How to apply for a driver’s licence in Karnataka?

Acquiring the ability to operate both cars and two-wheelers is an increasingly crucial and widespread skill in today’s world. This holds true across diverse settings such as bustling urban centers, semi-urban areas, and even rural villages. Demonstrating proficiency at this skill is a requirement for lawful driving in any jurisdiction. The state government issues a valid driving license, which serves as evidence of meeting the necessary competency level, and it remains valid for a designated duration.

apply for a driver's licence in Karnataka

Typically, obtaining this license involves passing a written, theoretical, or verbal examination. This ensures that the applicant possesses a solid comprehension of proper road behavior, established norms, protocols, regulations, and traffic statutes. Following this, a practical assessment is conducted using a vehicle with dual controls. This evaluation confirms the applicant’s capability to maneuver a vehicle on the road. An official from the respective transportation authority closely supervises this assessment.

Varieties of Driving Licences in Karnataka


In Karnataka, individuals seeking a driving license are required to first obtain a Learners License, followed by acquiring a Permanent Driving Licence within a six-month period. The option to schedule a test for the permanent driving licence becomes available one month after receiving the learners license.

The Karnataka government offers three distinct categories of driving licenses:

Driving Licence for Motorcycles without Gear: This type of permanent Driving Licence is issued to candidates who intend to operate motorcycles and two-wheelers lacking gears, such as scooters and mopeds. Applicants must be 16 years of age or older to be eligible for this license.

Driving Licence for Light Motor Vehicle: This category is designed for individuals seeking a license to operate light motor vehicles, including bikes and cars. The minimum age requirement for applying for this type of license is 18 years or above.

Driving Licence for Transport Vehicles: Individuals aspiring to drive transport vehicles, which encompass cabs, private service vehicles, lorries, trucks, and trailers, are required to obtain a permanent Driving Licence for transport vehicles. In Karnataka, this type of license is generally issued to applicants aged 20 years and above.

Requirements for Obtaining a Driving Licence in Karnataka

Here is the essential information regarding the qualifications necessary to initiate a Driving Licence (DL) application in Karnataka.

  • For gearless vehicles, individuals must be at least 16 years old or above to apply for a DL.
  • To apply for a DL for geared vehicles, applicants must be at least 18 years old or above.
  • Applicants aspiring to obtain a DL for transport vehicles should be 20 years of age or older.
  • The application process for a permanent DL cannot be undertaken without holding a Learner’s Licence that is no more than 6 months old.
  • Successfully passing the tests linked to DL issuance is mandatory for applicants.
  • These guidelines outline the eligibility prerequisites for applying for a Driving Licence in Karnataka.

Applying for a Driving Licence in Karnataka: Step-by-Step

Obtain Application Form:

  • Visit the nearest RTO (Regional Transport Office) to collect the application form directly.
  • Apply through a motor driving school.
  • Download the form from the official website

Gather Required Documentation:

  • Prepare passport-sized photos.
  • Collect valid ID proof.
  • Gather documents for residence address verification.

Preliminary Test Slot:

  • After submitting necessary documents, receive a slot for the preliminary test.
  • This test assesses your knowledge of road rules, regulations, and traffic laws.

Learner’s License Issuance:

  • Upon passing the preliminary test, receive a learner’s license.

Waiting Period and Practice:

  • Once you have acquired the learner’s license, keep in mind that it’s valid for six months.
  • You can apply for a permanent driving license only after one month.
  • Use this time to practice driving on both road and grounds to gain confidence.

Practical Test:

  • When you feel confident, choose an available slot for the practical driving test.
  • This test evaluates your ability to drive a vehicle on the road.

By following these steps, you can successfully apply for and obtain a driving license in Karnataka.

Driving Licence Charges in Karnataka

The subsequent fee amounts are applicable for various Driving Licence services within Karnataka.

  • Learner’s Licence Issuance – 150
  • Learner’s Licence Test/Retest – 50
  • Driving Licence Test/Retest – 300
  • Driving Licence Issuance – 200

Documents Required for Obtaining a Driving Licence in Karnataka

When applying for a Driving Licence in Karnataka, candidates are required to provide the following documents at the respective RTO Office:

  • Four recent passport-sized photos of the applicant.
  • If applicable, a medical certificate in Form 1 A and 1 issued by a licensed Government doctor.
  • Valid vehicle documents, if you own a vehicle.
  • A license application form that has been appropriately completed and can be downloaded from the official website of the Karnataka Transport Department.
  • Acceptable proof of age includes documents like the SSLC Book, PAN Card, Voter ID, Aadhar card, among other options.
  • Acceptable forms of ID with a photo and signature include nationally recognized documents like Voter ID, Passport, PAN Card, or Aadhar card.
  • Documents like a copy of the Ration card, rental/lease agreement, utility bills, etc., can serve as valid proof of residence.
  • The application fees are specified and need to be paid accordingly.

