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john.sw May 28th, 2005 00:33

Indian Driving Test & Driving License
 
Has any expat taken a driving test in India?

I want to take a test on my next trip so I don't have to keep renewing my International Driving Permit.

I drive a car and a motorbike - do I need two different tests?

What does the test involve, and what does a foreigner have to do to be granted an Indian driving license?

All the best,

John

crvlvr May 28th, 2005 01:14

Stick to your international permit would be my advise. You can always use the "I am just a tourist" excuse if you get busted for a traffic violation.

cyberhippie May 28th, 2005 01:18

Well a foriegner would first have to have some status in India! Doing things like a driving test without residential status would be nigh on impossible!
A tourist visa (I'm assuming your on one of these) won't do!

shere May 28th, 2005 02:32

Wow they actually have a test for road users in India. Judging by what I have seen no one has yet passed this test or the standards are very low.

Most people I know just took a few passport sized pictures and paid to have a license made. Of cause their driving skills are useless :D .

On my last trip in March/April I noticed how they like to park round blind bends/corners. When I told them to park further up they said "this is what we do in India" to which I replied if someone hits the back of your car from behind then do not mind as "this is what we do in India".

The roundabout system is a complete farce with traffic giving way to those coming from the left. My cousin was in the UK last year and loved the UK approach at roundabouts. Lane discipline is also a major no no. Just get the biggest vehicle you can find and just drive anywhere.

From pictures on television I have seen the approach to driving in Shanghai etc is more disciplined. With Mumbai wanting to be the new Shanghai I hope they change their driving rules.

Nick-H May 28th, 2005 03:43

I can't help noticing that many drivers here are useless.

I don't just mean in the Indian Roads Chaos way; actually they are mostly brilliant at that! They are very bad at basic driving.

Just watch someone turning a car in a narrow street, or reversing into a gap...

sthakur May 28th, 2005 04:15

Hi,

Last time I was in Mumbai, I got a drivers licence both two and four wheeler, I think the office is located in Tardo.

The process is quite simple, you need to show that you live in India with a Indian address and proof of that, but that can be arranged with the guys in front of the Licence office, actually I didn't even take any test to get my licence. First you will get a learners permit, then after 3 months the full licence.

Sam Thakur

cathode May 28th, 2005 13:39

the driving test and licence is a joke find a tout who will get it done..

miloshz May 29th, 2005 08:58

is it possible to get indian driving license based on license from some other country?

jeff_hill8 May 29th, 2005 14:47

Crazy Drivers
 
I think you need a go-kart license, not a car license. One of my work colleagues passed his motorcycle license, went to the 'office' to get it processed, paid another Rs200 and got a car one also.. no wonder they are all shite drivers.

Nick-H May 29th, 2005 14:54

A friend showed me his driving licence the other day. He has never driven a car: he said he doesn't know how! :eek:

kiranlal May 29th, 2005 17:12

you need to have resident permit to appaly for the test and first you ahve to pass an examand then you will get one learnes liscence for one month and then you have to go for the driving practical test
:)

cathode May 29th, 2005 18:13

as i said find a tout at the licencing authority.. and he will get it done..

coleville Aug 24th, 2007 10:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by john.sw (Post 103045)
Has any expat taken a driving test in India?

I want to take a test on my next trip so I don't have to keep renewing my International Driving Permit.

I drive a car and a motorbike - do I need two different tests?

What does the test involve, and what does a foreigner have to do to be granted an Indian driving license?

All the best,

John

I am going through this process now. If you are a foreign citizen, according to the RTO, you cannot get a permanent license. You will need an international license. Otherwise, you will need proof of your legal stay in India (passport or OCI card, ration card, voter card), proof of age and proof of residence (utility bill, ration card or life insurance policy -- and i do mean the actual policy not some premium receipt or abstract). Hope this helps.

coleville Aug 24th, 2007 10:12

Indian driver's license
 
According to the American consulate:

The International Driver's License (IDL) is recognized in India. However, it is almost impossible to rent a car without a driver, and it is not necessarily cheaper than renting a car with driver. It is also safer to rent a car with a professional driver. The Consulate recommends that tourists have cars with drivers rather than drive themselves. Car rental, inclusive of driver, is inexpensive by U.S. standards.

Those who plan to reside in India for an extended period of time and who hold a valid driver's license (not an IDL) issued by a competent authority of any country outside India are eligible to apply for a local license to drive a car or motorcycle. The written part of the exam is obligatory but the actual driving part of the test will (sometimes) not be required for the issuance of an Indian driver's license.

