Types of Driving Licence in India

A driving licence is a very important document that all vehicle owners need to have in order to be legally eligible for driving a vehicle. A driving licence serves as proof that an individual is capable of driving certain types of vehicles. However, simply possessing a DL is not sufficient. One must be sure of their  driving licence status i.e it should be appropriate for the vehicle one is driving and should not have expired. Driving without a licence or with an expired license can result in you getting caught by the traffic police and fined a hefty amount. You may even end up being in jail. Moreover, a driving licence serves as your proof of identity which is useful when availing governmental or other services. In this article, we’ll take a look at the various types of driving licences available in India and what each type of licence means.

Different Types of Driving Licence


1. Learner’s Licence: A learner’s licence is a type of temporary licence that is assigned to first-time drivers before they get their permanent licence. A learner’s licence is valid for a period of 6 months and this time is meant for the drivers to get familiar with their vehicle and practice driving it carefully. It is usually advised that people who are still learning their vehicle with a learner’s licence should ideally be accompanied by an adult who has their own licence for reduced chances of mishaps.

2. Permanent Licence: A permanent licence is only issued to people older than 18 years who pass the necessary driving test. An individual can apply for a permanent licence post their learner’s licence expires after 6 months. Recently, the process to apply for a permanent licence has been made so online, so people can book the driving test online from the comfort of their homes and visit the RTO for their driving test on the allotted date. Once the applicant passes their driving test, a physical driving licence is issued to their registered address. Once a permanent licence is issued, it is valid for a period of up to 20 years after which renewal of driving license is necessary. Note that different licences are issued for two-wheelers and four-wheelers.

3. Commercial Driving Licence: Vehicles used for commercial purposes are very different from passenger vehicles. People who drive commercial vehicles need special training in order to be able to drive those vehicles. So, these heavy commercial load-bearing vehicles need a special commercial licence to be driven. The main requirement for being a commercial driver is to have passed 8th grade in school and to be of at least 18 years of age (20 years in certain states).

4. International Driving Licence: An international driving licence is exactly what the name describes. It allows the international driving licence holder to be able to drive legally in a foreign country. A separate application has to be made at the RTO in order to get an international driving licence. It should be noted that an international driving licence can only be issued to individuals who already possess a permanent driving licence. An international driving licence is only valid for one year and must be renewed again if required.

Driving Licence Categories

Driving licences are further divided into different categories, where these categories define the type of vehicle that can be driven under a specific licence. A single licence can have more than one category. For instance, an individual who has a permanent licence to drive a geared motorbike of more than 50cc can automatically drive low powered two-wheelers under 50 cc. Check out the table below for more detailed information.

Category of Driving Licence Type of Vehicle Eligible
MC 50cc For vehicles with an engine capacity of 50cc or less.
LMV-NT For vehicles such as passenger cars.
FVG Vehicles without gears fall in this category.
MC EX 50cc Vehicles with an engine capacity of more than 50cc.
MCWG Two-wheelers such as motorcycles or scooters both with or without gear fall in this category.
HGMV Large vehicles like trailers, trucks or lorries, etc fall under this category.
HPMV Large transport or other speciality vehicles used for commercial purposes fall under this category.

It should be a point to remember that driving without a licence must be absolutely avoided. It is illegal and puts other people at risk of physical harm. Whenever you are driving, you should always keep all your licence and vehicle-related documents with you. In case you have applied for a licence, you can check your driving licence status by visiting the RTO or checking online through the registration number RTO has assigned to you.