Additional documents might be requested by the RTO official based on individual circumstances. It is advisable to inquire with the relevant staff before submitting your documents.

Checking Driving Licence Status in Karnataka

Guidelines for Checking Driving Licence Application Status in Karnataka, Let’s explore the simple steps to ascertain the status of your Learner’s Licence (LL) and Driving Licence (DL) applications in Karnataka.

  • Navigate to the official Sarathi website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways at
  • Choose ‘Karnataka’ as your state from the provided drop-down menu.
  • Click on the ‘Application Status’ option located in the top menu bar.
  • Input your application number along with your date of birth.

Upon completion of these steps, you will be able to view the status of your Driving Licence application.

Procedure for Applying for an International Driving Licence in Karnataka

To obtain an International Driving Licence (IDL) in Karnataka, follow these steps:

  • Submit the application form 4-A of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), available either at the Regional Transport Office (RTO) or downloadable from the website ‘’.
  • Provide the necessary documents, including your passport, original driving licence, valid visa, and three passport-sized photographs.
  • If the driving licence was issued within the last three months, the applicant will need to retake the driving test.
  • The residential address mentioned on the driving licence must fall within the jurisdiction of the RTO where the IDP application is being made.
  • The fee for obtaining an international driving licence in Karnataka is ₹500.
  • Personal appearance at the RTO is mandatory for applying for an International Driving Permit (IDP).
  • The international driving licence issued in Karnataka remains valid for a period of 12 months.
  • The applicant can expect to receive the IDP within a span of 7 days.

How to Rectify Driving Licence Details Online?

If individuals possessing a driving licence need to rectify any discrepancies like misspelled names or incorrect addresses on the card, they must submit a written application accompanied by appropriate supporting documents containing the accurate information.

Acceptable Documents for Correction:

  • Passport
  • Recent utility bill
  • LIC Policy
  • Ration Card
  • Caste Certificate (SC/ST, Backward Class, Minorities, etc.)
  • Income Certificate issued by a Tahasildar
  • Self-sworn Affidavit before an executive Magistrate, First Class Judicial Magistrate, or a Notary Public, with accurate information.
  • Proof of legal residential status in India (for overseas applicants)

If the initial driving licence was issued by the same RTA office, the requested correction can be processed on the same day, resulting in the issuance of a new licence. However, if the correction application is made at a different RTO, the updated licence with the revised information will be sent within one month after verification. A fee of INR 215 is also required, and the applicant must be physically present for a photograph to be taken by an official.

Changing Address for Driving Licence Online

If driving licence holders wish to update the address printed on their card, they should submit a written application along with supporting proofs for the new residential address. Accepted proofs include:

  • Passport
  • LIC Policy
  • Recent utility bill
  • Ration Card
  • Caste Certificate (SC/ST, Backward Class, Minorities, etc.)
  • Income Certificate issued by a Tahasildar
  • Self-sworn Affidavit before an executive Magistrate, First Class Judicial Magistrate, or a Notary Public, serving as both age and residence proof
  • Proof of legal residential status in India (for overseas applicants)

For change of address within the same RTA office, the modification can be made on the same day, resulting in a new licence issuance. If the change is requested at a different RTO, the updated licence will be dispatched within a month after verification. A fee of INR 215 applies, and the applicant’s presence is necessary for photographing purposes.

Driving Licence Test Procedure in Karnataka

Once you’ve acquired your learner’s license, you’re eligible to undertake the practical driving test after a month’s time. You can choose a suitable time slot when you feel adequately prepared for the test. On the scheduled day, your documents will be reviewed by an inspector before proceeding with the test. The responsibility of providing the vehicle lies with you, as the transport department does not furnish vehicles for the test. Alternatively, if you’ve received training from a motor vehicle driving school, they will manage this aspect.

