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How to Apply for an International Driving Licence in India?

Going on a trip abroad means a lot of fun, sightseeing and travel. While some people may stick to buses, cabs or public transport, others like to take it one step further by driving around the country on their own. An international driving permit may be required if you wish to drive in another country.

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What is an International Driving Permit?

IDP, or international driving license, is an essential document for overseas driving. It is required by many countries where foreign tourists or visitors wish to drive. While several countries let you drive with an Indian driving license, some countries strictly need Indian tourists to have a translated document proving your eligibility to drive.

Issued by the road transport authority of India, an international driving permit or license is a legal document that lets Indians drive abroad. This international driving permit can let you drive a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler in countries that do not accept the Indian driving license.

This international driving license also is an official translation of your Indian driving license into the official language (or as per the requirement) of the country you're travelling to.

When is an International Driving License Required?

International driving License

Everything about travelling abroad is an experience of a lifetime- different people, new foods, a new language and of course, a lot of new places for you to explore! Who wouldn't want to jump at that opportunity, especially when you get a chance to drive those smooth, endless roads in a foreign car?

Now, we know you are a spectacular driver with excellent road sense, but who will tell the foreign authorities? While you can easily drive on your Indian driving license in around 21 countries, what about the remaining ones? This is where an international permit for driving becomes essential.

You can't drive in many countries without first applying for and getting a valid international driving permit from India. In fact, you may only get a car rental with it. You will most likely end up hiring a cab driver or going for public transport if you fail to get a valid driving license for overseas driving.

How Can I Get an International Driving License Online in India?

All Indian driving license holders who wish to drive abroad can apply for an IDP in India. An international driving permit is provided by all local RTOs in India. You can also fill out the online application for an international driving permit and appear for the test later.

Those opting for the offline route can head to the nearby RTOs. These RTOs issue the recognised IDP as per the 1949 Geneva Convention for the International Driving Permit. All you need is to visit the official website of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and apply for an online international driving license:

  • Get the Required Forms

    You need to fill out two forms while applying for an international driving permit in India:

    • Form 4A proving your driving ability/competence
    • Form 1A proving that you are medically fit to drive vehicles
  • Provide Required Documents for IDP

    You will need to provide details of the residential proof, your driving licence and identity proof. These include:

    • Completed form 4A and form 1A
    • Current driving licence issued by your state
    • Proof of identity
    • Proof of address
    • 2 passport-sized photos
    • Proof of Indian citizenship

    You can then submit these along with the forms. You can easily find the application form at the authorised RTO (Regional Transport Office) or download it online.

  • Pay the Fees for IDP

    After submitting the necessary forms and supporting documents, pay Rs. 1,000 fees.

  • Take a Driving Test

    You will need to appear for a driving test and clear it. Once you have finished these steps, you will receive your international driving license in four to five business days. You will get a translated license per your destination country’s language requirement. This IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for Getting IDP in India?

Getting an international driving license in India is easy; however, there are some key eligibility factors you must meet first:

  • Only those aged 18 years and over can apply for an IDP in India.
  • You should also have a valid Indian driver’s license before you apply for an international driver’s permit.
  • You should have a valid Indian passport.
  • You should have obtained a visa for the country you are applying for the IDP.

Benefits of an International Driving Permit/License

You may know by now that you can’t drive in several countries without a valid IDP. However, let us look at some other lesser-known benefits of having an international driving license:

  • Works as an identity proof
  • Your IDP is valid in about 150 countries that recognise the international driving permit.
  • No need to appear for any other driving test abroad
  • You can easily rent and drive cars abroad without any stress
  • In case you’re in a car accident abroad, your permit will be helpful during the insurance claim process
  • You can freely move around without limiting yourself to other’s timetables or routes

Overall, having an IDP will result in smoother car rentals and make it easier for you to travel abroad. Make sure you also buy a valid travel insurance policy before leaving for your international road trips, and it will keep you safe from any unexpected issues or expenses.

What Happens if Your IDP Expires?

Once you have been issued an International driving license, it is valid for one year from the issued date. If you are living in another country for a longer time, then you may need a valid IDP. If your license has expired, you can get it renewed through the official website of the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.

All you need to do is the following:

  • Download the miscellaneous application from the applicable Indian Embassy you are applying from.
  • Fill out the form and prepare the supporting documents. These include your residence proof, passport-size photos, valid Indian passport, Indian driving license, and the original international driving license that was issued before.
  • Pay the required fee for international driving license renewal. As of now, this is Rs. 2000. Submit all your documents to the nearby Indian Embassy.

In case of any issues with the renewal or re-issue, you can reach out to the MoRTH.

In a Nutshell

While an international driving permit isn’t a mandatory requirement for many places, it is still a very useful legal document that can come in handy, especially when you are a spontaneous traveller! Another important document you shouldn’t underestimate is your international travel insurance policy. It is the only document that can guarantee your safety when you go on an adventure abroad, so make sure you make it an essential part of your overseas travel!

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*Price shown is for a 30 day trip to Thailand with 1 lakh dollar coverage for an adult of age 25 years

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