Driving Licence in Kerala

It is a legal grant issued by a state by the Regional Transport office of a particular state which authorizes the applicant to drive and operate a specific category of motor vehicles, depending on the intent. It is a document issued to the applicant after he/she successfully passes the required test which also includes a demonstration of their ability to operate the vehicle in presence of the officials.

Once issued, the license holder is required to carry the original/copy at all times and produce it on demand from various law enforcement agencies. It also doubles up as a reference document for address and ID proof.

In the state of Kerala, the responsibility of issuing a driving licence is entrusted with the Motor Vehicles Department under the aegis of Government of Kerala.

Kerala Motor Vehicles Department

The department is headed by the Transport Commissioner and consists of multiple offices and staff members in various districts of the state. The primary functions the Kerala MVD are as follows.

  • Registration of motor vehicles
  • Enforcing the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act
  • Collection of taxes and fees
  • Miscellaneous services such as issuing driving licence, permits, fitness certificates and others

There are 18 Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Kerala headed by a Regional Transport Officer at each of the offices. One of the offices is dedicated for dealing with the nationalized sector, statewise. In addition, there are 55 Sub Regional Transport Offices headed by Joint Regional Transport Officers.

Driving Licence

The DL issued under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, authorizes the bearer to drive a motor vehicle in any part of India. To obtain a driving licence, the applicant should first apply and receive a learner's license. The following eligibility criteria need to be fulfilled to obtain one.

  • Applicant between the age group of 16-18 years is required to get a written consent from their parents and apply for a license. Applicants falling in this age group can only drive a motor vehicle below 50cc.
  • Applicants aged more than 18 years and less than 20 years can apply for license to drive a motor vehicle in the non-transport category.
  • If the applicant has a minimum of 1-year experience driving a non-transport motor vehicle and is above 20 years, he/she can apply for a license to drive a transport vehicle driving licence.

Before being offered a driving licence valid for a certain period, first-time applicants are required to take up computer-based learner’s test at the designated test centers. The test will consist of the applicant’s knowledge on aspects such as road safety, rules and regulations, signals, and signs etc.

Upon passing this test, the applicant will be provided a learner's license, valid for 6 months from the date of issue. If the applicant fails to clear the test, he/she can reappear for the test by paying a fee of Rs.30. After holding the LL for 30 days or more, the applicant can take up the driving test to obtain a driving licence. The test will consist of two phases. In part 1, the ability of the applicant to control the motor will be scrutinized and the second part deals with driving skills on the track.

Documents Required for Applying Driving Licence in Kerala

  • Form 1: Contains self declaration of the physical conditions of the applicant. This form holds good for persons below 50 years and valid for non-transport vehicles.
  • Form 1A: This form is valid for persons over 50 years of age. To apply for a driving licence, persons falling under this category should produce a certificate from a registered medical practitioner along with the form.
  • Form 2 & 3: Application form for learners license.

In addition to the forms above, the applicant should also furnish an Eye Test Certificate from an ophthalmologist along with ID and address proof such as Voters id card, passport, school leaving certificate, Aadhar card etc.

Fees & Charges for Applying Driving Licence in Kerala

Fee Description Amount
Learners License Rs.30
Driving test (each class) Rs.50
Driving Licence Rs.200
Service charge Rs. 50

The fees and charges are payable in cash at the regional transport office at the payment counter.

DL Renewal Procedure in Kerala

If your license is due to expire, make sure to apply for a renewal at least a month before the expiry. For renewals done 30 days after its expiry, a new DL card will be issued on the date of receipt of the payment and the application. A fee of Rs.250 should be remitted for renewal done before 30 days from the expiry date.

Procedure for International Driving Licence in Kerala

The RTO in Kerala will also issue International Driving Permit (IDP) to applicants who hold a valid driving licence issued in India. If you wish to get an IDP, ask for form IDP or write to the jurisdictional RTO, providing the details of the countries to be visited and other details such as duration of the stay.

FAQs on Driving Licence in Kerala

  1. What are the types of vehicles for which you can get driving licence for from the RTOs in Kerala?

    You can obtain driving licences in Kerala for the following types of vehicles: motorcycles which have 50cc or less than 50cc engine capacity, mopeds, scooters, and other types of motorcycles with or without a gear, non-transport use light motor vehicles, commercial purpose light motor vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, heavy passenger vehicles, etc.

  2. What is the grace period for renewal of driving licence in Kerala?

    There is a 30-day grace period for renewal of driving licence in Kerala, which means that you will have to renew the driving licence within 30 days of its expiry. If not renewed within this grace period, an additional fee will have to be paid at the time of renewal.

  3. What are the documents required to apply for an international driving licence in Kerala?

    To apply for an international driving licence in Kerala, you would need to have a valid driving licence (which is permanent), copies of passport, visa, and air tickets, as well as a written application (or IDP form) that has to be submitted to the RTO.

