Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

In today’s day and age, a driver’s licence has become an essential part of life. Being able to drive gives one freedom to go wherever and whenever one wishes to, without having to rely on public transport and its restrictions in terms of timings and distance.

Being able to drive or ride gives you the opportunity to explore on your own steam, whether it is a local destination or an exotic locale. You are free to go when you choose and can dictate the pace of your trip based on your convenience.

Before you drive off into the sunset however, you would need the necessary documentation to drive or ride, which includes taking a driving test and proving your motoring capabilities.

There are a number of provisions and rules governing applying for a driving licence, and these differ from state to state. Here, we deal with the various norms governing applying for a driver’s licence in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Types of Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu issues a variety of licences for those seeking a government issued permit to ply a vehicle on the roads. Licences are broadly classified into Transport and non-transport licences, as mentioned below:

Non-transport licences:

Non-transport licences are issued to those individuals who seek a licence for personal use only. Such licences permit the licence holder to ply non-commercial vehicles such as private cars, two wheelers, as well as larger vehicles solely for private use.

The minimum age requirement for obtaining a Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu is 16 years for two wheelers and 18 years for other vehicles.

Under non-transport vehicles, the applicant is required to specify the kind of vehicle he is applying for a licence for. The various categories under non-transport licences are given below:

  • Motorcycle without Gear- such as scooters and mopeds
  • Motorcycle with Gear- All motorcycles with gears
  • Light motor Vehicle- this includes small cars
  • Motor vehicle- in case your motor vehicle is not covered in the above mentioned categories, you will be required to specify the kind of vehicle it is


Transport Licences:

Transport licences authorise the licence holders to ply vehicles on a commercial basis. The following vehicles are categorised under Transport vehicles as per the Tamil Nadu Transport Authority:

  • Light motor vehicle (transport) - this includes autorickshaws, both for commercial as well as transport use, taxis, jeeps, delivery vans etc.
  • Heavy Motor Vehicle- this includes trucks, buses, tractors
  • Trailers- can be applied for by those already holding a heavy motor vehicle licence

The above mentioned categories are broad classifications of the types of motor vehicle licences issued by the state. There are additional sub-divisions based on the type of vehicle, as in the case of heavy motor vehicles (subdivided into commercial heavy motor vehicle and passenger heavy motor vehicle).

How to Apply for a Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

Applying for a driving licence in Tamil Nadu has become a more convenient and simple process nowadays. Those applying for a driving licence must have a valid Learner’s Licence (issued by the state’s Regional Transport Office. The driving licence can be applied for after 30 days and before 180 days from the day of issue of the Learner’s Licence.

The Transport Authority in the state has streamlined the process and introduced online applications as well. Those who wish to apply for a driving licence can do so in a number of ways, as detailed below:

Online Driving Licence Application Process

Applicants who wish to apply for a driving licence can now do so online instead of going to the Regional Transport Office. They can download the application form and do the preliminary paperwork from the comfort of their homes. They can also book appointments with the RTO based on their convenience, assuring them of an appointment when they visit the RTO. This also saves time, since they will not have to wait for the other applicants to complete their test. The steps for online application for a driving licence re listed below:

Application form:

When applying for a driver’s licence in Tamil Nadu, every applicant has to submit an application form. This form, known as the “Application for Licence to Drive a Motor Vehicle”, is available on the Tamil Nadu government’s official website.

The form is to be printed and filled out and submitted to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) nearest to the applicant’s residence.

Document Submission:

Once the form has been filled, it has to be submitted to the RTO with the supporting documents.

After submitting the form, the RTO will verify the details based on the documents and the applicant will be notified as to his eligibility for the driving test.

Booking Appointment for Licence:

Once the applicant’s eligibility for the test has been confirmed, he can book an appointment for the driving test online by logging on to www.tnsta.gov.in, the official website for the Tamil Nadu transport authority.

On the site, he can click on the “Online Appointment Booking for Driving Licence” tab, whereupon an online form will appear.

The applicant is required to fill in all the relevant information and select a date and time for the appointment. The time slot facility is only valid for appointments made within 30 days of the online application being made.

The applicant can check the availability of the date and time slot he has selected, or choose another one based on his convenience.

Once all the information has been provided, click “submit” for the request to go through.

Driving test:

After making the appointment, the applicant has to be present at the RTO along with all his original documents as mentioned in the application form.

The RTO officer will verify the information and the applicant will have to take the driving test.

If the applicant is successful, then he will be issued with a driving licence.

