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Categories of Driving License

Driving makes travel easy and comfortable. However, when you drive your car, you must always do it according to the rule of law. It is mandatory to have a license when you drive. Moreover, the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 categorically states this and you must have a driving license based on the vehicle in question. There are different types of driving licenses in India like a two-wheeler license, a car license, and more. Driving without a valid license can attract huge fines from authorities and can lead to prosecution if offenses are committed. Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility and you need to have your documents in order while you drive on Indian roads.

What Is The Driving License?

A driving license is an official document that the government of India issues. It allows an individual to drive a vehicle on Indian roads. This document certifies that a person is eligible to drive or ride motorized vehicles such as a car, truck, bike, bus, etc without any supervision. A driving license specifies that you have undergone the required training and tests and are aware of all the traffic rules and regulations. A driving license is issued by the regional transport authority (RTA) or the regional transport office (RTO) of the state you reside in India. A driving license consists of a registration number and a passport size photo that shows you the identity of the vehicle owner. It must have the signature of the officer in charge along with the mention of the office it was issued from. If you are learning to drive, then you should first get a learner’s license and then you can get a driving license.

What Are The Types of Driving Licenses In India?

There are 4 types of driver’s licenses in India, and any citizen who is an adult can apply for any of these. But, the person must pass a driving exam before they are issued one.

1. Learner’s License

You should obtain a learner’s license before you get an official license to drive in India. This initial license is issued to learners who are currently training to drive a vehicle. The validity of the learner’s license is for a period of six months, but it can be renewed anytime after thirty days of its issuance. You are permitted to apply for a regular driving license after this period. Therefore, while you are learning how to drive any given vehicle, a learner’s license is a required document and acts as a prerequisite for a formal permanent license. A learner’s license, however, has certain stipulations attached and these are:

1. The holder of a permanent license should have trained you in driving or riding the vehicle.

2. The vehicle that you are learning to drive should have an ‘L’ displayed in red.

3. This sign should be seeable to other drivers on the road.

4. You must not just be trained in the physical operation of the vehicle, but also know traffic rules and regulations thoroughly.

5. The individual who holds a learning license must undergo coaching from vehicle training institutes that are government recognised.

6. Only trainers are allowed to ride pillion with the learner with regard to two Wheelers.

7. The driving license category for learning should be in accordance with the vehicle that is being used to learn.

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2. Permanent License for a Private Vehicle

Individuals above the age of 18 who possess a learning license and who have passed their test of driving can get a permanent driving license. When you have a learner’s license and have completed your training, you have to apply to the RTO for a permanent license. You will get a date to do your driving test and if you are successful, your permanent license will be issued.

3. Permanent License (Commercial Vehicle)

The permanent license is given to individuals who drive vehicles for a commercial purpose, either to reduce the transportation of people or goods. Drivers of commercial vehicles applying for licenses should have passed the 8th standard in school. The government has established a separate class of rules on the issuance of commercial vehicle licenses. Regulations are strict and drivers of such vehicles who want licenses must mandatorily complete an operational heavy vehicle training course from a training school that is recognized by the government. The government has made it compulsory that drivers should apply for licenses of heavy motor vehicles. Adhering to safety on the road should be the main aim of having regulations in place. Drivers who apply for licenses of heavy motor vehicles (commercial transport vehicles) must have specialized knowledge in the way heavy motor transport works.

Driving License Categories and Class of Vehicles in India

License Class
Vehicle Type
MC 50ccVehicles which have an engine capacity of 50cc or less than that.
FVGVehicles without gears like scooters and mopeds fall under this category.
MC EX50CCVehicles such as motorcycles with gears whose engine capacity is 50cc or exceeds 50cc
LMV-NTVehicles such as jeeps and motor cars come under the category of light motor vehicles. But these belong to the non-transport class.
MCWGVehicles such as motorcycles both with and without gear fall under this category
HPMVVehicles that run for commercial purposes and have an All India Permit to carry passengers
HGMV Vehicles such as trailers, larger trucks, and other similar vehicles used for transport of goods come under the category of HGMV

What Are The Cons of Not Having A Driving License?

The cons of not having a driving license are as follows:

  • Driving without a driving license can attract a fine of Rs. 5000 depending on the vehicle and the state you are in.
  • It is mandatory to display your license as valid proof of identity or age
  • If you drive without a license, you may even face a brief period of imprisonment
  • Your car may be seized if you are caught without a valid license
  • Insurance coverage may not be there if you are driving without a valid driving license, and you will have to pay from your pockets for damages to a third party.


According to the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988, you should have a driving license and also a valid vehicle insurance policy and a driving license. Driving licenses exist for all types of vehicles, and you should make sure to get one.

Additional read:

FAQs of Categories of Driving License

1. What are the different categories of license?

The following are the types of licenses available by the RTO:

  • Learner’s license: The road transport authority will issue a learner’s license before you get a permanent license.
  • Permanent license
  • Commercial driving license
  • International driving permit.

2. How long will the driving license be valid for?

Although the photocard requires to be renewed every 10 years, driving licenses are generally valid only until you are 70. After 70 years, you are required to renew your driving license every 3 years.

3. Is a driving license required to buy a car in India?

The driving license is not a mandatory document to buy a car. You can buy a vehicle without a driving license.

4. For how many months is my learner's driving license valid?

Your learner’s license is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. If you want to renew your learner’s license in Tamil Nadu, you have to follow the procedure as mentioned below.

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