How to Apply for a Smart Card Driving License

Published on 27 Jul, 2021, 10:46 AM IST
Updated on 6 Jun, 2022, 2:05 PM IST

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Decades ago, people used to read articles only in the print form. However, today, you are reading this article in a digital form – probably on a smartphone, laptop, etc., which are also novel inventions. Printing was a revolutionary technology back in the day, but things have changed. Similar technological advancements have changed the structure and texture of a driving license (DL). Earlier, the DL used to be like a tiny diary or a booklet. Now, they have changed into Smart Cards. Read ahead to know more about it and how to apply for a smart card driving license.

How to Apply for a Smart Card Driving License

What is a Smart Card Driving License (SCDL)?

A smart card driving license is a driving license issued as a card. It looks like a debit or a credit card. The SCDL has a chip on it. This chip is loaded with the card holder’s information, for example – biometric details. All such data is stored in the Regional Transport Office’s (RTO) servers.

The SCDL is an evolved form of the book-type DL. The new version is compact, durable, and convenient. Instead of carrying a booklet, drivers can now carry a card that can be stored almost anywhere and does not get damaged easily. Drivers can convert their old DL into the new format by visiting their respective RTO.

Application Process of Driving License:

The management of DLs is done at an RTO level. In most cases, if you are seeking a new DL, you should receive it in a smart card format. For those who have old ones, can get them upgraded from their respective RTOs. Most of the states in India have moved towards issuing the SCDL but there might be some exceptions in certain RTOs. You can visit your state government’s website or your nearest RTO for specific information. The processes to obtain an SCDL might differ from state to state.

How to Apply for a Smart Card Driving License Online:

It is likely that when you apply for a DL via the online mode, you shall receive it in a smart card format. Here’s how you can get your new smart card driving license via the online process. Note that this process is for a new license and not for converting an old DL into a new SCDL.

  • Step 1 – Visit the Government of India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Parivahan Sewa website.

  • Step 2 – From the ‘Online Services’ drop-down menu, select ‘Driving License Related Services’.

  • Step 3 – Select your state and then the RTO.

  • Step 4 – Select ‘New Driving License’ from the ‘Apply Online’ drop-down menu, assuming you have a Learner’s License. Otherwise, you will have to obtain that first.

  • Step 5 – Follow the process by filling personal details, uploading documents, uploading photo and signature if required, booking a DL Test slot if applicable, and pay the fees. Note that biometric information will be collected as per the process.

  • Step 6 – Visit the RTO for the test as per the schedule.

  • Step 7 – You shall receive your SCDL via post after passing the test successfully.

How to Apply for a Smart Card Driving License Offline:

Here’s how you can get your new smart card driving license via the offline process.

  • Step 1 – Visit your nearest RTO and request for an SCDL application form. Also, collect the forms related to declaring physical fitness and medical certificate.

  • Step 2 – Fill the forms with required details, attach relevant documents, and submit your application request to the RTO.

  • Step 3 – You will be required to pay the necessary fee based on the type of vehicle for which you need the DL. Make the payment and collect a receipt for the same.

  • Step 4 – Select a time slot for your driving test based on the availability.

  • Step 5 – Appear for the test as per the chosen slot.

  • Step 6 – Upon passing the test, you shall be directed towards the biometric collection centre.

  • Step 7 – You shall receive your SCDL via post at your registered address.

Benefits of Having A Smart Card Driving License:

Here’s a list of major benefits associated with holding a Smart Card DL as opposed to the old-school diary-like DL.

  • Information is stored in a secure manner.

  • It is an updated and upgraded type of a DL, that includes the biometric information of the driver.

  • Traffic police can read the data with the help of a hand-held device. Otherwise, the information in the chip is unreadable and cannot be tampered with.

  • The SCDL prevents fake driving licenses.

  • SCDL is sturdier than the older format.

  • The smart card is easy to carry.

Eligibility Criteria for a DL:

To obtain a DL, you need to fulfil certain requirements. Here’s a list of basic pointers regarding the eligibility criteria for a DL in case of a privately owned vehicle.

  • If you want an SCDL for a two-wheeler with gear with an engine capacity greater than 50cc, then you must be at least 18 years of age.

  • In case of a non-geared two-wheeler, the minimum age limit is 16 years along with a letter of consent from the parents.

  • For cars, the age limit is 18 years.

Required Documents for DL:

You might be asked to submit different documents at different stages of the DL application stage.

