Informing educating and connecting Indians across the globe . . . by Virendar Chand
Getting a Driving License in India
How to get a driving license - New smart car licenses!
NRIs returning to India for permanent settlement or even for an extended stay will feel the need to get a Indian driving license
when they arrive in India. Whether one plans to drive in India or not, a driver license is a form of photo identification that is
required on many occasions.
If you decide to spend some time in India and live on your own then you will definitely feel the need to get an Internet
connection, perhaps cable television or even a landline telephone. For getting just about any service in India, one usually
requires at least two forms of identification to verify their local Indian address.
I applied for an Internet connection and even though I was able to provide an Indian drivers license and
a current hydro bill as proof of my local residential address. A representative of the Internet company
visit me at my residence to verify my address before my Internet connection was installed.
I am told that verification of address is now a common step and most companies send people out to
confirm residential addresses before providing service. Using your foreign passport always does not
help. The person installing a cable on your Indian residence is not going to be thrilled if you provide
him with a New York address. Hence a Indian driving license makes sense if you wish to live in India for
an extended time.
New smart card driver licenses in India.
The time when one could just pay agents and get a driver’s without even bothering to give a driver’s
test is now gone in India. The Indian state of Maharashtra and several other states in India are now
issuing smart card driver licenses, which will have a chip with a 4 KB memory.
This type of driver license will also have a unique gradation system,
based on the driver’s previous driving offenses if any exist. Higher the
seriousness of the driver’s offense, lower will be the grade accorded to
him. The smart card driver license will contain all the essential
information about the driver, along with his/her photograph, signature
and thumb impression.
Indian Driving License for NRIs
So how can NRIs get a driving license in India? I have lived in North
America for 35 years and recently decided to set up a residence in
Pune, a city in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Let me describe the procedure that is presently used Pune, a city in the state of Maharashtra, for issuing driving licenses. Pune is one of the cities in India that
has already started with a computerized test for a learners driving license.
I believe many other cities also have a computerized system and those that do not will soon have the same set up. Pune also issues the new smart card driver
The Indian state of Maharashtra and several other states in India are now issuing smart card driver
licenses. Driving licenses are issued in India by the Regional Transport Office, commonly refereed to as
the RTO. The first step to getting a drivers license in India, is to get a learners driving license.
How to get a learners driving license in India
Driving licenses are issued in India by the Regional Transport Office (RTO). To get a learners license you
have to visit your local RTO office. To get your learner license, the following documents are required.
Duly filed application form.
Medical fitness form signed by medical examiner certifying you have no medical problems that
will interfere in your ability to drive.
Proof of your current address in India.
Proof of your age.
Three passport size photographs.
Documents acceptable for proof of residence when applying for
driving license in India:
Voters Identity card - NRIs won’t have a voters card! If you do, its illegal!or
Passport - NRIs will of course have a passport, however its normally not acceptable,
unless it shows your Indian address. Only Indian passports are useful here. or
Ration Card - If you are living in India, there is a remote chance you may have one.
Most NRIs will not. or
Property Tax Bill - There is a possibility NRIs may have this document if they own
property in India. or
Rent receipt - If you don’t own property and are renting accommodation in India, A receipt from your landlord along with a letter of confirmation, may
Other acceptable documents are electricity bill, landline telephone bill.
While I had taken my Canadian passport along, I soon discovered that by asking for a Passport as proof
of address the authorities expect an Indian passport. Whereas my Canadian passport does not show my
residential address on it, Indian passports do show residential addresses and are hence acceptable as
proof of residence.
I decided to use my Indian property tax receipt as proof of address and as proof of age I was able to
show them my OCI registration passport, issued by the Government
of India to applicants who get Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)
The application form for the learner license in Pune that I got, was
only in Marathi language and one of the freelance agents that hang
around the RTO offices filled the form for me. He also in a matter
of minutes got a medical certificate for me all stamped and signed
by a medical examiner without the need for a medical exam. The
cost of this service was Rupees 200. Medical examiners hang around
the compound and speak to the applicant for a few minutes and
decide to issue the certificate.
The next step was to line up to verify your documents. While photo copies are attached to your form along with three
photographs, the original documents have to be presented for inspection. After almost two hours in the lineup I was able
to show my documents and get them approved by a policeman at the desk who I believe held the rank of a police
Once documents are approved the appropriate fee has to be paid. Next comes the finger print scan and photograph
computer photograph that is taken to place on your license.
After these formalities are done, Candidates are assembled in the examination hall where a test on road signs is conducted on a terminal. Candidates need to
choose correct answers from multiple choice questions that flash on a screen. Ten questions are given and one needs to get at least 6 correct.
Those passing are given a laminated learner license that is valid for six months. After having a leaner license for at least one month, an applicant can take the
road test for a full driving license.
The good part is no further documentation is required for the road test. My test lasted only five minutes and I was quite pleased as I have not driven a standard
gear shift car for almost two decades.
Most driving schools charge by the type of the car one wishes to learn on. The majority of them provide only 15 minute lessons a day and for approximately 8
lessons plus providing their car for the driving test charge approximately 2700 to 3000 Rupees.
What I found funny was that during the driving test the examiner allows the instructors also to sit in the car used by candidates to do the driving test.
Most people who can drive abroad should have no problem passing the driving test. As for driving around in the city, I would avoid it if possible.
Traffic on the road in most major cities does not move in an orderly manner and people try to overtake each other from all sides showing a total disregard for
proper lanes marked on the road for driving.
Disclaimer: Information provided is for general knowledge only and should not be deemed to be professional advice. For professional advice kindly consult a professional
accountant, immigration advisor or the Indian consulate. Rules and regulations do change from time to time. Please note that in case of any variation between what has
been stated on this website and the relevant Act, Rules, Regulations, Policy Statements etc. the latter shall prevail.
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