Before trying out your driving skills in an Indian context, it is first recommended to take a least a couple of driving lessons. Be sure to ask for an instructor that knows some English.Driving Schools:
- Car Driving School – Vijayanagar (Phone: 9243011918, 9886029267)
- Zen Driving School – Wilson Garden (Phone: 080 – 25522786)
- Santro Motor Driving School – Koramangala (Phone: 080 – 31821777)
- NAS Motor Driving School – Bannerghatta Road (Phone: 080 – 66507882)
Once you are feeling brave and ready to take to the Bangalore streets, all you require is a valid license, from anywhere. Your existing license is adequate, if in English (or with English translation), though an International Driving License is generally recommended. You can apply online, and have it shipped to your home country address (so if you’re already in Bangalore, you will have to have it shipped to an address in your home country and then have it posted to you in India by a local personal contact).
If you will be in India for more than six months, you are eligible to apply for a local driving license from the Karnataka Transport Department. If you have a valid foreign license already (or it has recently expired), you can immediately apply for a local Driver’s License, sometimes without any testing. A driving test is rarely needed, though the written test is generally required. The written test is fairly straightforward though it’s a good idea to review the road signs for at least a few minutes. See the R.T.O. website (see below) and refer to the ‘Signs & Questionnaires’ section for all content that is tested, along with a practice exam.
You will be required to pay for both the Learner’s License and Driver’s License (a nominal fee), as well as provide three passport pictures, proof of age, completed medical forms (CMV 1 & 1A), residency permit (as issued by the Commissioner of Police) and proof of Indian address. If you don’t have an International Driver’s License, you may also be required to present your existing foreign license along with a letter from your embassy stating its validity, so check with either your embassy or the Transport Department’s office.
If you do not hold a valid license and will be in India for more than six months, you will have to complete both stages of the licensing programme. First you will need to successfully complete a written test to obtain a Learner’s License (LL), which can be redone the next day if failed at first attempt. The LL is valid for six months, and after the first month (but before six months is up) you will need to pass a driving test to get a proper Driver’s License (DL). The DL test can be repeated after seven days, if failed. The same documents as above are required, except you will need to complete medical form CMV 4. The license will be issued the same afternoon.
The DL will be valid for 20 years or until the age of 50, whichever is earlier, and is valid throughout India.
Forms, driving test checklists and more information can be viewed at: http://rto.kar.nic.in
To apply for a license, go in person to your local R.T.O. (Driving License Branch). On the website RTO website go to ABOUT US >> JURISDICTION OF RTOs to find your local office. There is no need to schedule an appointment in advance, one can show up with all required documents and be ready for testing between 10am-1pm. Licenses are generally issued after 4pm the same day.