If the IDL expires, a local driving license can be obtained by submitting the expired license and a letter of introduction from the Consulate.

goangoangone Aug 24th, 2007 11:08

The test is a joke:laugh: and from what I've seen in nearly 3 years, the so called drivers are some of the worst.[shock] Drive yourself!;) I've passed the car and bike test. Total farce. Mind you, you wouldn't tell anyone if you failed.:whistling

:Beer :Beer :Beer

edwardseco Aug 24th, 2007 11:39

Quote:

The process is quite simple, you need to show that you live in India with a Indian address and proof of that, but that can be arranged with the guys in front of the Licence office, actually I didn't even take any test to get my licence. First you will get a learners permit, then after 3 months the full licence.
Yep, I had an address and as Cathode says pretty smooth..

Nick-H Aug 24th, 2007 12:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by coleville (Post 373858)
I am going through this process now. If you are a foreign citizen, according to the RTO, you cannot get a permanent license. You will need an international license. Otherwise, you will need proof of your legal stay in India (passport or OCI card, ration card, voter card), proof of age and proof of residence (utility bill, ration card or life insurance policy -- and i do mean the actual policy not some premium receipt or abstract). Hope this helps.

Typical RTO to tell about stuff a foreigner would or could never get! ie Ration card, voters card!

Proof of legal stay: Residents' Permit. this is the most vital thing: it proves you have the residency qualification for the licence. Passport and visa.

Proof of address: Telephone or utility bill, lease.

I don't think I had to give proof of address.

A driving school will sort out the whole thing for you for a small fee. They will even give you lessons to get you over the initial nervousness of driving on Indian roads --- I needed that!

They will make sure you pass your test. Sitting in the car for the test may or may not happen ;).

I never took any written test, and drove for about three minutes. My driving school guy looked after all his candidates at the RTO, guiding us through form filling and which table, window or office to visit next.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Consular Web Site
It is also safer to rent a car with a professional driver.

For a stranger, yes, I think this is true.

If you are resident here, I think you will find driving yourself to be much more relaxing. Most pro drivers really push it aggressively, and you will have many close-eyes-and-pray moments. When you drive your own car you can set your own pace.

But... If I was working here, with a commute of anything over half an hour, I'd want a driver. Otherwise I'd feel I'd done a day's work before even getting there!

brownboy66 Aug 25th, 2007 17:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 373905)
Typical RTO to tell about stuff a foreigner would or could never get! ie Ration card, voters card!

Proof of legal stay: Residents' Permit. this is the most vital thing: it proves you have the residency qualification for the licence. Passport and visa.

Proof of address: Telephone or utility bill, lease.

yep...this is the same for us, plus one extra requirement. We have to have a medical[shock]- and no, we aren't retired qrandparents. Presumably to prove that we are either a)fit enough not to die at the wheel of the car through shock at the chaos on the roads (and if we did kick the bucket while the car was moving - who could tell the difference), or b) prove we are slightly unhinged enough to want to drive ourselves in the first place. Oh - and we don't have to take a driving test. Simply provide the proof of residency, the med certificate, a copy of our existing license from home - and they will give us one.

Completely agree with nick re the comment about when to have a driver and when not. For short hops - I want to drive myself, but for anything longer a driver is great. I been driving here for the past few weeks ever since we got our car (just to get use to it before getting my license) - and I have to say the traffic is ok. The chaos seems to effect everyone equally so you all go at the same pace. Its when you have different speeds together on the same road that you get problems (i.e the cow being overtaken by the rickshaw, being passed by a bus, with a camry or carolla zooming past). You know its going to end in tears...

Nick-H Aug 25th, 2007 19:01

Indian driving test:

You are shown an object. If you recognise it as a car, you pass.

If you fail to recognise it, you are told it is a car and then passed.

You are shown another object, which you fail to recognise. It is a pedestrian. You are told that question didn't matter anyway, and pass.

Bike test?

You are asked how many wheels does a bike have? If you answer correctly you may, if the examiner is in a bad mood, fail for being too inteligent to ride a bike.

You are asked what is the maximum number of persons a bike may legally carry. You shrug you shoulders... Correct! There is no maximum: you pass.

Yogesh Sarkar Aug 25th, 2007 19:28

Or you can pay few hundred bucks and skip the test!

vishal datta Aug 25th, 2007 19:44

Legally, it is quite a cumbersome process for a foregin national to get an Indian driving license. You need to be a resident of India for at least 05years before you get a license as per the new laws of the Transport Authority of India.

