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Different Types Of Driving Licences

Having a valid driving licence is mandatory by law according to the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. From a humble two-wheeler to a swanky car, and from a commercial auto rickshaw to a heavy commercial vehicle, you need a driving licence to drive/ride motor vehicles on all state/national highways and public roads. Having a driving licence is a legal proof of your ability to not only drive/ride the motor vehicle, but also your knowledge and awareness about the traffic rules. You have to be above 18 years of age to get a driving licence in India. Not having a valid driving licence can attract a traffic fine of Rs 5,000 under the recently amended Motor Vehicle Act.

There are four different types of driving licence in India, which any adult citizen can apply for, as per the individual requirements.

1. Learner’s licence:

This is the first type of driving licence in India, that means you are learning the basic skills of driving/riding. This type of driver’s licence is valid up to six months. You can apply for a permanent licence after 30 days from the date of issuance of a learner's licence. In other words, having a learner’s licence is a prerequisite for getting a permanent licence. You must, however, remember that this type of driver’s licence means that you have to follow certain stipulations. These are:

  • You should be trained to drive/ride the vehicle by an individual having a permanent driving licence.

  • You are required to display the sign ‘L’ in your vehicle in red colour. The sign should be clearly visible.

  • In addition to learning the mechanism of the vehicle, you are also supposed to know about traffic rules and road signs.

  • In the case of commercial vehicles, the holder of a learner's licence has to undergo training from government motor driving institutes.

  • In the case of riding a two-wheeler, no person except your trainer should ride as a pillion.

2. Permanent driving licence for private vehicles:

This is the second type of driving licence in India. Any person above the age of 18 years, who has passed the driving test, and has been issued a learner’s licence, can apply for a permanent driving licence. This type of driver’s licence is generally issued in the form of a smartcard, which has a chip comprising the individual’s biometric information. Along with the individual’s picture, the card also mentions the name, age and permanent address of the licence holder. In addition to these, this type of driving licence also clearly mentions the type of vehicles an individual is authorised to drive. For instance, you can obtain a permanent driving licence for a two-wheeler or four-wheeler, or both vehicle types.

3. Permanent driving licence for commercial vehicles:

The third among the types of driver’s licences, this is provided to drivers of commercial vehicle either transporting goods or people. Drivers of commercial vehicles applying for this licence are required to have passed at least Class VIII. The union government has enumerated separate rules for providing this type of driving licence. The drivers generally require specialised training in operating the heavy vehicles from government or state-sponsored specialised training institutes. There are stringent rules about providing these types of licences in India because of safety concerns and the specialised knowledge required in operating the heavy vehicles, either for transporting goods or passengers.

4. International driving permit:

What about an Indian citizen who wishes to drive a vehicle in foreign countries? There is a provision for this too with the government having the provision of international driving permit. The last among the types of driver’s licences, the international permit provides an opportunity to Indian citizens to drive or ride their own or rented vehicles in foreign countries. The applicant for this type of driver’s licence must have an existing permanent driving license. This license is valid only for a year, following which it has to be renewed.

What are the different categories of driving licences and the class of vehicles in India?

There are seven different classes of licences for various vehicle types in the country. These are:

  1. MC 50cc: This implies vehicles having engine capacity of 50cc or less.

  2. LMV-NT: Light motor vehicles, which are non-commercial are classified under this category.

  3. FVG: This category has vehicles without gears.

  4. MC EX50cc: Here, motorcycles with gears having engine capacity of above 50cc are listed.

  5. MCWG: Motorcycles with and without gear are classified in this category.

  6. HGMV: This includes heavy vehicles for transportation of goods.

  7. HPMY: This lists heavy vehicles with pan-India permit.


Thus, there are five types of driving license in India, and a mature adult can apply for any of them, as per the individual requirements. With the advent of e-governance, you can easily apply online for any type of driving license without making a visit to the Regional Transport Office (RTO). While applying for a driving license, you must also remain vigilant about another legal obligation: having your vehicle insured. You can select a motor insurance policy, available on Finserv MARKETS, which provides you comprehensive coverage at reasonable premium payments. On Finserv MARKETS, you can avail a policy for your prized vehicle with superb features like 24x7 assistance, PAN India network partnerships, cashless facility and quick claim settlements.

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