Procuring a Commercial Driving License in India

Do you feel like using your car for a commercial carpool, taxi or chauffeur business? Do you also plan on hiring people to operate your cars for a profitable transport agency? But, unfortunately, you are not acquainted with the legalities behind what your drivers require to be eligible for the same?

Or perhaps are you planning on becoming a truck driver and need a proper license to not bully the law? Trust us when we say, that there is nothing more serene in driving your own vehicle around your city, your state or the entire country. While there are different challenges warranted to be combated, the joy of overcoming them is much more impressive than anything else.

A businessman handling a transport or a freight business may face different issues like meeting deadlines, facing floods and landslides etc. in their day to day operations.  But, the willingness to fight them consciously is the best thing a potential commercial driver or a commercial business owner can do.

What is a Commercial Driver’s license?

Well, a commercial license or a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is an important government authorized document that is required for people who wish to enter the transportation industry, may be as a car, truck or a bus driver. Thankfully, the procedure for acquiring the license is not at all cumbersome. The procedure comprises of certain forms, the nature of which is little different than that of acquiring other licenses.

While it might take time to receive your commercial license due to bureaucratic red tape, it is generally delayed since it also reflects as an identity proof.  Hence, proper care has to be taken before one is issued. But the commercial license is not offered until you pass a knowledge test that actually measures your knowledge about the different laws for using commercial vehicles. This is a pre-requisite, which is demanded from the candidates applying for any kind of license within the boundaries in the country.

Post clearing the knowledge test, you need to be geared up for a driving skills test. The RTO examiner would judge you basis your knowledge of operating a commercial vehicle.

Who provides the license and curates the process?

The organization authorized and mandated to provide you with the commercial license are the Regional Transport Office/Authority or RTO. It is a government authorized organization that looks after issuing driving licenses, collecting vehicle tax, issuing personalized registrations and maintaining a record of drivers and cars. There are zonal offices of the RTO scattered across the country. Much like the parent body, every zonal office is responsible for processing your commercial license too.

In order to be eligible to apply for a commercial license, the below criteria have to be met:

  • Age: The applicant’s age must be above 18 years to apply for a CDL. However, the minimum age to apply for a CDL in some states is 22. Education: Every applicant should have passed at least class 8. It is mandatory to have a minute level of intelligence and memory to process the different signs and rules.
  • Learner’s License: A learner’s license is mandatory for any driver who wishes to apply for a commercial license. A learner’s license authorizes an individual to drive a car for a certain period to learn how to drive. On passing a written test, the learner’s license is issued.
  • Training: It is mandatory for the applicant to be trained from a Government Motor School. A Motor school tied-up with State Government can also serve the purpose.
  • Online or Offline Application: An online application or an offline application has to be submitted along with necessary documents to initiate the process.
  • Driving Test: Upon clearing the document stage, the applicant’s driving skills will be tested and if they clear the test to the satisfaction of the presiding officer, he/she will receive his/her commercial driver’s license.

Please make sure that you have the necessary documents before you apply for the license. Here is a list of the documents that you would require irrespective of whether you apply for a CDL online or offline:

  • An Identity Proof: Any identity proof such as a Passport, Aadhaar Card, PAN Card, Birth Certificate or your 10th grade mark sheet if it has your photograph.
  • An Address Proof: All the above documents except a Pan card because it does not mention your residential address. A 10th class mark sheet doesn’t work as an address proof too. You could also get your utility bills.
  • Four or five passport sized photographs.
  • An application fee also needs to be carried or paid.

Here are two options that you can choose to get your commercial license processed and initiated before you arrive for the driving test.

Online Application:

You can apply online for a commercial license. You can also download the application form, fill it completely and then upload it finally on the website database. The following are the steps involved in applying for your commercial license:

  • Log on to the website and apply: You would have to log into the Sarathi website in India w and download the required application form which is Form 4. Necessary photographs and information needs to be updated to proceed onto the next step.
  • Medical Certificates and Form: The second step and form that needs to be catered to is the medical certificate which can be done by filling up Form 1A. In case you intend to process a commercial license for a heavy vehicle then a Driver Refreshing Training Certificate has to be furnished.
  • Submission of Form No.5: You will need to pursue training from a Government Driving School or the one that has been authorized by the State Government. This institute will provide you with the form 5 details and provide stamps wherever required.
  • Acknowledgement: Once these formalities have been catered to then you will receive a serial number on your registered mobile number.
  • Driving test: You will then have to, attend the test well in advance of the time provided.

Offline Application:

An offline application can also be facilitated. It is not as tedious as you would expect it to be. Here are the steps that you need to follow to achieve a commercial driver’s license:

  • Reach the nearest Zonal RTO office: As mentioned above the Regional Transport Office is mandated to provide you with your commercial license and is also responsible to provide you with the forms required for the same. Make sure you ask for Form 2 from the officer present.
  • Medical Certificates and Form: Similar to the online process, the medical certificate has to be provided through Form 1A and the Driver Refreshing Training Certificate needs to be provided too.
  • Form No.5: Similar to the online procedure, you would have to attend training from a Government Driving School or the one that has been authorized by the State Government. This institute will provide you with the form 5 details and will provide stamp wherever required.
  • Documents submission: Ensure that all the documents mentioned above are submitted and attached to the Forms, which you’ve filled on the spot.
  • Acknowledgement: Once the forms and documents have been submitted, then you will receive a serial number on your mobile phone.
  • Driving test: After that just attend the test and show up well in advance of the stipulated time.

What happens if you lose the Commercial license?

Whenever you lose your Commercial license, it is advised that you report it immediately. For example,  your passport is an important document that can be used as an identity proof. Hence, if you lose it within the country – first file an FIR.

Then you can go back to the zonal regional transport authority to renew your passport again. It would be advisable to write a letter notifying that you lost your Commercial license.   It is also advisable to get a stamped affidavit to notify that you’ve taken a sworn oath that you’ve lost your commercial license and that you have registered a first information report for the same reason.

How to get a duplicate Commercial license?

Well the procedure is not at all tough. If you have the affidavit and FIR ready, all you need to do is produce all the required documents and obtain a duplicate license from the officer. Here is a step-by-step guide through the documents needed:

After losing your original commercial license, you can get a duplicate license from the zonal transport offices across India. You can also get a duplicate commercial license 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 2 as mentioned.
  • First Instance Report (FIR). If your commercial license was stolen or torn, you will require an NCR form.
  • You will have to present the original license if it is torn, soiled or mutilated.
  • Photocopies of your original commercial license – Photocopies of the original commercial license are a must. So always ensure that you have photocopies made of the same once you receive it.
  • Details of the license – Kindly mention every detail inside the license. The serial numbers, the birth details and the time it was issued along with how it was lost.
  • Passport size photographs
  • Age proof documents

So, why delay? Follow all the above steps to obtain a commercial license to live, a license to simply go wherever and whenever you wish to as your business demands. Now that you are privy to all the details that you need to acquire a commercial license in India, what are you waiting for? Start applying today.

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