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What is a Driving Licence?

A driving licence is an official document issued by the specific state government, allowing the individual to drive a motor vehicle on Indian roads. A driving licence is mandated under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, in the absence of which you can be penalised for driving on roads. First, you must apply for a learner’s licence by attempting an online test and later, you can obtain a permanent driving licence on qualifying in the final test. You can apply for a permanent driving licence 30 days after the issuance of the learner’s licence that is valid for 6 months. Moreover, your driving licence details can also be used for personal identification purposes.

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Driving Licence

A driving licence is an official document, which is issued by your respective State Government. A driving licence signifies that the licence holder is authorised to drive a motor vehicle on Indian roads. Motorised vehicles in this respect include two-wheelers, four-wheelers, and other types of vehicles.

A driving licence is a legal requirement under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. According to this Act, no one can drive in a public place without having a driving licence issued by either the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) or the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Let’s learn about the types of driving licence, its application process, fees, and more.

Types of Driving Licence

There are 4 main types of driving licences that are issued in India by the RTO:

  •  Learning Licence

Before you get a permanent driving licence issued under your name, you receive a learning licence in India. The validity of this document is six months. This licence permits you to drive vehicles to learn how to drive a two-wheeler or four-wheeler within the specified time. Once you have learned how to drive, you can take a test for the permanent driving licence.

  • Permanent Licence

Once you appear for a driving test and pass the exam, you will be provided with a permanent driving licence. Indian citizens, who are 18 or above are eligible to apply for a permanent driving licence. This document is provided as a permit to drive private vehicles like cars and bikes.

  • International Driving Permit

As the name suggests, people who wish to drive a vehicle outside of India need an international driving permit. Unlike the Indian driving licence, the international driving licence is valid for a year only. After your international driving permit expires, you will need to apply for it again.

  • Commercial Driving Licence

The commercial driving licence is provided to people who drive heavy motor vehicles like a bus or a truck. These vehicles can be passenger/goods-carrying vehicles. The eligibility criteria for this licence are a tad different as compared to the conditions of availing a permanent driving licence. The applicant should have cleared and completed class 8th examination to be able to have a commercial driving licence.

 

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Eligibility to Get an Indian Driving Licence

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has clear eligibility rules when it comes to getting a driving licence. To operate a two-wheeler, you can get a two-wheeler or bike licence once you are 16 years or older. Once you turn 18, you can operate four-wheelers as well. To be able to operate transport vehicles, you need to be at least 20 years old. Even foreigners can obtain an Indian driving licence, as long as they furnish the required driving licence documents. You can know more about the driving licence age limit from the table given below:

Vehicle Type

Eligibility Criteria

Motorcycles with gear + four-wheeler vehicles like cars

Minimum 18 years old with sound knowledge of traffic rules

Motorcycles without gear (capacity of up to 50CC)

  • Minimum 16 years old

  • Consent of guardian or parents

  • Knowledge of traffic rules

Heavy commercial vehicles

  • Cleared the 8th standard

  • Minimum 18 years old (changed to 20 years in a few states)

 

Documents Need for Driving Licence Application

At the time of applying for your driving licence, you will be asked to provide several documents. Read on to know the list of documents you may need for your driving licence application:

  • Aadhaar Card

  • Ration card

  • Birth Certificate

  • Passport

  • Pan Card

  • Passport Size Photo

  • Form 1 and 1A for medical certificates

New Driving Licence Rule From July 2022

The new rules for issuing driving licences are much easier than before. These rules have come as good news for citizens who want to apply for a driving licence. The Government of India (GOI) has set up multiple private driving schools across the nation under the respective state transport departments, or the GOI.

As per the rules for making a new driving licence, from July 1, 2022, an individual wouldn’t have to visit the RTO and give a driving test. However, if a driving licence is issued without a driving test, what would be the basis of the DL? Citizens need to register for DL in any recognised driving school. The school will issue a certificate to candidates who pass the test, and a driving licence will be provided based on this certificate.

Driving Licence Application Fees

The following table gives an overview of driving licence fees and other related charges in India:

Purpose

Amount

Issue of learner’s licence in Form 3 for each class of vehicle

₹150

Learner’s Licence test fee or repeat test fee, as the case may be

₹50

Driving Licence issuance

₹200

For test or repeat test (for each class of vehicle)

₹300

Inclusion of another class of vehicle to the applicant’s driving licence

₹500

Issue or renewal of licence to a school or establishment for imparting instructions in driving

₹1,0000

Driving Licence renewal

₹200

Driving licence renewal in case the application is submitted after the grace period

₹300 (Additional fee of ₹1,000 shall be charged for delay of each year or part from the date of expiry of the grace period.)

