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Your driving licence certifies that you know how to drive a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler. Apart from acting as proof of competency, driving without a licence in India is a criminal offence.
However, it is wrong to assume that this licence is only valid in India. If you are planning to migrate to a different nation, you should know whether the same licence will enable you to drive on foreign roads.
A list of countries accepting Indian driving licence should help you assess whether you need to apply for a fresh licence or whether your existing one would suffice.
In case it does not, you can opt for an international driving permit (IDP), whose application and documentation process is also mentioned below.
But first, let’s look at the countries where Indian driving license will allow you to drive!
If your destination country is one of the following, you have nothing to fret. These countries allow you to utilise the Indian licence to drive on their roads:
Australia is a favourite destination for many Indians, both for work and leisure. Whether you are on a holiday or due to work, an Indian driving licence would be considered legal and valid throughout the country.
If you are driving in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia or Queensland, your Indian licence would be considered valid for more than a year.
However, in the Northern parts of the country, validity of such licence is limited to just three months. Keep these factors in mind before so that you can plan accordingly.
According to a 2019 survey, around 2.7 million Indians reside in the USA (source). If you are about to become a part of this group, you must know that you can drive in the USA with your Indian driving licence for a term of one year from the date of your entry.
To do so, certain conditions must be met. These are:
Form I-94 is considered evidence of having entered the USA on a particular date.
Since this nation is one of the foreign countries accepting Indian driving licence, you do not need to acquire an IDP or a separate licence in America for at least a year.
Neighbouring Australia is another country where an Indian citizen does not need a fresh driving licence or an IDP.
If you plan to reside or visit New Zealand soon, know that you can use your existing licence while keeping the following conditions in mind:
The existing licence can remain valid for up to a year from the date of entrance in the nation. If you plan to stay longer, you should opt for an IDP or a driver’s licence in NZ.
Are you desperate for some French wine and food? Whether you are looking to visit the splendid Eiffel Tower or simply to attend a business conference, driving your own car can resolve transportation issues.
Even though your Indian licence is accepted, it must have an authorised French translation to work. Moreover, French cars have a left-hand drive, which can cause challenges for Indians who are used to the other form of driving.
Wales, England and Scotland are three other companies where you can safely traverse roads using an Indian driving licence. Still, the licence in question should be in English.
Furthermore, it remains valid for a term of one year only. Another vital point to remember is that your existing DL will only allow you to drive a specific vehicle class and not all of them.
Switzerland has been a favourite honeymoon destination for Indians since it was popularised in the classic ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ by Shahrukh Khan and Kajol.
If you plan to recreate the magic with your loved ones, you would be happy to know that the country allows Indian drivers to operate vehicles on their existing licence.
The DL concerned should be in English. Moreover, it remains valid for just a year.
South Africa is full of scenic beauty, which is best experienced while driving on the vast open roads. You can drive a car or bike on these roads for a year with your Indian driving licence, provided that it remains valid for this duration.
Since cars in South Africa follow a right-hand drive, Indians do not need to adapt to a different driving style, easing matters further.
Malaysia is one of the few countries on this list, which allows for driving with Indian DL but also requires you to hold an international driving permit.
If you have both of these documents at hand, rent a car and set out to explore the beautiful city of Singapore and the surrounding areas.
If you intend to drive a car in Sweden with your Indian driver’s licence, the same must be in one of the following languages – Swedish, English, German, German, Norwegian, Danish or French. Besides this licence, you would also need to keep a photograph and ID with you at all times.
The German government allows Indian nationals to drive a car on the country’s roads with their existing DL. However, the same must have a German translation.
Also, validity is restricted to 6 months only. Beyond this period, you would need to acquire a permit within the country.
Bhutanese authorities also allow Indians to drive on their national driving licence.
However, since Bhutan is mostly mountainous regions and roads, it may be better to opt for a practiced driver instead, especially if you have no prior knowledge of handling cars or bikes on such terrain.
Canada allows Indian citizens to drive with their DL for a period of up to 60 days. After this, you will need to acquire a separate permit if you intend to keep driving on the nation’s roads.
One important thing to remember is that Canadian drivers need to stick to the right hand side of the road instead of the left, as is the procedure on Indian roads.
The above-listed countries accept Indian driving licence in most instances. However, you must keep an eye on the prerequisites or conditions related to the licence’s validity.
In most other countries, you will need to hold an international driving permit to rent a car and drive.
So, get these formalities out of the way and set out on long drives on unknown shores!