For Four-Wheeler Test

Ground Test: Initiated by navigating the designated ‘H’ route without making contact with the boundary poles. This assesses your vehicle control, reverse driving, gear shifting, focus, and more. Failing this phase warrants another opportunity for the test.

Road Test: The successful completion of the ground test leads to the final road test. An examiner accompanies you to evaluate your driving skills, vehicle familiarity, adherence to practical traffic rules, and law application.

For Two-Wheeler & Three-Wheeler Tests

Ground Test: Commences with riding a motorcycle or auto rickshaw in a ‘Figure of Eight’ pattern, avoiding contact with the boundary poles. This segment examines your comfort with the vehicle, gear changes, cornering, and reverse maneuvers.

Road Test: After clearing the ground test, proceed to the road test. This involves riding the vehicle a specified distance on public roads while adhering to all regulations.

The Inspector of Motor Vehicles evaluates your driving competence based on the criteria outlined in Rule 15 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (1989). Upon satisfaction, the inspector can endorse your performance to the RTO, leading to the issuance of your driving license. For those who do not pass the test, a retest can be attempted after a seven-day interval, upon payment of a nominal fee of INR 50.

Renewal of Driving Licence in Karnataka

A Driving Licence (DL) is initially issued for a validity of 20 years or until the age of 50, whichever comes first. Once you surpass the age of 50, you typically need to renew your license every three to five years in Karnataka. You can initiate the renewal process up to 20 years before the expiration date or within one month after it has expired.

To renew your licence, start by obtaining a renewal form from the same RTO that initially issued or last renewed your licence. Complete the form and submit it along with a medical certificate in form CMV 1/IA, three recent passport-sized photographs, and the original DL.

The renewal fee, amounting to INR 300, is required for the issuance of the new card. Upon payment, you will receive your renewed driving licence on the same day.

Applying for Duplicate Driving Licence

In the unfortunate event of losing or having your driving licence stolen, you’ll need to apply for a duplicate driving licence. The steps below outline the process for obtaining a duplicate Driving Licence in Karnataka:

  • Complete LLD Form: Fill out the LLD form accurately and submit it at the nearest RTO. This should be the same RTO that initially approved or renewed your licence.
  • Provide Recent Photos: Along with the LLD form, submit at least three copies of your most recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Pay the Fee: Refer to the KMV guidebook for the specified fee. If applying using Form 7, a fee of INR 40 is usually required.
  • Present Duplicate Copy: If you possess a duplicate copy of your lost licence, present it during the application process. This will facilitate the retrieval of your details and expedite the process.

Following these steps will help you acquire a duplicate Driving Licence efficiently and accurately.

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What is the application fee for a driving license?

To apply for a driving license for a single class of vehicles, the fee is INR 30. If you are applying for a license covering multiple classes of vehicles, a fee of INR 30 is required for each class.

What is the validity period of an Indian Driving Licence?

An Indian Driving Licence is valid throughout the country and is usually issued for a span of 20 years or until the age of 50, whichever comes first.

I possess a license for a gearless two-wheeler. Will I need to reappear for the test to obtain a license for a geared two-wheeler?

Given that you already hold a valid license, you are exempt from the preliminary test, whether it’s oral or written. You can apply for a practical test slot and participate on the same day. Your first step is to pass the ground test (Figure-of-eight). If successful, you can proceed to the road test. In the event that you do not pass the ground test, you will be given another date for a retest.

What topics will be covered in the preliminary test?

The preliminary test will cover the following subjects:

  • Traffic signs, signals, and road rules as specified under section 118 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act.
  • Procedures to follow in the event of an accident.
  • Precautions and essential documents to keep on hand while driving.


Obtaining a driver’s licence in Karnataka involves a systematic process that caters to both novice learners and experienced drivers seeking license renewal or updates. The procedure encompasses various stages, from acquiring a learner’s licence to successfully passing practical tests. For those transitioning from a gearless two-wheeler to a geared one, exemptions from certain tests can streamline the process.

The preliminary test assesses essential knowledge encompassing traffic rules, road signs, accident protocols, and road safety precautions. The application fee is determined by the class of vehicles and multiple classes require separate fees.

The Indian Driving Licence, valid nationwide, typically spans 20 years or until the age of 50, whichever comes first. By adhering to these guidelines, individuals can confidently navigate the pathway to obtaining their driving licence in Karnataka, ensuring their readiness to contribute responsibly to the road network.

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