Endorsement or renewal of authorisation for vehicle carrying hazardous goods

₹1,000

International Driving Permit issuance

₹1,000

Issue of duplicate licence to a school or establishment for imparting instructions in driving

₹5,000

An appeal against the orders of licensing authority referred to in rule 29

₹500

Any application made for change in address or other particulars recorded in the driving licence

₹200

 

Difference Between a Learner’s Licence and a Permanent Licence

A learner’s licence is a basic licence issued to people who are still learning to drive their vehicles. Getting a learner’s licence is the first step in acquiring a permanent licence. Once you have enough practice driving your vehicle on your learner’s licence, you can choose to appear for the main exam that will grant you your permanent licence.

Differentiating Criteria

Learner’s Licence

Permanent Licence

Validity

6 months

20 years or until the driver attains 40 years of age

Purpose

Given to people who are just beginning/learning to drive

Legal requirement to hold a valid licence to drive on public roads

Sequence

Is obtained before a permanent licence

Can only be obtained 30 days after the learner’s licence has been issued

 

How to Apply for a Permanent Licence

Here’s how you can apply for a driving licence from July 2022:

Step 1: Visit parivahan.gov.in from your mobile.

Step 2: Click on ‘Driving Licence’ button.

Step 3: Choose between Learning and Permanent Licence.

Step 4: Fill out the New Driving Licence Application Form 2022.

Step 5: Submit the form and finally pay the Application Fees.

Step 6: Select the Driving Test Centre near you and book your appointment.

Step 7: Finally give your test and wait for your New Driving Licence to arrive. 

What to do in Case of Loss of Driving Licence?

In case your licence is lost or stolen, you should follow the given steps to retrieve it:

  • File an FIR (First Information Report) with the nearest police station. It should be the police station near the site as the matter will fall under their jurisdiction.

  • After the complaint has been lodged, visit a notary office to get an affidavit about the same on a stamped paper.

  • While there is a chance that you may get your driving licence back, however, in case you do not, it is always advisable to get a duplicate driving licence.

How to Get a Duplicate Driving Licence

To apply for a duplicate licence, you should be prepared with the following documents:

  • FIR

  • Photocopy of the original licence

  • Details of licence

  • Passport size photographs

  • Proof of age

  • Proof of residence

Take these documents to the Road Transport Office (RTO) where your application will be processed and you will be issued a duplicate driving licence.

International Driving Licence - How to Apply

An international licence is a special driving licence that enables you to drive your vehicle in different countries. An international driving licence carries the name of the country for which it is issued. It also carries the visa number of the holder. Also referred to as an International Driving Permit, this document is valid for a year. In case you need to extend your international driving licence, you will need to apply for renewal. Follow the given steps to apply for an international driving licence.

Fill the form for an international driving licence available at RTO. Furnish the required documents along with a duly filled form. The documents include:

  • Proof of your address

  • Passport and its photocopy

  • A valid visa

  • A medical certificate

  • A cover letter explaining why you want an international driving licence

  • Passport size photographs

  • Payment of application fee for the licence

The application is then processed and either you can collect the licence yourself or they can send it to your postal address.

Smart Card Driving Licence

A smart card driving licence is nothing but a DL in a more secure and digital form. A smart card DL is made using a tamper-proof plastic that has an embedded microchip of 64kb. This 64kb microchip contains all the important relevant information about the licence holder. Essentially, it contains all the biometric data of the applicant, including retina scan, thumb & fingerprint, blood group, body markings, etc. This information is also held by the RTO / RTA office in their systems.

Why Get a Smart Card Licence?

Since a smart card driving licence saves and stores all information on a chip, it is difficult to duplicate or misuse. The information cannot be erased, moreover, it is very portable. The driving licence will be safe from issues like wear and tear as well.