Offline Driving Licence

ApplicationEligible applicants can also make an offline driving licence application by visiting the nearest Regional Transport Office and collecting an Application form.

They can fill out the form and submit the supporting documents based on the licence they are applying for to the RTO, after which they will be notified regarding their eligibility for the driving test.

Eligible applicants can then visit the RTO and appear for the driving test. If they have successfully cleared the test, they will be issued with a driving licence.

Documents required for Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

Driving Licence applicants in Tamil Nadu are required to submit a list of documents when applying for a licence. The documents to be submitted are given below:

  • Application form (Form 4), duly filled in and signed
  • Proof of address (refer below for documents)
  • Proof of age (refer below for documents)
  • Citizenship declaration (refer below for documents)
  • Learner’s licence (original)
  • Passport sized photographs
  • Valid vehicle documents

Proof of address documentation

Any one of the following is to be submitted as address proof:

  • Passport
  • Life insurance policy
  • Voter’s ID card
  • Government issued payslip
  • Affidavit sworn before a Judicial or Executive Magistrate or Public Notary

Proof of age documentation

Any one of the following is to be submitted as proof of age:

  • School certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Affidavit sworn before a Public Notary or Executive Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate

Driving Licence Application Fee

Applicants are required to pay a fee when registering for a driving licence. The fee levied is Rs. 250.

How to Check Driving Licence Status in Tamil Nadu Online

Individuals who wish to check the status of their application can do so online by visiting the official Ministry of Road Transport and Highways website (www.sarathi.nic.in).

The applications can be tracked by clicking on the “Status of Online Application” tab, where the Application number is to be entered.

The application status will then be displayed onscreen.

How to Check Driving Licence Status in Tamil Nadu Offline

Applicants can check the status of their application offline by contacting the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and providing information such as Learner’s Licence number and Application number.

How to Make Corrections in Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

There are occasions when the driving licence document contains errors with respect to the name, address or other personal particulars of the licence holder. Individuals who wish to correct the changes in their driving licence in Tamil Nadu can do so by submitting an application to correct the information in their licence.

Documents Required to Make Corrections in Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

The applicant has to submit the following documents to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) where the licence was issued only.

  • Application form
  • In case of change of name, marriage certificate or other document mentioning the changed name is to be attached.
  • Copy of current Driving Licence

Procedure for Correction of Information in Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

  • After submitting the application, the applicant will receive an acknowledgement or receipt and a temporary licence with the changed information will be issued.
  • The updated Driving licence will be sent to the applicant through post.

How to Change Address for Driver’s Licence in Tamil Nadu

In the event that you change your address or there is an error in your address as stated on your driving licence, you can correct the address. However there are certain criteria to be met when changing an address in a driver’s licence:

  • The driving licence should not be suspended or disqualified for any reason.
  • The holder of the driving licence can apply for the address change.

Documents Required for Address Change

  • Driving Licence
  • Address proof document (ration card/passport/birth certificate/voter’s ID card/affidavit sworn before Magistrate)

Procedure to Change Address

  • The applicant should present the driving licence and address proof along with a requisition letter to the Regional Transport Officer attached to the concerned RTO to get the address changed.
  • A fee of Rs. 215 plus service charges are payable. The service charge is Rs. 100 for non-transport vehicles and Rs. 50 for transport vehicle driving licence holders.
  • The driving licence with the updated address would be presented to the applicant by post after 3 working days. If the licence is to be issued in another transport office (due to relocation, etc.) it would take 15 days for the address change.

Test Procedure for Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

Individuals applying for a Driver’s Licence in Tamil Nadu will have to take a driving test to prove their driving capabilities. This test will be conducted at the Regional Transport Office under the supervision of a Motor Vehicle Inspector.

  • The applicant must have a valid Learner’s Licence. In the case of expired Learner’s Licences, the driving test should be conducted within 30 days of the Learner’s Licence having lapsed.
  • If the applicant is unsuccessful, he may re-take the test at a later date.
  • Successful applicants will have their Driving Licence sent to them by post to the address mentioned on their application form.

Driving Licence Renewal in Tamil Nadu

Individuals whose driving licences have expired are required to renew them within a period of 30 days from the date of expiry of the licence.

The renewal process is a simple one, and the applicant has to follow the below steps for driving licence renewal in Tamil Nadu.

