International Driving License

Getting ready for a trip or a business meeting abroad? Are you planning on renting a car or a motorbike there? Do not panic. We have easy steps for you to follow, to ensure that you get to enjoy every nook and corner of the place you are visiting.

So what do you need to drive a car or a motorbike abroad?

To begin with, you need an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an International driver’s license.

What is an International Driver’s License?

It is the driving license that permits you to rent or drive a car / bike and use as an ID proof in a foreign country, the one in which you are scheduled to travel to. In India, even a foreign national visiting the country, can apply for this license to be able to drive during their stay in India.

Acquiring an International driver’s license is a hassle-free process. Even accounting for bureaucratic red tape, the permit generally takes a time span of between 2 days to a week to process and reach you. So you do have enough time left to pack for the trip, and hardly waste any time doing rounds of Government offices.

You do not require an International driver’s license for a period of six months when it comes to visiting any of these countries – United States of America, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Canada, Spain, Mauritius, Finland, Switzerland, Norway and Mauritius. After the period of 6 months has elapsed, then the application for an International driver’s license is mandatory by law. Your Indian Driver’s License shall be deemed invalid in such a case.

Ways to Get An International Driver’s License

Here are two options that you can choose from to get your International driver’s license processed and delivered to you promptly and efficiently.

  • Regional Transport Office

RTO or the Regional Transport Office is the organization authorized by the Government of India to issue driving licenses, collect vehicle tax, issue personalized registrations and maintain 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 International Driving Permit too.

Before we give you a step by step listing of what you need to file, once your reach the closest zonal RTO office in your vicinity, let us cite the documents that you absolutely need to carry to the zonal office. Failure to produce either one of these documents would deem you ineligible for the International driver’s license concerned.

Here is the list of documents you need to carry –

  • A valid driving license, whose authenticity will be checked thoroughly through the databases of the Regional Transport Office,
  • An attested copy of the address proof, pertaining to the communication address currently occupied. If the communication address is the permanent address, then the address proof of the permanent address needs to be provided. This is essential for the application of the International driver’s license. It would be advisable not to change addresses while the procedure is on PAN Card is not a valid address proof. Despite having your photo ID, it does not carry the address you reside in. (It is advisable to carry two identity proofs with the same address)
  • An attested copy of your identity proof along with the original (along with your passport). Carrying an attested copy of your birth certificate is an added bonus. Some zonal offices ask for it, this is highly unpredictable. Age is verified thoroughly before issue of International driver’s license.
  • A valid Indian Passport. The expiration date of the passport can be found in the passport itself.
  • A valid visa is required. The application for an International driver’s license can only be processed if you already have a valid visa authorized by a foreign embassy. The visa proceedings for many countries are strict and hence providing an IDP without receiving a Visa is against the Government’s prerogative.
  • Two or three passport sized photograph (although it is advisable to carry at least four to five).
  • Carry attested copies of the air tickets or train tickets (when required)
  • A letter written to the Zonal Regional Transport Office, asking for the authorization of your International driver’s license. He letter is to mention the country you belong to, the countries you are travelling to. The tenure and purpose of travel and the fact that all the documents have been provided.

Remember, any fake document can lead to your arrest, and therefore it is advisable to chart through the procedures of law and acquire your driving license legally. Once all these documents have been secured and are prepared for the day you plan on visiting the Regional Transport Authority, you need to meet certain requirements pertaining to certain forms which need to be filled on the spot and submitted.

The nature of these forms varies from that of the application for the International driver’s license to medical submission, which are not exactly affidavits, but can be used in court against you, if you do not abide by the laws governing your travels.

Here are the actual form names and their functions. Kindly note down these names to ensure you are receiving the right form:

  • A CMV–4 form, which is the primary form which needs to be filled and submitted. It addresses your application for the International driver’s license. Kindly fill up this form judiciously and carefully. This form will primarily be used to enter the system, your details which would further be processed to provide you with the International driver’s license.
  • CMV 1 and CMV 1-A forms also need to be received, filled and submitted along with the CMV 4 form. The CMV 1 and CMV1-A forms are concerned with your medical conditions and mandate you to provide correct information with the same, to validate whether you are fit to drive or not. The CMV1-A is actually the Medical Certificate.
  • All the three documents are available online and can be downloaded from the internet. Apart from the websites of the ministry of transport of the central government, majority of transport department websites of the states also provide all the three forms mentioned above. Hence, you can download the forms very easily.

A fee of 500 rupees needs to be paid while submitting these forms to initiate the process. If accepted, then you will be awarded an International driver’s license which will be valid for a tenure of12 months. After which your DL has to be renewed again.

The Indian Embassy in the country where you are facilitates the process.

  • Western India Automobile Association

The WIAA is the less popular of the two alternatives available to you. In case you reside in Mumbai, Pune or Ahmedabad, then you could go for this option. In order to apply for the International Driving Permit from the WIAA, you need to be a member of the Western India Automobile Association first.

Apart from that you require all the documents required of you in case you would have applied from the zonal regional transport authority.

The charge for the International driver’s license is higher too in this case. You would be required to pay a fee of Rs. 800 as opposed to Rs. 500 in the other case.

However with a membership of the WIAA, come benefits too. Once the membership is availed to, a WIAA card is provided to you which provides exorbitant discounts for your travel around a foreign country.

It also guarantees to provide you with an International driver’s license in 2 days provided all the documents provided are genuine and correctly filed.

In case you are opting for the second option, kindly ensure that you only apply for the IDP if you are travelling to the list of countries which recognize the 1949 convention of international driving permit. Once you have received your International driver’s license, you might also lose it under unforeseen circumstances. There is no need to panic.

What happens if you lose the International driver’s license?

Whenever you lose your International driver’s license, it is advised that you report it immediately.

Like your passport, it is an important document that can be used as an identity proof. Hence, if you lose it within the country – 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 International driver’s license.

Similarly, if you do lose it abroad, notify the local authority and the Indian Embassy immediately and renew it from there. Issuance of a duplicate International driver’s license after proper verification is not an issue unless it infringes upon other laws.

Now that you have all the information you require to know how to file, receive and use the International driver’s license, what are you waiting for? Travel abroad, grab a vehicle and put the pedal to the metal.

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