Driving in India, or any other foreign country for that matter requires some preparation. With this article, we are going to help you answer the question of how you can get your international driving licence for India. After which you book your tuktuk and cruise those amazing Indian roads!
Driving in India entirely depends on your stay in the country. If you are coming to India for a short visit (ex. tourist), the requirement to (self) drive a vehicle in India is to have both your national license and an International Driving Permit (IDP).
So what is an IDP or International Driving Permit?
An International Driving Permit (IDP), is a permit that allows you to drive in countries where your national licence alone is not sufficient. It’s a legal identity document that allows the holder to drive a private motor vehicle in any country or jurisdiction that recognises the document. To be valid, the IDP must be accompanied by a valid driving licence issued in the applicant’s country of residence.
What is the validity of an IDP?
The validity depends on the type of IDP you are using and also the validity of your national license. Once the national license is expired, the IDP is then automatically also considered as invalid. There are three types of IDP’s:
- 1968 IDP – which has a 3-year validity.
- 1949 IDP – with a 1-year validity (the most common type of the IDP).
- 1926 IDP – again, 1-year validity.
What driving license is required to drive a tuktuk in India?
A frequent question asked by foreign travellers visiting India is what kind of license is required to drive a tuktuk. The answer is simple: IDP with class B endorsement.
Why class B and not A? It’s because the Indian Motor Vehicle Act considers a tuktuk or auto-rickshaw to be a light motor vehicle, which is the same category as a car.
Class A is for motorcycles, which according to the Indian Act is only allowed to carry a maximum of two people including driver. While a tuktuk is allowed to carry a maximum of 4 people including the driver. Hence, the class required to drive a tuktuk in India is Class B.
Can a foreigner/tourist get an Indian Driving License?
The only way to receive an official Indian Driving Licence is to have some kind of residency permit visa in India. To receive this Indian Licence, you will have to obtain a proof of residency from the Police Commissioners Office of the area of residence. This will mention your local Indian address as well, which can be of a rented house/apartment and there should be a genuine rent agreement to prove this proof of residence.
Once this document is received, you can apply for Indian driving license at the Regional Transport Office (RTO) along with the copy of Indian visa and passport. You can find a list of these offices here. Prior to obtaining the official Indian Licence, you will go through a learners license test and a driving test. Once passed, you will receive your Indian Driving Licence!
How can I get my International Drivers Licence?
How to get your IDP depends on which country you are from or in which country you reside at the time of applying.
Depending on the country, you will either have to visit your regional transport authority, post office or other relevant government offices to apply for your IDP. A comprehensive list of countries and how to apply for an International Driving Permit can be found here.
If you are looking to get your licence for Sri Lanka, please check out our own comprehensive blog about it here.
How to get your Driving Licence for India
To sum up, here is what you need to take into account before getting your Driving Licence for India:
- Make sure you have a national country drivers licence.
- Get yourself an International Drivers Permit from the relevant authority.
- Travel to India and drive!
If you still have any questions regarding your licence and self-driving in India, please comment below this post and we will get back to you!