There are certain eligibility criteria governing the renewal of a driving licence in Tamil Nadu, which is listed below:

  • The application is to be made by the holder of the expired driving licence.
  • An applicant who has been disqualified from applying for a driving licence for any reason cannot apply for a renewal.
  • Driving licences that are expired can be renewed only if the licence is renewed within 5 years of its expiration. In this case, the applicant will have to re-take the driving test.

Documents to be Submitted to Renew Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

The following documents are to be submitted when applying for a renewal of your driving licence in Tamil Nadu:

  • Application for Renewal form (Form 9), can be downloaded from the
  • Physical Fitness Declaration Form (Form 1)
  • In case of drivers over 50 years of age, Form 1-A (physical fitness declaration)
  • Driving Licence
  • Proof of age documents
  • Passport sized photographs

Applicants whose driving licence has been registered at another RTO than the one they are renewing their licence at will have to obtain an NOC (No Objection Certificate), also known as a Genuineness Certificate from the RTO where the licence was issued.

Procedure for Renewing Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

The application forms and supporting documents have to be submitted to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in the applicant’s area of residence.

An application fee has to be paid, amounting to approximately Rs. 200, and an additional Rs. 10 as late fee per year for belated renewal. Kindly visit the RTO for the current charges associated with renewing a driving licence.

The RTO officer will verify the documents and the renewed driving licence will be issued.

How to Apply for Duplicate Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

In case of loss or damage of your original driving licence, you can apply for a duplicate licence from the RTO. Applicants who wish to obtain a duplicated driving licence have to fulfil the below mentioned criteria:

  • Duplicate licences will be issued in case of theft or loss of the original driving licence. Also in case of mutilation or damage to the licence.
  • Application should be made by the driving licence holder.
  • Individuals whose driving licence has been seized/disqualified cannot apply for a duplicate driving licence.

Documents Required for Duplicate Driving Licence Application in Tamil Nadu

Individuals applying for a duplicate driving licence are required to submit the following documents:

  • Application form (Form LLD)
  • Driving licence details such as licence number, holder’s name and details
  • Police certificate or FIR (in case the licence was stolen)
  • Passport sized photographs

Procedure for Applying for Duplicate Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

  • Individuals are required to submit the Application form along with supporting documents to the RTO officer in the area of residence.
  • The applicant has to personally submit the application and has to submit proof of identity when submitting the documents.
  • An application fee of Rs. 215 is to be paid after which the application will be processed and a duplicate licence will be issued by the RTO Officer.

A duplicate driving licence should be applied for as soon as the theft or loss of the original licence takes place. In case of a gap of more than 6 months between the loss of the licence and the application for the duplicate, the application will have to be sent to the Transport Department Headquarters for approval, resulting in a long waiting time.

How to Apply for International Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu

Individuals with a valid Driving Licence can use their licence to drive the type of vehicle as stipulated on the licence within India only. For those who are travelling overseas, this licence cannot be used to rent/buy a car or drive legally abroad.

Individuals would require an international driving licence for this purpose. The Indian government has authorised the respected state Regional Transport Offices to issue International Driving Licences subject to the applicants meeting certain requirements and submitting the relevant documents.

  • Applicant has to be above 18 years of age.
  • Only individuals with a valid Indian Driving Licence can apply for an international Driving Licence.
  • Individuals whose licences have been suspended or who do not have their licences with them at the time of application cannot apply.
  • Applicants who were issued driving licences within 3 months of the international driving licence application will have to re-take the driving test.
  • Only driving licences issued in Tamil Nadu will be able to apply for an International Driving Licence in the state. Those who have driving licences issued in other states will have to change their address on their licence to their present Tamil Nadu one before applying.

Documents to be Submitted for International Driving Licence

The following list of documents have to be submitted when applying for an international driving licence:

  • International Driving Licence Application Form (Form 4A)
  • Valid driving licence copy
  • Passport and visa copy
  • Passport sized photographs (3)
  • Medical certificate (as mentioned in the application form)

Application Process for International Driving Licence in TN

Applicants are required to submit the application form and supporting documents to the RTO in person. An application fee of Rs. 500 is to be paid.

Once the documents have been verified, the applicant is issued the International Driving Licence.

FAQ’s for Driving Licence in Tamil Nadu:

  1. Do I have to submit a Medical certificate when applying for my Driving Licence?

    If you are under the age of 50 years and applying for a non-transport vehicle licence, you do not need to submit a medical certificate when applying for a driving licence.

    Everyone applying for a transport vehicle driving licence are required to submit a medical certificate.

