Rise in int’l driving permits as tourists opt to drive cars abroad - Hindustan Times
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Rise in int’l driving permits as tourists opt to drive cars abroad

ByNadeem Inamdar
Nov 17, 2023 07:56 AM IST

According to authorities, most of the applicants earlier included students and those who were recruited abroad and had to quickly shift overseas and required an international driving licence during their stay there

This year from January 1 to November 15, the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has issued as many as 4,576 International Driving Permits (IDPs); a surge mainly due to the rush to go abroad for short durations, officials said. In 2022, the RTO issued 4,424 IDPs whereas the figure stood at 1,689 in 2021. The number of IDPs dropped to 826 in 2020 mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic but in 2019, it stood at 3,607.

According to RTO authorities, most of the applicants earlier included students and those who were recruited abroad and had to quickly shift overseas and required an international driving licence during their stay there. (HT FILE PHOTO)
According to RTO authorities, most of the applicants earlier included students and those who were recruited abroad and had to quickly shift overseas and required an international driving licence during their stay there. (HT FILE PHOTO)

According to the authorities, most of the applicants earlier included students and those who were recruited abroad and had to quickly shift overseas and required an international driving licence during their stay there. “However, during the past two years, the trend of tourists applying for international driving licences has gone up considerably,” said an official from the RTO.

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Pune Regional Transport Officer Sanjeev Bhor said, “The number of international driving licence applicants has gone up significantly. Earlier, students and those who had obtained employment abroad found it essential for their daily requirement. However, during the past two years, we have seen that a large number of tourists going abroad are applying for the international driving licence.”

According to the RTO officials, the number of applicants for international driving licences has almost doubled during the past two years. Also, a large number of tourists visiting different parts of the globe are finding it convenient to carry international driving licences with them as hiring cars and drivers has become an expensive proposition. So, there are Punekars opting to hire cars and drive to different locations themselves as a cost saving measure. The applicant has to give a test for an international driving licence however his driving licence, passport and country visa are verified by the RTO before issuing the final document. The applicant can login through the ‘Sarthi’ service online and upload bonafide documents besides paying online fees after which s/he can avail the international driving licence in a day.

The driving licence enables the applicant to drive any type of vehicle except heavy vehicles in countries which have a pact with the Indian government. The United States of America, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand and Australia are some of the countries which have a pact with India. In some countries, the international driving licence is even considered as an identity proof and the licence remains valid for a period of one year only.

Bhor said, “The international driving permit is issued within one day after the documentation process is completed, and does not require a test.” The permit is valid for a year and if an international traveller wants to drive beyond that period in the foreign country, s/he has to apply for a driving licence there, said Bhor.

Tourist Michelle D’Souza who is visiting Germany, said, “I had applied for my international driving licence which I got in one day. I had submitted the requisite documents online. During my earlier trips abroad, I had to spend a lot of money on drivers but this time, additional expenses will be reduced drastically which I can use for exploring other destinations.”

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