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What is the eligibility criteria to get a Driving License in India according to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988?

9 min read

By Nirupam Deo

What is a Driving License?

A driving license is official permission given in hard copy as permitted by the government to testify that a person is eligible to drive a particular vehicle.

A person being handed over the driving license or driving license is assumed to be well trained and knowledgeable in the field of traffic rules of India. No person is allowed to drive vehicles of any kind (e.g., car, bus, truck, scooter) without a valid driving license being attested to them.

It is a formal document given by the government of India, approving a person to drive on Indian roads.

It also signifies the person needs no external help while driving and that they are eligible and proficient to trust the vehicles and the road to them, it signifies the trust of the government that the person will take care of his and others well-being on the road.

Significance of Driving License

With an estimate of over 296 million registered vehicles, India is a breathing caricature of breath-taking vehicle oriented infrastructure. It has huge highways connecting various top-notch cities through National and state highways.

With the accessibility of the road one can travel anywhere they want to travel without any restriction and having a vehicle comes as an asset.

There is always a connection between a man and his vehicle, it is the best friend anyone could ask for. With the new modelled vehicles with the advance in engine, speed and design, everyone wants to buy vehicles of their own and take them to the far reaches of the earth. No freedom can match travelling.

That being said, owing to these factors India is a country with some largest consumers of vehicles worldwide. Some adventures bring fortunes with them while the others only bring nightmares.

Accidents are a huge part to worry about in the transportation sector of India. With more than 1250 accidents and 400 deaths per day, it is also a hub for road accidents worldwide.

This is why rules are necessary to govern road transport and minimise the amount of death. About 3-5% of the GDP of India is used for the prevention and welfare of people who met with road accidents.

This is the reason why the Motor Vehicles Act,1988 was enacted with a view of keeping people’s safety as the topmost criterion for enacting the rules in it.

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 prescribes all the rules that govern road transportation in India. Most importantly it prescribes the eligibility of the driver and the vehicle, and the various rules are formulated keeping everyone’s welfare as the topmost priority while framing the rules.

Some vital essentials of the motor vehicles act are nobody is to be permitted to use a vehicle legally without a driving license in India, the driving license has to be renewed at certain intervals, the offenders will be punished with a fine.

Issuing of Driving License

In India, a driving license is issued by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) or the Regional Transport Office (RTO) of a particular state. A person who wants to get a driving license must get approval from either of them from their respective state authority.

A driving license has a passport size photo and a registration number attached to it, which gives the owner the identity and proof to be using it anywhere in India.

The driving license must contain the rubber stamp and the signature of an officer in charge mentioning the office from where it was issued.

A driver is ought to have a driving license at all times. If they are still learning they need to obtain a learners license and later upgrade it to the driving license

Procedure for obtaining a driving license in India

It is easy to obtain a driving license in India in both offline and online format. There are things that the user needs to remember which are discussed as follows:

How to apply for a driving license online?

For applying for a driving license online the user needs to follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • The user needs to visit the official Sarathi Website ( then he needs to click on ‘Sarathi Services,’ and select ‘New Driving license,’. Read the details and download the form.
  • The user needs to fill the form as per the instructions and submit it. Before submitting the form, he needs to note down the form application number.
  • After submission, they will receive an SMS that will show them the status of their driving license application.
  • The user will then Schedule their learner’s license test by clicking on ‘Appointment for LL test’ under the Online Transaction with Sarathi’ section.
  • The ‘Appointment for LL test’ will let them schedule the time and date of their test.

At the time of the test, they will have to carry the required documents i.e. the age proof and residence proof.

How to apply for a driving license offline in RTO?

The steps mentioned below will help us understand how a user can apply for a driving license offline.

  • The user needs to get the application form (Form 1 for Learner License and Form 4 for Permanent license) i.e. the form of a motor vehicle driving license in India. They can download the form online from the state transport website or can get it from the nearest RTO office.
  • They need to fill the form and submit it along with their age proof and address proof at the RTO office in their area. Then ask the RTO officials to schedule their driving licence test and pay the fees for the same.
  • They need to reach the driving licence test centre on the given date and time. On clearing the test, their driving license will be sent to their registered address.
  • If they are taking driving lessons from a driving school, then the school officials can help them procure their license.

