Driving License

The dictionary definition of a driving license is that it is an official document which permits an individual to drive / ride a motorized vehicle like trucks, motorcycles, and cars amongst others.

India, just like any other country in the world, has made it mandatory for anyone who wishes to drive on its roads to have a driving license.

Driving license, commonly referred to as DL, shows that you have undergone the necessary training, and have received permission from the department in charge of transport to operate a motorized vehicle. Basically, you can now safely drive a motor vehicle on the road, are aware of the traffic rules and regulations and will not be a harm to others driving on the road.

In this article, we discuss the importance of having a driving license and how to get it.

Who Issues A Driving License (DL) In India?

Before you make up your mind about seeking a license, it is important to know who issues that license. Knowing who issues it can help you avoid getting a fake license that could lead to your arrest and prosecution as a driver. It will also help you know the exact place to get it thus avoiding more transport costs as you move around searching for it.

In India, the duty of licensing individuals belongs to the Indian government. The government, through the ministry of Road Transport and Highways issues individual permission to drive on Indian roads.

The ministry has set up over 1,000 road transport offices (RTOs) across the country through which they issue computerized licenses. As an Indian citizen, or even a foreigner with valid documents in India, you can visit any road transport office near you to request for a license.

Features Of An Authentic Driving License

Sometimes it is not possible to know whether the person processing the driving license for you is genuine or not. For this reason, it is always important for you to know the basic features of an Indian license before you start driving.

The following are the important characteristics of an authentic license which can help you differentiate it from a fake one:

  • A driving license in India must show from which office it was made. This makes it easier for anyone possessing the license to follow up in case he finds out that it has got issues.
  • It must have a rubberstamp and the signature of the officer in charge of the issuing office.
  • It will also contain a registration number to uniquely identify you as the owner of that license.
  • The driving license must also have your passport size photo.

There are many other features which cannot be seen by the naked eye on the license. This makes it possible for Indian authorities to easily discern an authentic license from a fake one.

Who Qualifies To Get A Driving License In India?

In Indian law, there are traffic provisions that state the age limits for one to get a license. The age limits depend on the type of motor vehicle you want to operate. According to section 4 of the traffic provisions, an individual who wishes to operate a two-wheeler motorized machine can only get a license if he/she is 16 years or over. Those above 18 years of age are allowed to operate any other type of vehicle apart from transport vehicles for which one is required to be above 20 years.

Indian law is non-discriminative when it comes to gender. It allows both men and women equal rights when it comes to getting licenses. It also does not discriminate against non-natives as it allows foreigners to obtain a license as long as they meet legal requirements.

Step-By-Step Procedure On How To Get A License For First Applicants.

Knowing the steps involved in getting a license is important as it can help you avoid time wastage, reduce costs of travelling to transport offices when you lack some requirements and other related things.  The steps discussed below are mandatory for those seeking a license:

Step 1: Register yourself online.

With the advent of technology, individuals seeking driving licenses no longer need to travel to RTOs for registration. They are instead required to register themselves on the ministry’s website.  You can register yourself using the link: https://sarathi.nic.in:8443/nrportal/sarathi/LLDLForm.jsp to get a new license. This link will lead you to an application form. The form will have the application number on it.

Step 2: Fill the form.

Once you have reached the form, you will be required to fill all the mandatory parts on it. These parts will be marked in red color. Failure to fill these parts will automatically deny you a chance to get a license.

Step 3: Submit form

After filling the form, you will be required to click on the submit button below the form. But before you submit, remember to note down the form application number. After submitting, you should get a message which shows that your application has be successfully saved.

Step 4: Learner’s license test

Once you have submitted your form, you need to make an appointment for the learner’s license test. You can make this appointment by clicking “Appointment for LL test” found under “Online Transaction with Sarathi.” This will test your skills and confidence as a driver. This step is mandatory for anyone applying for a driving license for the first time.

Clicking the “Appointment for LL test” will open an “LL slot booking” option which will require you to choose “LL Test for Online Applicants.”

Step 5: Set test timing

To set your test timing, you will require the form application number and the birthdate for you to login. You should set a convenient date and time for the test.


To Carry When Going For The Learner’s License Test

On the day that you have chosen for the test, remember to carry the original and photocopy of each of the following:

  • Proof of residence. This can be a passport, election card or any other document that can prove that you are a resident of India. Aadhar card could also be used for this.
  • Proof of age which can be a birth certificate or school leaving certificate.

You will then be required to pay for the type of license you want to take a test in. This facility may be available online depending on your state of residence. The exact amount to be paid might vary. It is therefore, advisable to ask the officer in charge at the RTO to tell you how much will be required to pay.

What Happens When You Lose Your License?

As a holder of the driving license, there are instances when you may lose your license. Such instances might include situations where you are robbed of all your belongings, you forget your documents at a place you visited, or you might just drop it on the way home.

As an Indian resident, you should know how to get a duplicate license. Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can get a duplicate.

Step 1: Visit the nearest police station and report.

You should be sure that the station you are visiting has jurisdiction over the area where you lost your license.

Step 2: Lodge a complaint.

While at the police station, lodge an official complaint about the lost license. The police officer in charge should give you a First Information Report (FIR). An FIR is simply a written document prepared by police when they receive information about a cognizable offence. In cities like Delhi, the police department allows you to lodge an FIR for lost objects online too.

Step 3: Get a stamped affidavit.

