How to apply for a driving licence in India?

A driving licence (DL) is a mandatory requirement for anyone who wishes to legally drive a motor vehicle in India. Under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, driving without a valid licence is considered a punishable offense. Fortunately, the process of applying for a driving licence has been streamlined with the option of online application.

apply for a driving licence in India

This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a driving licence in India, including the different types of licences, eligibility criteria, required documents, and the online and offline application processes.

Types of Driving Licences


Before delving into the application process, it’s essential to understand the various types of driving licences available in India:

  • Learner’s Licence (LL): A learner’s licence is the first step in the licensing process. It is mandatory for obtaining a permanent or commercial licence. A learner’s licence is valid for six months from the date of issuance, and one can apply for a permanent licence one month after obtaining the learner’s licence or within 30 days of its expiry.
  • Permanent Driving Licence: This licence is required for personal use, allowing individuals to drive a private vehicle for various purposes such as commuting, taking children to school, or going shopping. It is valid for 20 years or until the applicant turns 50, whichever is earlier.
  • Commercial Driving Licence: This type of licence is essential for individuals who intend to transport goods or ferry passengers using commercial vehicles like Medium Goods Vehicles (MGV), Light Goods Vehicles (LGV), Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV), or Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicles (HPMV). A commercial licence is valid for three years.
  • International Driving Permit: If you plan to drive in foreign countries, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is valid for up to a year and cannot be renewed. After its expiry, applicants need to reapply for a new IDP.

Eligibility Criteria for Driving Licence

To be eligible for different types of driving licences, applicants must meet specific criteria based on the type of vehicle:

  • Vehicles without gears with engine capacity up to 50cc: Minimum age of 16 years with parental consent.
  • Vehicles with gears: Minimum age of 18 years and must be aware of traffic rules and regulations.
  • Commercial vehicles: Minimum age of 20 years (18 years in some states), should have completed formal education up to 8th grade, and must be trained from a government or government-affiliated training center.

How to Apply for a Driving Licence Online?

The online application process for a driving licence is quick and convenient. Follow these steps to apply online:

Step 1: Visit the official website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (

Step 2: Select the “Driving Licence Related Services” option under the online services tab.

Step 3: Choose your state from the drop-down menu.

Step 4: Click on the “Apply for Driving Licence” option.

Step 5: Fill in the applicant details, including personal information and vehicle class.

Step 6: Upload scanned copies of the necessary documents, such as age proof, address proof, and passport-sized photographs.

Step 7: Pay the application fee through the available payment methods.

Step 8: Book a slot for the driving licence test, which will be scheduled at the nearest Regional Transport Office (RTO).

Step 9: Appear for the driving test as per the scheduled date and time.

Step 10: If you pass the test, your driving licence will be delivered to your doorstep.

How to Apply for a Driving Licence Offline?

If you prefer to apply for a driving licence offline, follow these steps:

Step 1: Obtain Form 4, the application form for a driving licence, either from the state transport official website or the nearest RTO.

Step 2: Fill up Form 4 completely and accurately, and attach the required documents, including age proof, address proof, and passport-sized photographs.

Step 3: Submit the filled application form and documents at the nearest RTO.

Step 4: Pay the prescribed application fee.

Step 5: Book a slot for the driving test at the RTO.

Step 6: Appear for the driving test on the scheduled date and time.

Step 7: If you pass the test, your driving licence will be issued.

Advantages of Applying for Driving Licence Online

Applying for a driving licence online offers several advantages:

  • Convenience: The online process allows you to apply from the comfort of your home, saving time and effort.
  • Quick Processing: Online applications are processed faster compared to offline methods.
  • Document Upload: You can easily upload scanned copies of required documents, reducing the need for physical copies.
  • Test Scheduling: You can book a slot for the driving test conveniently online.
  • Home Delivery: If you pass the test, your driving licence will be delivered to your doorstep.

Documents Required to Apply for a Driving Licence

To apply for a driving licence, you will need the following documents:

  • Age Proof (any one of the following): Birth certificate, school matriculation certificate, attested copy of the passport, PAN Card, or passport.
  • Address Proof (any one of the following): Voter ID, Ration Card, valid passport, LIC policy bond, or state/central government payslip.
  • Three passport-sized photographs.
  • Learner’s Licence (if applying for a permanent licence).

Comparison between Driving Licence (DL) and Learner’s Licence (LL)

Key Differences


  • A driving licence permits an individual to operate one or more motorized vehicles legally on public roads.
  • A learner’s licence is issued to individuals who are learning to drive for practice purposes and does not authorize independent driving.

Issued when?

  • A driving licence is issued after successfully passing the final driving test.
  • A learner’s licence is provided to those undergoing training to qualify for a full driver’s licence.


  • With a valid driving licence, individuals can drive alone without supervision.
  • Learner’s licence holders are required to have a licensed driver in the front seat while driving.


  • Applicants must be 18 years or above to apply for a driving licence.
  • Learner’s licence applicants fall within the age range of 16 to 18 years.


  • A driving licence is typically valid for a period of 20 years.
  • A learner’s licence is valid for a limited duration of six months.

Dos and Don’ts


  • Ensure to review the form for any errors or omissions before submission.
  • Carry all original documents when appearing for the driving test.
  • Keep in mind that a Learner’s Licence is only valid for six months.


  • Avoid submitting fraudulent documents along with your application, as it may lead to penal action.
  • Remember to attach a copy of your Learner’s Licence when applying for a Driving Licence.
  • Refrain from driving or practicing without a valid licence or proper documentation at all times.
  • Never drive alone without the presence of a holder of a permanent driving licence.

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How can I retrieve my lost Application number?

To retrieve your lost Application number, visit, select your concerned state, and click on ‘Application number’ under the ‘Others’ menu.

Is a driving test required to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

No, an international driving permit does not require a driving test. Your Permanent Driving Licence serves as sufficient proof of your driving skills for authorities in foreign countries.

What test is necessary to obtain a Commercial Driving Licence (CDL)?

To obtain a Commercial Driving Licence (CDL), the test involves driving forward and reverse on a track without touching the lines under any circumstances.

Will I receive a refund if I don’t pass my driving test?

No, there will be no refund provided if you do not clear your driving test.

I have withdrawn my application for a vehicle class, but the fees are still showing as pending. What should I do now?

In this case, you should contact the Transport Department or your Zonal office and provide them with the original documents. Alternatively, you can reach out to them through their help desk service.

I possess a Driving Licence (DL) issued by one state and now wish to apply for another DL in a different state. Is this possible?

No matter where you apply, a permanent Driving Licence (DL) is issued by the same state where your learner’s DL was issued.

Is a medical certificate mandatory when applying for a licence?

If you are above 50 years of age, a medical certificate is compulsory.

What is the validity period of a Learner’s Licence?

A Learner’s Licence remains valid for six months from the date of issue.

Does a Learner’s Licence obtained in Delhi remain valid across India?

Indeed, a Learner’s Licence issued in any state or Union territory remains valid nationwide for the entire duration of its validity.


Obtaining a driving licence is essential for legally driving a motor vehicle in India. The process of applying for a driving licence has been made more accessible through online services, providing convenience and quick processing. Whether you choose to apply online or offline, ensure that you fulfill all eligibility criteria and have the necessary documents ready for a hassle-free application process.

Remember to adhere to traffic rules and drive responsibly to ensure road safety for yourself and others. Happy driving!

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