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All you need to know about the types of Driving Licences in India

Team AckoFeb 16, 2024

As per The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, holding a Driving Licence (DL) is mandatory for anyone who wishes to drive a motor vehicle in India. A DL is an official document issued by the government that certifies that the holder is eligible to drive a vehicle. There are various types of DLs in India, each of which serves a specific purpose. In this article, we will discuss the different types of Driving Licences in India, their importance, and the categories and classes of vehicles they permit you to drive.




Types of Driving Licences in India

In India, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) issues four types of Driving Licences. The following sections provide more details on the same.

1. Learner's Licence (LL)

A Learner's Licence is a temporary driving permit that allows the holder to learn how to drive a motor vehicle. The validity of an LL stands at six months. Individuals who are at least 16 years old (for 50cc two-wheelers ) and 18 years (for four-wheelers) can apply for an LL. The holder of a LL can drive a vehicle in the presence of a person who holds a valid Driving Licence.

2. Permanent Driving Licence (DL)

A permanent Driving Licence is a type of DL that permits the holder to drive/ride a motor vehicle on the roads. It is issued to individuals who have completed their training and passed the driving test. To apply for a permanent Driving Licence, an individual must hold a valid Learner's Licence for at least 30 days and must be at least 18 years old.

3. Commercial Driving Licence

A Commercial Driving Licence is issued to individuals who drive vehicles for commercial purposes such as transporting goods or passengers. It is mandatory to hold a Commercial Driving Licence to drive a vehicle with a seating capacity of more than eight passengers. To obtain a Commercial Driving Licence, an individual must have a valid permanent Driving Licence and must be at least 20 years old.

4. International Driving Permit (IDP)

An International Driving Permit is a legal document that allows the holder to drive a motor vehicle in foreign countries that recognise Indian Driving Licences. It is issued to individuals who hold a valid permanent Driving Licence and are planning to drive a vehicle abroad. The International Driving Permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue.

Why is Driving Licence important?

A DL is a vital document that acts as proof that the holder is eligible to drive a vehicle on the roads. It is also a government-issued identity card that serves as proof of identity and residence. The Driving Licence contains information about the individual's name, photograph, age, and address. It is a crucial document that is required for the following reasons.

  • Legal requirement: Driving a motor vehicle in India without a Driving Licence is a punishable offence under The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

  • Identification: A Driving Licence serves as a valid proof of identity and address, which is accepted by various government and private institutions.

  • Safety: Possessing a Driving Licence ensures the holder has the necessary knowledge and skills to ride/drive a vehicle on the road safely.

Driving Licence Categories and vehicle classes in India

Apart from the types of Driving Licences, there are also categories that specify the type of vehicle that the licence holder is permitted to drive. Here are the various categories of DLs in India.

Driving Licence category

Vehicle type

MC 50cc

Vehicles with engine capacity of 50cc or less than that.


Vehicles without gear (scooters, mopeds, etc.).

MC EX 50cc

Vehicles with gear with an engine capacity of 50cc or more (motorcycles).


Motorcycles with and without gear.


Non-transport Light Motor Vehicles like cars, jeeps, etc.


Heavy vehicles, like trucks or similar vehicles, are used for goods transportation.


Vehicles used for carrying passengers (commercial purposes) with an All India Permit.


Heavy Motor Vehicles


Medium Goods Vehicles


Light goods vehicles


A person with heavy vehicle DL can apply for a heavy trailer Driving Licence.

What is an adapted vehicle licence?

An adapted vehicle Driving Licence means a DL to ride/drive a vehicle modified or specially designed for the use of a person with a physical disability. Such vehicles need to be modified by a genuine vendor and then produced at the RTO during registration. The DL issued to drive such vehicles is called an adapted vehicle Driving Licence.

Disadvantages of not having a valid Driving Licence in India

Driving without a valid DL is an offence in India. In the following points, we discuss the disadvantages of not having a valid Driving Licence in India.

  • Heavy fines: You can face a heavy fine if you drive/ride a vehicle without a valid DL. The traffic police have the authority to impose a hefty fine for this offence.

  • Legal troubles: Not having a valid DL can land you in legal trouble. If you meet with an accident, the other party can file a complaint against you for driving without a licence. It can lead to legal proceedings and court appearances, which can be time-consuming and costly.

  • No insurance cover: Driving without a valid DL can also void your insurance coverage. If an accident occurs while driving without a licence, your insurance company can refuse to provide any financial assistance. It means you will have to bear the entire cost of any damage or injury caused by an accident.

  • Safety concerns: Driving without a valid licence can also put your safety at risk. Without proper training and knowledge, you may be unable to handle certain situations while driving, which can lead to accidents.

Also, read: Traffic Rules in India

What to do if you lose your Driving Licence?

If you lose the DL in India, you can follow the steps below to apply for a duplicate Driving Licence.

Step 1: File an FIR at your local police station.

Step 2: Get a signed affidavit from the notary office stating that you have lost the DL.

Step 3: Apply for the duplicate DL along with the copy of the FIR and affidavit.

What to do if your Driving Licence expires?

You can renew your DL by submitting the duly filled Form 2 and the required documents to the RTO if your DL expires. Alternatively, you can also apply for DL renewal online through the Parivahan or state government RTO website.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most common questions and their answers related to the types of Driving Licences in India.


Can I drive a vehicle if I have a Learner’s Licence?

You can drive or ride a vehicle with an LL only while accompanied by a person holding a valid DL or driving instructor. Also, displaying an “L” sticker on the front and rear of the vehicle is mandatory to notify other road users that you are still in a learning phase.

Can I drive a commercial vehicle if I hold a permanent Driving Licence?

To drive a commercial vehicle in India, you must possess a DL in the HPMV and HGMV categories.

What is MCWG?

MCWG full form stands for Motorcycle With Gear. The types of MCWG vehicles include motorcycles, scooters and mopeds with gears with an engine capacity of above 50cc.

Can I drive a car if I have a two-wheeler DL?

You must obtain a Driving Licence in the LMV-NT category to drive a car in India.

What is LMV?

LMV refers to Light Motor vehicles. It includes vehicles like cars, autorickshaws, vans, jeeps, etc.

What is HMV?

The HMV full form stands for Heavy Motor Vehicle. It includes commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks, etc.

Explore More:

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only. It is recommended to take the help of an expert before making any related decision.


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