  2. What is the minimum age for applying for a Driving licence in Tamil Nadu?

    The age limit is mentioned below:

    • For two wheelers such as motorcycles, scooter, mopeds- applicant must be above 16 years of age.
    • For other vehicles- applicant must be above 18 years of age.
    • For transport vehicles- applicant must be above 20 years of age.
  3. Do I have to take a driving test for an international driving licence application?

    No, you do not have to take a driving test for an international driving license application. However, if you have received your driving licence within 3 months of your international driving licence application, you will have to re-take the driving test.

*Disclaimer

News About Driving License in Tamil Nadu

  • HDFC and Puducherry Traffic Police team up for Traffic Padasalai

    HDFC Bank has teamed up with Puducherry police to launch a road safety initiative in the union territory. The initiative which is called “Traffic Padasalai”, aims to make Puducherry roads safer by creating awareness on the do’s and don’ts of road safety. Traffic Padasalai will cover major intersections such as Bussy Street, Indira Gandhi square, Rajiv Gandhi square, Anna Square, and Kamaraj Salai. The campaign will focus on lane discipline, seat belts, prohibition of mobile phone usage, helmets, carrying necessary documents and avoiding drink driving. 

    Around 3 lakh people are expected to benefit from this initiative, which will cover Puducherry's major road crossings. The initiative was inaugurated by Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Apoorva Gupta and Superintendent of Police, Murugavel, along with HDFC’s cluster head, Puducherry, Balaji Krishnamachary. 

    28 March 2019

  • 1.5 lakh DLs suspended in Tamil Nadu in 2018

    More than 1.5 Lakh driving licences have been suspended in the state of Tamil Nadu in 2018 alone due to traffic offences. The majority of the licences have suspended due to people talking on mobile phones while driving. In the whole of 2017, the number of licences that were suspended for the same offence stood at 57,158. The number has already crossed 64,105 this year.   

    18 September 2018

  • DLs of violators to be suspended in Chennai

    The State Road Safety Council in Chennai is tightening up screws against traffic violators.

    The Council will be implementing the Supreme Court recommendations that calls for cancellation of driving licenses of those who break rules on the road.

    This decision was made at a meeting that was held earlier in the month between the Council members, the police, other government departments, and the transport department.

    Some of the violations for which licenses will be suspended include using mobile phones while Driving, crossing the speed limit, jumping signals, drunken driving, carrying extra loads, etc.

    3 July 2017

  • Vehicle tests in Chennai might be automated

    The transport department in Chennai plans to dispense off the present methods of vehicle fitness evaluation based on the manual inspection process. Instead, the transport department plans to set up automated centers for evaluating vehicle fitness in Chennai. To make sure that rigorous inspection of the motor vehicles is carried out, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has proposed a certification and inspection center in all the states. States like Maharastra and Kerala already have such facilities in place. One such center for Tamil Nadu is being planned.

    As per an official of the transportation department, all quality requirements will be met by this proposed facility. The vital parameters of different parameters will be assessed efficiently. The project has been delayed due to a legal land dispute in Sholinganallur. The matter has been taken to the legal forum by a private party. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, all the transport vehicles that are used for commercial requirements must undergo a yearly fitness test at the regional transport office where they have been registered. Poor vehicle fitness often lead to 2 significant consequences - pollution and accidents.

    22 June 2017

  • Coimbatore RTO’s Begin Renewing Driving Licences After Brief Gap

    The Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Coimbatore has begun renewing driving licences after a gap of 20 days, according to reports. A few licences showed up on the system, meaning they could now be renewed. With data from the RTO’s being sent to the government to be updated, a number of motorists whose licences were lapsing were left in the lurch.

    The delay was a result of the data being updated, as the systems were unavailable, which led to motorists being turned away. Many motorists were at their wits’ end, after queuing for successive days with no result.

    Officials from the RTO have stated that the systems will be up and running by the weekend and at full capacity by the next week.

    8 June 2017

  • New website launched by RTO in Tamil Nadu

    The Transport Department announced that the long awaited website for online payment will be over soon as it will be launched very soon. This particular system will enable the owners of vehicles to make payment for taxes and fees for their new vehicles online.

    Quarterly tax applicable on the transport vehicles and the driving licence fee can also be paid online through this website. Ramalinga Reddy, the Minister of Transport stated that within a few weeks the whole process of registration of new vehicles and applying for DL will be made online. This will happen once the Vahan and Sarathi projects arrive. On a trial basis, the e-payment system has already been implemented.

    18 October 2016

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