Illegally, if you are coming to India for a vaction for few months, you can get hold of any tout sitting outside the licensing authority office, tell him your requirements, pay him a certain amount and he shall do the needful for you.You can sit and have coffee whereas he clears the exams, interviews and documents for you.

Theres nothing impossible in India. All depends on how much you can pay. Even if you get caught on the road after obtaining a driving license, just pay Rupees 50/-only(not more than this)to the cop and he not even will let you loose but would also guide you to avoid the routes where you can get caught.

Happy Driving.

Cheers

Vish

brownboy66 Aug 25th, 2007 20:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 374301)
Indian driving test:

You are shown an object. If you recognise it as a car, you pass.

If you fail to recognise it, you are told it is a car and then passed.

You are shown another object, which you fail to recognise. It is a pedestrian. You are told that question didn't matter anyway, and pass.

Bike test?

You are asked how many wheels does a bike have? If you answer correctly you may, if the examiner is in a bad mood, fail for being too inteligent to ride a bike.

You are asked what is the maximum number of persons a bike may legally carry. You shrug you shoulders... Correct! There is no maximum: you pass.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

invidious Aug 25th, 2007 20:51

I got my learner's permit at the age of 16 paying Rs. 800 to get it, while the legal age is 18. I did give the driving test - which involved driving a block. However, after the recent crash in Bandra where the drunken kid ran over 3-4 people and they found he has a bribed license issued when he was underage - they've become fairly strict.

JamesW Aug 25th, 2007 21:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by miloshz (Post 103451)
is it possible to get indian driving license based on license from some other country?

Yes, as long as you are resident in India. I got mine on the basis of holding a UK licence. I had only been resident for about nine months, and didn't have to do any test written or practical. As a bonus, my Indian licence allowed me to drive motorbikes even though I had not passed a bike test back in the UK.

Nick-H Aug 26th, 2007 02:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by vishal datta (Post 374310)
Legally, it is quite a cumbersome process for a foregin national to get an Indian driving license. You need to be a resident of India for at least 05years before you get a license as per the new laws of the Transport Authority of India.

How new is this?

I passed my Indian driving licence in Nov 2006, and was given a licence valid until April 2007, when my Resident's Permit expired. At that point I renewed the licence and was given a standard five-year licence, as I then had a five year RP.

I also have a car registered in my name.

GauhatiBoy Aug 26th, 2007 02:09

From my memory you need not be concerned so much with legalitities as with

1) does the horn work

2) if you have not driven in India before, you are in for a real experience. If you know what you're in for then ok

3) unwritten law: larger vehicles may push smaller vehicles off the road if they (smaller vehicles) do not yield the whole road

JamesW Aug 26th, 2007 03:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 374472)
At that point I renewed the licence and was given a standard five-year licence


What standard is that? My Indian licence is valid until my 50th birthday in 2023! Still not as generous as the UK though - they'll let me keep on driving for another 20 years without further checks.

Nick-H Aug 26th, 2007 03:55

Standard for foreigners? I don't know!

I'm obviously wrong on this one. Have to admit I'd expect the RTO to be a vastly busier place than it is if everyone had to renew every five years [whoa]

Just thought.... standard for people over the age of fifty? I am.

vireya Aug 26th, 2007 07:36

When in India last year I was amused to read in a newspaper one of those articles which are probably published everywhere, where the journalist talks about wacky foreign habits. This article was about how in some countries in the world, people have to actually prove they can drive to get a drivers' licence! Wow, what an idea! After decribing the tests various countries impose on their citizens, the journalist ended the article with some comments about how such tests should perhaps be considered in India.

After reading this article, I understood a bit more of what I had been experiencing on the road in India.

Nick-H Aug 26th, 2007 11:17

I saw people passing their bike tests who could barely balance on the thing [cry]. They had to drive about fifty yards in a straight line, stop and come back again.

Yes. It explains a lot about what happens on the roads.

Consider that the test for truck and bus drivers is probably not much better (going by how they drive) and we move from surreal senselessness to tragedy-in-the-making --- they kill a lot of people [cry].

GauhatiBoy Aug 26th, 2007 11:29

Near Mussoorie the Tehri bus went over a cliff at least once--talk about tragedy. Back then rescue operations were almost non-existent

JamesW Aug 26th, 2007 13:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick-H (Post 374535)
Just thought.... standard for people over the age of fifty? I am.