Documents Required for DL for Indian Citizens:

  • Aadhaar Card – mandatory requirement (should be enough in some cases). 

  • Age proof – passport, birth certificate.

  • Address proof – utility bills, bank-related documents such as a passbook.

  • Application form.

  • Medical certificate.

  • Declaration of physical fitness.

  • Physically challenged certificate in case of disability.

  • Current proof of residence.

Documents required for DL for Foreign citizens/Diplomats/Refugees:

  • Passport copy.

  • VISA copy.

  • Medical certificate.

  • Learner’s license.

Smart Card Driving License Form:

A SCDL form comprises the following sections.

  • Visual Inspection Zone – basic details about the applicant and the vehicle.

  • Machine-readable Zone – detailed information regarding DL such as chip’s serial number, issuing authority, etc.

  • Central Motor Vehicle Rules – information related to fines, penalties, endorsement, etc. 

How to Convert Old DL to New DL:

It is better to convert your paper or plastic DL to the new SCDL as it has a lot of advantages. Here’s how you can convert the old book-based driving license to the new smart card version.

  • Step 1 – Visit the nearest RTO.

  • Step 2 – Ask for a license upgrade form or Smart Card Driving License form.

  • Step 3 – Fill the form and attach relevant documents.

  • Step 4 – Submit biometric information.

  • Step 5 – Payment of applicable fees.

  • Step 6 – Collect the receipt and use it until the arrival of the SCDL.

  • Step 7 – Arrival of SCDL on the registered address.

Documents Required While Transferring Driving License to Smart Card Driving License:

If you want to convert your DL into the Smart Card format, you will have to submit the following documents at the time of applying to convert DL to Smart Card at the RTO.

  • Current driving license.

  • Address proof.

  • Other specific documents asked by the RT official.

Fees for Smart Card Driving License:

The fees charged for SCDL are Rs. 200. Note that the Driving License Smart Card fees might vary in different states.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some frequently asked questions related to Smart Card Driving Licenses in India.

Are paper-based driving licenses still valid in India?


The validity of your driving license will be mentioned on it whether it is in an old-school format or a new one. In case you apply for a new DL in 2020, you should receive an SCDL from most RTOs.

How can I check the application status of my driving license?


You can check the application status of your driving license by visiting the Parivahan Sewa website. Once on the website, select Online Services > Driving License Related Services > Select State > Select RTO > Apply Online > Application Status. There, you will have to mention your Application Number and state your Date of Birth. Once done, click submit to know the application status.

Is it possible to change my name in the SCDL as it has a spelling error?


You can reach out to your nearest RTO for making name-related changes in the SCDL.

Will be I asked to take a driving test in case I want to convert my old DL to a new DL?


Ideally, you shouldn’t be asked for a driving test while converting an old DL to a new DL if it is valid.

Are SCDL offered by all Indian states?


Majority of the Indian states offer SCDL but not all.

Is it compulsory to hold an SCDL?


It is not compulsory to hold an SCDL. Your DL can be in the paper or plastic format as well. However, it is compulsory to hold a valid driving license while riding/driving a vehicle on Indian roads. In case your DL is about to expire, it is suggested to get an SCDL while renewing it.

How can I check if the RTO in my State offers SCDL or not?


You can check your respective state’s RTO website to know if the state supports SCDL. Alternatively, you can call or visit your nearest RTO for more information regarding SCDL.

What should I do if I lose my Smart Card Driving License?


If you lose your Smart Card Driving License, you will need to file a First Information Report (FIR) at the police station under whose jurisdiction the license was lost. Once done, you will need to submit it to the RTO along with the application form for a duplicate driving license. Make sure you do not drive a car or ride a two-wheeler if you do not have any document to prove that you hold a valid driving license.

Punjab Extends Deadline For Digital Driving Licence Upgradation

– December 17, 2020

The department of transport of Punjab has announced that it has extended the deadline to apply for a digital driving licence. The updated deadline for submitting applications for upgrading to a digital driving licence in Punjab is 15 January 2021. The Punjab Transport Department has launched a special campaign in November to encourage people to upgrade their manual driving licences. The sole motto of the campaign was to allow the manual driving licence holders to apply for a digital driving licence online through the Sarathi portal. Once approved, the applicant can get his/her digital driving licence via digilocker or mParivahan smartphone application. The campaign was a successful one as more than 25,000 people applied for a digital driving licence. With the digital driving licence, the transport department can identify fake licence holders, and it will also help in better implementation of traffic rules and regulations.

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