  4. What is the difference between the driving licence test for a two-wheeler and a four-wheeler in Kerala?

    The driving licence test for a two-wheeler or three-wheeler involves riding along a track that is shaped like the number ''8'' while the test for a four-wheeler involves driving along a track that is shaped like the letter ''H''.

  5. Can I get a smart card driving licence in Kerala?

    Yes, smart card driving licences are being issued by the RTOs in Kerala.


News About Applying Driving Licence in Kerala

  • Ernakulam RTO issues more than 1,200 international driving licenses

    With international travel opening, there has been a huge rush for international driving licenses at the Ernakulam Regional Transport Office (RTO). At certain times, up to 60 licenses are issued in a day. Most of the individuals who have received licenses are migrating to Germany, Canada, and the UK. So far this year, around 1,201 international driving licenses have been issued from Ernakulam RTO. Last year, 294 licenses were issued. Up to 22 October, 175 licenses were issued in Ernakulam RTO limit. Individuals who wish to apply for an international driving license must submit the application form online.

    27 October 2021

  • Low turnout for driving tests in Kochi

    The driving test conducted by RTOs and Sub-RTOs in Kochi saw a very low attendance in Ernakulam district on Thursday after the driving tests were conducted after a gap of many months. The test was scheduled to be held in three batches in Ernakulam RTO office and two batches in other offices. A limit of 20 applicants was put for every batch and the tests were slated for 08:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 02:00 p.m. However, the number of applicants turning up for the test were on the lower side, despite the pandemic precautions being in place. Applicants who wish to appear for the test will have to register anew to. However, it is expected that the turnout will increase in the coming days.

    26 July 2021

  • Kerala High Court suggests making road rage a punishable offence.

    Justice VG Arun of Kerala High Court has put forward a suggestion to make road rage a punishable offence. The suggestion comes after considering a bail plea filed by a 58-year-old of Vaniyampara near Peechi in Thrissur. While passing the judgment, the court stated that there has been various instances of road rage, violence, and assaults on the roads thereby putting the lives of drivers and passengers at risk. Given these circumstances, making road rage a punishable offence can be considered as countries like Australia, Germany and Singapore have done.

    It needs to be mentioned here that though Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for disqualifying a person from holding a driving license or revoking it if such person has by his previous conduct as the driver of a motor vehicle shown that his/her driving is likely to be attended with danger to the public, there is no specific provision under the Act which makes road rage a punishable offence.

    29 March 2021

  • Riding sans helmet in Krishna district can lead to suspension of driving licence

    Your driving licence stands the risk of getting cancelled permanently, if you are found without a helmet while riding a bike in Krishna district. The transport department said that wearing a helmet is the responsibility of every rider, hence making it mandatory to wear helmets while riding bikes. This rule has been implemented by the transport department with the support of police department from January 2021.

    Despite strict laws and awareness campaigns conducted by the RTA and police department, many two-wheeler riders do not pay heed and ride without wearing a helmet. Close to 1,400 persons were booked by the police since January this year for not wearing helmets. Henceforth, any rider found riding their bike without a helmet will see their licence get suspended by the transport department for three months. On repeating the offence, their licence will be cancelled permanently.

    2 December 2020

  • The number of people seeking driving licences in Kerala declines

    Due to COVID-19, many people in Kerala are refraining from applying for their driving license and are postponing their plans to get a new licence. This has resulted in the lower number of driving license applicants in the state.

    As per the report from the Motor Vehicles Department, only 50,650 people appeared for the learner’s test online since the facility of online tests began in June. According to Rajeev Puthalath, Joint Transport Commissioner, the fear of COVID-19 has been the major reason for a lower turnout for the license test. In the online driving test, around 3.8% of the candidates failed compared to the 1.36% failing in the offline tests which were held in the previous year.

    31 August 2020

  • Driving license for LMV can be used to drive auto rickshaws in Kerala

    As per the Transport Mission Mode Project’s flagship uniform pan-India applications Sarathi for driving licence, individuals having a valid driving licence for Light Motor Vehicles (LMV) can now use it to drive auto rickshaws. Given this, no separate driving licence will be issued for driving auto rickshaws in Kerala as it cannot be ported separately in the Sarathi.

    State Transport Commissioner in an order issued on June 8 stated that those holding e-rickshaw driving licence issued before 1 January 2019 under the old driving licence issue system will be allowed to drive auto rickshaws in the state. The intervention comes after reports emerged that several driving schools were pressurising individuals to go for the costly LMV licence when they came forward to obtain the driving licence for plying auto rickshaws. It must be noted here that under Sarathi, learner’s licence, renewal of licence and duplicate licence, international driving permit, addition of class, and licence-related fee and charges are covered.

    11 June 2020

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