Types of Driving License in India

S. No. Category of Use License Class Vehicle Type
1. Personal MC 50CC [Motorcycle 50CC] Motorcycles with engine capacity ranging 50CC or less
2. Any MCWOG/FVG Motorcycles with any engine capacity, no gears are to be allowed
3. Any LMV-NT Light motor vehicles, used for non-transport purposes
4. Any MC EX50CC Motorcycles with gear, capacity 50 CC or more, Light motor vehicles also take in a car
5. Any MC With gear or M/CYCL.WG All motorcycles take account into vehicles with a gear
6. Commercial Use MGV For medium goods vehicle
7. Any LMV Light motor vehicles (LMVs)including motorcars, jeeps, taxis, delivery vans
8. Any HMV Heavy motor vehicles like Truck, Bus, etc
9. Commercial HGMV Heavy goods motor vehicle
10. Commercial HPMV/HTV Heavy passenger motor vehicle/Heavy transport vehicle
11. Any Trailer The person holding a heavy vehicle driving licence can apply for a heavy trailer license

These are all the types of licenses that might be issued for the fulfillment of a particular purpose as illustrated above.

Eligibility Criterion for availing Driving License in India

As we have seen above there are various kinds of driving licenses in India about the type of vehicle the user is using. The eligibility criterion for obtaining each one of them is different.

Some common vehicle type and the eligibility criterion for obtaining their license are as follows:

Type 1 Criterion:

This applies to people who want to get a license for motorbikes with gears. To avail the driving license in this criterion the minimum qualifications for the person are that he must be 18 years old or older.

They must be well aware of the traffic rules of the country, and they must withhold their address proof and age proof at the time of scrutiny.

Type 2 Criterion:

This applies to people who want to obtain a license for motorcycles without gear and capacity equal to or less than 50CC. The minimum age of the subject must be 16 years, must have obtained the consent of their parents. They must be aware of all the traffic rules, should possess a valid address and age proof.

Type 3 Criterion:

This applies to drivers who want to drive heavy commercial vehicles like trucks and bus. The required minimum qualifications are they must have cleared 8th Standard, minimum age of 18 years. They must have been trained from a government training school or one affiliated with the State Government.

Necessary Documents for obtaining a Driving License in India:

There is a list of mandatory documents one needs to submit to apply for a Driving License they are as follows:

  • Address Proof,
  • Permanent address proof,
  • House agreement,
  • LIC policy bond,
  • Voters ID card,
  • Ration card,
  • Electricity bill issued in applicant name,
  • Aadhar Card,
  • Passport,
  • Temporary address proof (Registered Rental agreement and LPG bill/electricity bill),
  • Age Proof,
  • Birth certificate,
  • Pan card,
  • Passport,
  • SSC certificate,
  • School transfer certificate with date of birth printed on it,
  • Other document requirements for getting a driving licence,
  • 3 passport size photographs while applying for a learner’s license,
  • 3 passport size photographs while applying for a permanent driving licence,
  • Application fees,
  • Duly filled application form,
  • For applicants above 40 years, a medical certificate is mandatory.

New Provision of Motor Vehicles Act

New provisions have been inserted in Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019. According to it, 63 new clauses have been inserted which deal with licenses, penalties, National transport policy and registration.

These are made with the mind of keeping given changing needs of society.

People found Driving Without Helmet

A fine of Rs. 1000 is to be levied from anyone found driving without a valid license. Helmets are necessary for the safety of the driver and the government wants them to keep that in mind all the time.

People found Drunk Driving

A fine of Rs. 10,000 and an imprisonment term of 2 years is to be sanctioned on anyone found drunk driving for the first time and a fine of Rs. 15,000 if they are found doing it the second time. Drunk driving is not only dangerous for the driver, but everyone’s lives are threatened due to it.

No License

Any person found driving without a valid license is to be charged anywhere from Rs. 1000 to 5000. If a person is found driving despite his disqualification, then the fine can be increased up to Rs. 10,000.

Banning Minors from driving

If minors are found driving, then their guardians would be made liable for it. The guardian will be imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 and 3 years of imprisonment. The minor doing the act shall be punished under Juvenile Justice Act. This rule will ensure the safety of both the juvenile and the society.

Minors do not have the temperament to bear on responsibilities while driving it is mostly a thrill of speed and proving the world that they have grown up in. Giving them a vehicle in hand is surely a recipe for disaster.

Expiration of Driving License

On the expiration of the driving license, the user is supposed to get it renewed. The timeline for renewal of a driving license is 1 year before expiration or 1 year after the expiration of the driving license. If the user is unable to comply, they have to make a new driving license and give the test again.


Bringing Motor Vehicles Act was a necessity for a country with such extensive road networks. Almost everyone has a vehicle nowadays and therefore this rule was made with a mind to ensure safety for one and all while driving on the road.

Necessary amendments are always made keeping in view the changing needs of the time. The act has surely reduced a lot of accidents and deaths, which under the absence of action would have been blindly lost.

The Act of making the availing process a hard and imposing methods to lose them easily will create the necessary fear in the minds of drivers and future drivers giving them a clear message that the license does not give them permission to be rash with their vehicle.

Their own safety and the safety of everyone around them will be the paramount condition to let them drive on the road.