International Driving Permit - India.

So, you’ve worked hard(?) for a while and feels like winding down and relaxing for some time. Maybe you’ve finished exploring all the beautiful places in India and wanna head out across the borders. Wanna feel the wind on your face (not hair, wear a helmet!) or try out the exhilarating thrill of finally driving a Tesla that never comes to India? You’ll need an International driving permit to do all that “legally”.

Why IDP?

The following is from Bali Car Finder ’s FAQ.

Why IDP

So you don’t “really” need an IDP to get a car in Bali. Just pay the cops a small fine(bribe?) and move on. Sweet, Isn’t it? Not really.

There are multiple reasons why an IDP is a very good idea.

  • You’re traveling to country with stricter laws, like US/UK/UAE/Australia etc.
  • You don’t want to be at the mercy of the cop in a country with lax laws.
  • You don’t wanna bribe cops.
  • You want to be on the good side of your insurance company in case you get into an accident. Even if someone rear ends you when you’re stopped at a light, it’ll be a headache.
  • It’s pretty easy and cheap to get and is valid for a year in any country that recognizes it.

Some countries do allow you to drive legally with an Indian Driving License, sometimes with time restrictions. In that case you might not need an IDP.

Check requirement here , but apply via the process mentioned below.

How to get one?

The process to get one is really simple once you know the little details. If you have the documents in hand, compressed to the right sizes, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes and around ₹1500.

  • Go to Sarthi - Parivahan
  • Select your State
  • Apply for International Driving Permit (IDP)
  • Enter license details. Format: <State Code><RTO Code><Year of issue>000<License Number>. Eg: KA6920120001234
  • ! Select your “RTO” office, NOT your joint RTO who might’ve issued your license.
  • In select services, choose International driving license. If you don’t see that option, you should change your RTO in the previous step.
  • ! Prepare passport and Visa (Important!)
    • There is a Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Notification stating Visa is not required for obtaining International Driving Permit. But many RTO’s still reject your application if you don’t put your visa within the passport file.
    • So, if you have a Visa, just put it in the PDF along with your passport and upload. Lesser headache.
    • If you’re going to a country with Visa on arrival, or haven’t gotten the visa yet, use this template to upload. The IDP doesn’t mention country of visit, don’t worry.
  • Upload Passport + Visa document, License photo (Both < 300Kb)
  • Upload Signature photo, Passport size photo (Both < 50Kb)
  • Pay the fees
  • Cross your fingers and wait for the approval SMS.

Validity

IDP is valid for 1 Year, in all countries that recognize an Indian IDP. You can check the list here . You can apply for renewal through the Indian Embassies/Missions abroad (Although I have no experience with it.)

Is it all you need?

IDP is useful if you’re planning to visit for a short duration. If you’re moving to a country for education/work, try to get a local license as soon as possible. There will be a lot of local driving laws you’ll need to study and the tests won’t be as easy as the ones in India, but it will be worth it.

Even for short trips, browse through any local laws you’ll need to know. You’ll have enough time on the plane :).

PS: Even if you have an IDP, some cops might still stop you for a bribe. It’s better not to argue with them. #DriveSafe