Guide to Driving in India

If you plan to drive in India as a foreigner, you need to have a valid visa and the appropriate driving documents. You may require an international driving license and must follow the traffic rules and regulations. Renting a car or a motorcycle is possible, but you should check the rental company's policies and the condition of the vehicle. Overall, it is important to be cautious and aware of the driving conditions in India to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Driving in India as a Foreigner: Is it Allowed?

Foreigners who wish to drive in India must possess the appropriate type of driving license. There are two options available: an Indian license or an international driving license.

International driving licenses are valid for one year from the date of issuance and are recognized in India. It is essential for foreign drivers to obtain the correct license to avoid any legal complications while driving in India.

Here are the essential documents for driving in India as a foreigner:

  • Passport with a valid visa
  • International driving license or an Indian license
  • Vehicle registration and insurance documents, if driving a personal vehicle
  • Identification proof like PAN card or Aadhaar card

It is also important to note that traffic rules and regulations in India may be different from those in other countries. Therefore, foreign drivers must exercise caution and stay alert while driving in India.

Essential Documents for Driving in India as a Foreigner

To travel to India and drive, you will need the following items:

  • International driving permit OR Indian driving license
  • Valid visa for India (if applicable)
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of address

While driving in India, it is important to always carry the following:

  • Certificate of registration of the vehicle
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Certificate of taxation
  • Appropriate driving license

For short-term visitors with an Indian tourist or business visa, the best option is to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) from their home country. The IDP is valid for one year or until the expiration of the license from the home country, whichever comes first. It is also recommended to carry the license from the home country along with the IDP.

For those planning to stay in India for more than a year, an Indian driving license is required. The license can be obtained from a Regional Transport Office (RTO) or a driving school in India.

Obtaining an International Driving Permit for Driving in India

If you're a foreign visitor planning to drive in India, you'll need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your home country before traveling. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

Application Process:

The process for obtaining an IDP may vary depending on your home country. However, it's generally a straightforward process and can be done at a low cost. You will likely need to provide a completed application form, your full driving license, and proof of address.

Recommended for e-Visa holders:

If you're visiting India with an e-Visa and plan to rent a car, it's recommended that you obtain an IDP before your trip. This can help avoid any potential issues with local authorities during your travels.


Driving in India can be an exciting experience, but it's important to make sure you have all the necessary documents in place before hitting the road. Obtaining an IDP from your home country is a simple and low-cost way to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting an Indian Driving License

Foreign nationals residing in India for an extended period may find it beneficial to obtain an Indian driving license during their stay. Unlike the International Driving Permit (IDP), an Indian license is valid for more than a year.

To apply for an Indian driver's license, the applicant must submit the following documents:

  • Completed Indian driver's license application form
  • Copy of the applicant's Indian residence permit
  • Proof of current address
  • Passport-sized photograph of the applicant
  • Medical fitness certificate issued by a doctor

Upon completion of driving classes in India, the applicant will be issued a learner's license that is valid for 3 months. After the probationary driving period on the learner's license, the driver will be granted a full Indian driver's license that is valid until the Indian residence permit expires.

Visa Requirements for Driving in India as a Foreigner

If you're a foreign traveler planning to drive in India, there are certain visa requirements that you need to keep in mind. Here are a few things you should know:

Visa Requirements

  • You need a visa to enter and stay in India, regardless of whether you plan to drive or not.
  • The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose of your trip. If you're planning a holiday that involves driving, you'll need a tourist visa.
  • You don't need a separate visa specifically for driving in India.

Applying for a Visa

  • The easiest way to apply for a visa is to do it online.
  • When you apply for a visa online, you'll also be able to hire a car and drive with an International Driving Permit (IDP).

In summary, if you're a foreign traveler planning to drive in India, make sure you have the right visa for your trip. Apply for a tourist visa online and get an IDP to drive legally in the country.

Driving to India: Is it Possible?

Are you thinking of driving to India? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Possibility of Driving

Driving to India from a neighboring country and crossing the land border is possible. However, it is important to note that the online e-Visa is not valid at land border checkpoints.

Visa Application

Visitors must apply for the relevant visa in person, which can be a time-consuming process. This is why most visitors opt to fly to India, where the e-Visa is valid and visa application is faster and easier.

Hiring a Car

If visitors do decide to fly to India, they can simply hire a car upon arrival and begin their journey.

In conclusion, while driving to India is possible, it may not be the most convenient option due to the visa application process. Flying to India and hiring a car upon arrival is often a more practical choice.

Rules and Regulations for Driving in India

Foreign travelers should be aware of the following rules when driving in India:

  • Traffic drives on the left side of the road
  • Minimum driving age is 16 for motorcycles of 50cc or less and 18 for all other vehicles
  • National speed limit is 140 km/h for cars and 80 km/h (50 mph) for motorcycles
  • Seatbelts are mandatory in cities but only advised elsewhere
  • Blood alcohol content limit is 0.03% and exceeding it may result in a fine of around ₹10,000 (US $140)
  • Repeat offenders may face up to 6 months in prison.

Road Conditions and Safety Precautions for Driving in India

Driving in India can be challenging due to chaotic road conditions and reckless driving practices. This article provides some tips for safe driving in India.

Road Conditions:

Compared to Western countries, Indian roads can be chaotic. Drivers often disregard traffic rules and over-speed, leading to heavy traffic and disputes between drivers. The quality of roads is generally acceptable, but maintenance can be poor, resulting in potholes and other hazards.

Safety Precautions:

Here are some safety precautions to consider when driving in India:

  • Drive defensively and be aware of other vehicles on the road
  • Avoid driving at night, as road conditions can be more dangerous and visibility can be poor
  • Wear seat belts at all times
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Follow traffic rules and signals
  • Avoid overtaking from the wrong side
  • Be prepared for unexpected obstacles, such as pedestrians, animals, or poorly maintained roads


Driving in India requires patience, mental presence, and consideration of all risk factors. By following these safety precautions, you can reduce the risks and enjoy a safe driving experience in India.

Renting a Car or Motorcycle for Driving in India: What You Need to Know

If you're planning to rent a car or motorcycle for driving in India, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here's what you need to know:

Renting a Car in India

For short-term visitors, renting a car upon arrival in India is possible with an international driving permit. However, many foreign visitors prefer to rent a car with a driver to ensure safety and affordability.

Renting a Motorcycle in India

If you're planning to rent a motorcycle in India, an international driver's license is required for stays up to one year, while an Indian driver's license is necessary for longer periods.

Visa Requirements

It is essential to check India visa requirements beforehand, as most foreign citizens need to obtain a visa before traveling to the country, whether or not they plan to drive.