NRIs when visiting their India often face hurdles when they decide to go out and explore on their own. Driving a Vehicle by a Foreigner or NRI without a Valid Indian Driving License is similar to driving with no license at all and is an offence punishable with Fine.
Short Time Visitors
India being a signatory of Geneva Convention on Road Traffic 1949 recognizes International Driving Permits of Signatories. In order to drive across India, any NRI from participating State who is visiting for a period less than a year must ensure that they Possess International Driving Permit issued by the country they holds Driving License of. Such International Driving Permits are issued as per. Countries signatory to it allows License Holders of Foreign Country to drive in when carrying an International Driving Permit along with their original Driving License.
Such Permits are valid for a period of 1 year from their issuance.
Licenses in India
Motor Vehicle Act makes it mandatory that only a driving license holder can drive in India and any guidelines pertaining to the procedure are issued by Regional Transport Offices as it is a State Subject and not a Union one. Such Licenses are issued for different class of Vehicles.
Some State’s or local RTO’s have introduced a way to make it easy for the NRI’s visiting India like Andhra Pradesh where NRI’s can get a Driving License without applying for Learner’s License in India or without appearing for Driving Test provided that they possess a Driving License issued by their Resident Country.
A local license issued by Regional Transport Office is a Process that takes at least One month in any State and is a two step process. It involves getting a Learners license having a Validity for a Period of 6 months and then to apply for a Permanent License after a minimum period of 1 month.
Thus, if planned stay is longer than a year and your plans are to move on your own, get a Driving License.
Depending on your duration of visit, it is advisable to plan about your License and get in touch with Local RTO’s regarding it.