After successfully lodging your complaint about the lost license, you are then required to visit a notary office where you will get an affidavit stamped on a paper. The work of the affidavit is to prove that you took an oath before a notary public or any other concerned official regarding your lost license.

In India, the notary and the stamped paper are not given for free. You will have to consult the notary and stamp officer regarding the cost.

Requirements To Get A Duplicate Driving License

After losing your original driving license, you can get another one from one of the transport offices across India. You can also get a duplicate DL if the original one is torn or has been stolen. In all these circumstances, the following documents will be required in order to get a duplicate.

  • Application form LLD.
  • First Instance Report (FIR). If your license was stolen or torn, you will require an NCR form.
  • You will have to present the original DL if it is torn, soiled or mutilated.
  • Photocopies of your original license
  • Details of the license
  • Passport size photographs
  • Age proof documents

After presenting the above documents to the officer in charge at the Road Transport Office, the officer will process them and issue you with a duplicate driving license.

The Indian government, through the ministry of Road Transport and Highways has also made it possible for those seeking to get a duplicate DL to apply for it online. The following procedure should guide you while applying online:

  • Fill and submit an online LLD form. You can also upload your form if you had it saved somewhere in a softcopy format.
  • After filling the form, make a printout and attach the necessary photographs. You will then be required to sign.
  • Once you have attached the photographs and signed, visit the RTO where you got your original license. Handover the filled form and other documents. While getting a duplicate DL, you will not be required to take another driving test.
  • After submitting to the RTO, you should be given a receipt. This receipt can be used in place of a license till you get the duplicate one. The DL will then be processed and sent to you through postal address.

How To Get An International Driving License In India

Foreign nationals living in India, or Indian citizen who live in other countries can also use their international DL to drive in India. An international DL has the name of the country for which it is being issued and the visa number of the holder. As an Indian national, you should know that the country’s license can be used in other countries. If you are travelling to the following countries, you really do not have to apply for the international DL at least for the first six months. These countries include: Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Mauritius, Canada, Spain, Finland and Norway.

But after the expiry of the six months, you will not be allowed on the road with your Indian DL. In this case, you will be required to apply for an international license. Here, we shall provide the procedure on how to get an international license.

Step 1: Fill the international DL forms.

You will get these forms from any RTO near you. You will be required to pay for the form.

Step 2: Hand over the requirements.

The requirements will include the following:

  1. The license that you have been using
  2. Proof of your address
  • Passport and its photocopy
  1. Valid visa. The visa should be valid, not an expired one
  2. Medical certificate. This one you will get it at the RTO office
  3. The international DL form that you had filled.
  • Cover letter. This will explain the reasons why you want the international DL.
  • You will also need to submit 4 recent photographs.

Step 3:  Pay application fee.

After submitting all the above documents, you will now have to pay the application fee for your license to be processed.

Once you have applied for your license, you will have to wait for a little while as they process. It can be sent to your address or you can also visit the RTO and collect it yourself.

Smart Card Driving License

In India, the transportation authority also allows the use of a smart card license. A smart card driving license is simply a tamper-proof document in form of a plastic card which has a microprocessor chip embedded in it that has all information regarding the license holder.

Benefits of a smart card license.

  1. It stores all the information on its chip. This makes it difficult for one to make an imitation.
  2. All the information is stored on a single card. This makes it easier for one to move around with it i.e. portable.
  3. The card holder no longer has to be worried that the DL will get torn or mutilated.
  4. The information on the smart card cannot be erased, but can only be modified. This provides for permanent audit trial.
  5. It prevents issuance of fake registration certificates and imitation driving licenses.

Who Can Get A Smart Card License?

Anyone who qualifies to get the conventional permanent driving license qualifies for the smartcard license. The requirements for operators of a personal vehicle, motorcycle or transport vehicle are similar to those used while applying for the permanent license.

While applying for the card, the application form will have 3 parts:

  • The visual inspection zone: the applicant physical identifiers are entered here. They may include signature, name, address, date of birth and so on.
  • Machine readable zone: this region will contain the serial number of the chip, date of issue of the DL, the details of the authority that issued the card and so on.
  • Central motor vehicle rules: this part will show the qualification, endorsements, fines and other related information. In cases of fines, the date the fine was reviewed and settled will also be shown in this region.

The smart card DL is the most convenient document to carry around. It is, however, not issued in all the Indian states. You should first find out whether it is issued in your state. The applicants of this card will have to pay the application fee while applying for it.

Can You Apply For The Smart Card License Online?

Yes. If smart card licenses are offered in your state, there is a way of applying for it online. The procedure will be as follows:

  • Check on the website to see whether it is offered in your state. If it is offered, download and fill the application form for it.
  • After filling the form, attach all the required documents. The documents are same as those while applying for a permanent DL which we have already discussed.
  • Visit the area RTO office with the filled form and attached documents. You will be required to pay the application fee for your card to be processed.

Verification Of Your Indian DL

The authenticity of the license is very critical. If you are caught with a fake license while driving on the roads, you could risk a jail term or a fine as per the Indian law. You should check with the area RTO to confirm whether the license you are using is an imitation or not. There are also physical features on the DL which you can check to see whether you were duped or not.

As a resident in any of the Indian states, you need to know the procedure and importance of having a license. It is also vital to know how to identify a fake license so as not to be caught on the wrong side of the traffic laws.

Reading through this article, I believe, will provide useful insights about the driving license or DL. You can also visit the area RTO or the internet and look for more information regarding the DL.