That's likely the reason. If it is, it's a rare case of Indian driving rules being more sensible than the UK's. I think some kind of check that people are still capable of driving is a good idea. I know 50 isn't old, but you get the feeling that some of the older motorists in the UK can barely see beyond the end of their noses.

Nick-H Aug 26th, 2007 14:24

Whereas the younger ones can't think beyond the end of theirs! :renske:

Dilliwala Aug 27th, 2007 08:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by JamesW (Post 374678)
That's likely the reason. If it is, it's a rare case of Indian driving rules being more sensible than the UK's. I think some kind of check that people are still capable of driving is a good idea. I know 50 isn't old, but you get the feeling that some of the older motorists in the UK can barely see beyond the end of their noses.

Your first licence is valid for 5 years (so long as u don't cross 40), your next till u're 40, your next till u're 49 and 364 days (365 for leap years!), and thereafter perhaps every 5 years. I'm guessing your res permit is valid beyond your 40th birthday? Otherwise what Nick says is usually the norm - validity concurrent with res permit for foreigners.

goangoangone Aug 27th, 2007 10:46

:confused: I had a 1 year X visa and have a 5 year driving licence. I do not have Resident's status now.

:Beer :Beer :Beer

Nick-H Aug 27th, 2007 14:43

They make mistakes... my current driving licence is also valid beyond my RP. But in principle....

Aishah Oct 7th, 2007 20:38

When I first came here I used International Driving licences but they were expensive and had to be renewed annually. One RTO officer, high-up was staying in the same hotel where I was living, he checked my IDL and then put the word around I had a licence. Now I have a 10 yr licence from Oz - this I use but no one has ever asked me for it. After reading this post (Mr K is always saying you don't need an Indian licence you've got your Oz one) i am thinking it is not so difficult to get and should do so. Is the Australian 10 yr licence as valid as an IDL? I am starting to get a bit worried about this...

anjuna mark Oct 7th, 2007 21:21

I got my Indian license in 1977 and my US one in 1979. The written test in the US was fairly comprehensive, but the practical test was about the same as the Indian one; ride around a figure 8.
I got my Indian car license later, in the early 80’s.
I needed to have been in the state for more than 180 days. Lots of things have changed, and changed back since then. But remember that the Indian license is issued by the state authority [RTO], and although every state has accepted the same set of rules drawn up by the central government, there will be different interpretations and procedures in each state.
It was very important that the car had working horn, directional signals, brakes, etc; and that it was freshly washed. They made me reschedule the road test once because the car was not “serviced”.
In India, this does not mean that it has been checked technically, but that it is washed and polished. It’s a respect thing.
The test itself was similar to the US one; a short drive with the inspector in the passenger’s seat. I took both my US and Indian tests in big Chevrolets.
Also worth mentioning here for newbies, when attempting any official work; wear shoes, long trousers, and a clean shirt. Indian officials feel insulted if you show up looking unkempt. This is a cultural thing, again, about respect.
Yes, first there was a 3 month learners permit phase; like the US, solo on bike, with licensed driver in car. License was [as I recall] 5 years, thereafter 10 year renewal.
I was never asked for proof of residency for renewal; of course, this is done by the state RTO, and they have discretion. I paid a tout back in ’77 as I was under age, but I’ve never paid anything for renewals. I generally don’t pay the cops on the road either; I have all my papers. They hand them back to me sadly and wave me on. Another churist will be along soon anyway.
You also have to have insurance document, pollution control [depends on the state], and registration book with you.

Nick-H Oct 8th, 2007 01:48

If you go through a driving school, they will handle everything for you. They'll even teach you Indian driving, though I guess that Aishah is very well familiar with it by now!

No, I do not think your foreign licence is valid without an IDP... but it may reduce even further the demands made of you when you go for a test.

If you are visiting, bring an IDP; if you are resident here, get an Indian licence. Keeps you legal, and you should have no trouble renewing it once you get the first one, as long as you can show a valid visa and RP/RC.

I now have an Indian International Driver's Permit to use when driving outside India!

Aishah Oct 8th, 2007 09:36

Thanks guys! Have got what I need to know - will now go and get the Indian one. Interested in your International Driver's Permit, Nick - is this a separate procedure?
BTW - Yes, as Nick says, well familiar with Indian driving! Have been driving for more than 7 years here, Jaisalmer is easy, Jodhpur more like big city driving but for me, perfectly doable. It is being used to Indian driving! Haven't driven in Delhi though, but could do so. New Delhi is more organized than Jodhpur.


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