How to obtain an International Driving Permit in India

Do you remember how many times you read countless articles on the best roads to drive on in the world and wished you could just sit in a car, throttle its heart out and drive off where ever you wanted to?

We all have been there. At least I have, a million times.

Road trips are the one thing I crave for the most and after an epic Udaipur road trip, our next destination turned out to be Thailand! No, we were not driving to Thailand from India (I wish we were but job, duh!) but pre-booked a self-drive of our choice (luckily we got a brand new Toyota Yaris!) through a renowned car rental and drove around the country.

Read: A First Timer’s Guide to Udaipur

But just hiring a car was not sufficient to drive around. For starters, we needed an International Driving Permit (IDP). The IDP is a driving license that is valid in more than 150 countries across the globe. These include the US, UK, Australia, most of Europe and Asia.

Finding our way in an unfamiliar territory in Thailand

Getting an IDP was surprisingly hassle free. There is a set procedure and documentation involved, and also a visit to the local Regional Transport Office.

Listed below is a step-by-step guide for all you driving enthusiasts who want an IDP but don’t know how.

a) Valid Indian Driving License: A valid Indian driving license (Four Wheeler) is a must if you wish to apply for an IDP (it has to valid till you return to India with a month or so to spare).
b) Valid Indian Passport
c) Form: The CMV4 form is available at the local RTO. IDP requisition form duly filled and signed. There is provision in the form for a signature and stamping from a registered medical practitioner stating you are physically and mentally fit to undertake the journey.
d) Flight Ticket: The RTO officer checked our confirmed return tickets.
e) Visa: A copy of the Visa of the country you will be driving in needs to be attached to the Form. If you are availing the ‘visa-on-arrival’ facility like we did, then attach a printout from the official website which mentions the provision of ‘visa-on-arrival facility for Indians’.
f) Photographs: Four passport sized photographs. Carry more to be on safe side.
g) The IDP needs to be applied at the same licensing authority that has issued your Indian driving license. If you are living out of the city or state that has issued your license, then a ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’ is required from your license issuing authority to apply for IDP at a different RTO. Sounds complicated but yes, our RTO systems are not centralised hence the process. Hopefully, with the advent of VAHAN4, things would ease out sooner.
h) A fee of Rs. 500/- for the process.

Note: You need to be present at the RTO in person as they require your signatures and also ask a few ‘relevant’ questions.

Read: These 60 year-olds drove 16,000 km across India in a Tata Hexa!

With all the documents in place we stood in queue outside the officer’s cabin awaiting our turn. Once in, the RTO officer checked our documents thoroughly, asked a couple of general questions and signed off on our forms. The entire process took not more than 5 minutes.

We were told the IDP will be delivered within a day or two and surprisingly, it arrived the very next day. The time required, I guess, also depends on the efficiency of the local RTO.

The IDP is valid for one year from the date of its issue so put your long-term travel plans into motion!



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