, the RTO will declare if you have successfully managed to clear the examination of your four-wheeler driving test.

Remember that your driving licence is also a valid identity proof recognised by the Government of India. Being in possession of this document certifies that you are qualified and authorised to drive anywhere within India.

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