To Conclude

If you wish to drive on the Indian roads, you must know the traffic laws and the importance of having a licence. Obey the traffic laws at all times, do not violate the rules, and be considerate to other drivers on the road. Purchasing a motor insurance policy is mandatory and forms a major part of road safety as well.
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Latest Driving Licence News

Kerala: Driving licence to get a fresh look

Transport Minister Antony Raju said that the Motor Vehicles Department shall roll out excellent driving licence cards that look like smart cards from the coming month. The transport minister was inaugurating ‘Vahaneeyam - 2022’, a district-level grievance redressal adalat of the department on Saturday at C. Kesavan Memorial Town Hall. Along with announcing the new driving licence look, he also addressed the short-term goals of the department. The main mission during the months of May, June, and July is to stop offences like using mobile phones while driving, not wearing seatbelt or helmet, etc. Furthermore, vehicle permits and licences of individuals involved in serious crimes shall be revoked. Out of the 1,162 complaints received from various offices in the district, 940 cases were resolved at the adalat. 

- April 30, 2022

Tamil Nadu: CM launches select RTO services online for applicants

On April 12, 2022, Chief Minister MK Stalin launched several contactless RTO services online which cuts down the effort of physically visiting the Regional Transport Office. Facilities such as application for learner’s licence, renewal of driving licence, change of address on the licence, etc. are now available online. Applicants must first undergo Aadhaar authentication to avail the online RTO services on the official Parivahan portal. Earlier, applicants had to fill out an online application form and fix an appointment at the RTO for all transport-related facilities.

- April 13, 2022

Mumbai: 18-year old applicants to get licence with 22 years of validity

On April 5, 2022, the Tardeo RTO issued a press note stating that the driving licence issued to applicants at the minimum age of 18 would be valid for 22 years. Moreover, many citizens aren’t aware of the validity period of licences based on age groups, RTO officer Bharat Kalaskar shared. The RTO-issued press note explains that for applicants of up to 30 years of age, the driving licence is valid till the age of 40 and so on. Another official said that expired driving licences should be renewed within a year to avoid retaking the learner’s licence test.

- April 6, 2022

IRDAI extends timeline to buy life insurance without signatures

The IRDAI has extended the timeline to purchase life insurance without physical signatures on the proposal form till September 30, 2022. Currently, applicants can opt for life insurance with OTP-based validation instead of a physical signature. Due to the requirement of wet signatures, many people found it difficult to buy insurance plans during the pandemic. The IRDAI then permitted the removal of such barriers and enabled the insurance companies to obtain digital or electronic agreements. As many parts of India are still affected by the pandemic, the IRDAI has extended the previous timeline of March 31, 2022 to September 30, 2022.

- April 6, 2022

Delhi Government eases driving licence norms to recruit more women bus drivers

As per a new report, the Delhi government has relaxed permit conditions for ‘Heavy Motor Vehicles’ licences in order to encourage more women to become bus drivers. Previously, individuals who wished to become bus drivers needed to have had their HMV licences for at least 3 years. However, this rule has been discarded, and even women with fresh HMV driving licences can apply to become bus drivers. A training period of one month would be provided for these women. Furthermore, before these women are allowed to become bus drivers, they will also undergo in-house training by the Delhi Transport Corporation and receive skill test certification.

- Mar 21, 2022

Supreme Court refers to larger bench for legal issue related to LMV driving licence

As per a report, a three-judge bench at the Supreme Court has decided to refer to a larger bench regarding the matter of whether or not Light Motor Vehicle licence holders would need a separate endorsement for driving transport vehicles carrying up to 7500 kg of goods. One of the three judges from the bench said that they deemed it appropriate to refer this important matter to a larger Supreme Court bench of more than three judges. The Chief Justice of India is set to constitute the larger bench to deal with this issue.

- March 13, 2022

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FAQs on Driving Licence

✔️How long is the driving licence valid?

A driving licence for any private vehicle is valid for up to 20 years or till 40 years of age. On the other hand, a driving licence is valid for only three years for commercial vehicles.

✔️What is a driving licence number?

A driving licence has a unique number given to each licence holder. The driving licence number is a total of 13 characters. For instance, your driving licence number is MH-14-2011-0062851, where ‘MH’ is the state name (MH for Maharashtra). ‘14’ is the Motor Vehicle Authority branch code. ‘2011’ is the licence issued year. ‘0062851’ is the Driver Profile ID that is unique for each individual. You can check your driving licence number on your DL card.

✔️How long does it take to receive a permanent driving licence in India?

Once you have passed the driving test, you will receive the permanent driving licence within 30 days by post at your given address.

✔️How to check the dispatch status of a driving licence in India?

You can track the application status on the parivahan portal.

✔️How can I download my driving licence?

You can download your driving licence by installing the mParivahan app on your phone.