Transportation Policies/Rules

Is your Commercial License Valid Across India? Know the Facts!

Have you ever questioned the geographical validity of a commercial driving license in India? Is a driving license valid all over India? Let’s say you’re in the transport business, and a potential employee has a commercial license from a different state. 

Is this license valid in your operating state? This quandary has emerged as a common concern for many in the transportation industry. 

To illustrate the scale of this question, consider that by the end of 2019, over 10.5 million commercial driving licenses had been issued in India. But does the scope of these licenses span across all the states of India? Let’s set off on an exploration to find the answer.

Understanding the Commercial Driving License in India

A commercial driving license in India is more than just a permit; it is an endorsement of an individual’s skill and competence to operate commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, and taxis. 

But how does one obtain this all-important document? And, how is this driving license valid all over India?

  • The Learner’s License: This is the first step towards a commercial driving license. The candidate must pass a written test that examines their knowledge of traffic rules and signs.
  • The Permanent License: A month after obtaining the learner’s license, the candidate can apply for a permanent license. The evaluation at this stage is practical, testing the candidate’s driving skills.
  • The Commercial License: For a commercial license, an additional hurdle is a medical fitness certificate, ensuring the candidate’s physical aptitude for professional driving.

Furthermore, a commercial driving license validity in India is around 20 years maximum from the date of issue or until the holder turns 50, whichever comes first. 

After this, the license needs to be renewed every five years. Beware, driving with an expired license is a serious offence, attracting substantial fines or even imprisonment.

Commercial Driving License Validity Across States in India

While a regular driving license obtained in one Indian state is valid across the country, the situation with commercial licenses involves a few more intricacies. The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 implies that any driving license (including commercial) issued by a competent authority in any Indian state should be valid throughout India. 

However, in reality, some drivers have faced difficulties due to state-specific rules and regulations.

Legally, a commercial driving license validity stays the same across India. However, if the license holder plans to reside in a new state, they are required to get the license transferred to that state within 12 months. Overlooking this requirement can lead to legal consequences.

Legal Implications and Mitigation

What if you defy this rule? If found driving commercially with a license from another state beyond the stipulated 12 months, you could face penalties. 

In some instances, it can even result in the cancellation of the license. Some states may have additional regulations for commercial driving license validity and more, so it’s always wise to check with local transport authorities when moving to a new state.

Things to Keep in Mind for Interstate Commercial Drivers


Alt text: driving license valid all over India

Driving across state lines with a commercial license involves more than just understanding the legalities. 

It’s about ensuring a smooth, hassle-free journey while adhering to the rules. Here are some additional points that interstate commercial drivers should bear in mind:

  • Documentation: Always keep your driving license and other related documents handy. You never know when you might need to present them at state borders or checkpoints.
  • Knowledge of Local Language: While not a legal necessity, knowing the local language of the state you’re operating in can be beneficial. It can help in understanding local road signs or communicating with local authorities.
  • Vehicle Fitness: Ensure that your vehicle is in top-notch condition, meeting all the fitness requirements as per the law. A well-maintained vehicle reduces the risk of breakdowns and accidents, especially on long interstate journeys.
  • Road Etiquettes: Every state might have its own set of unspoken road etiquettes. Being aware of and respecting these can help in maintaining a harmonious driving environment.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast with the latest changes in driving regulations, both at the national and state level.
  • Timely Renewal: Ensure timely renewal of your to avoid commercial driving license validity expiration and hefty penalties.
  • State-wise Compliance: If you’re moving to a new state, make sure to transfer your license within the stipulated time.

Recent Changes and Updates in the Commercial Driving License Rules

In 2019, there was a significant revision to the Motor Vehicles Act, which brought about numerous modifications to the driving license regulations. This initiative was aimed at advancing road safety measures and refining the overall transportation system’s effectiveness.

The adjustments to the Motor Vehicles Act were comprehensive, transforming various components of driving rules in India. The alterations involved an increase in fines for traffic infractions, the introduction of new stipulations for third-party insurance, and a distinct emphasis on enhancing road safety.

Although these modifications did not directly affect the inter-state validity of commercial driving licenses, they indirectly influenced interstate commercial drivers by escalating the fines for different infractions, including operating a vehicle with an expired or non-transferred license.

Revised Driving Regulations for Commercial and Personal Licenses

License ClassType of Vehicle
Commercial License
HGMVHeavy Goods Motor Vehicles
HMVHeavy Motor Vehicles
MGVMedium Goods Vehicle
HTV / HPMVHeavy Passenger Motor Vehicle / Heavy Transport Vehicle
TrailerHeavy Trailer License
LMVLMV – Motorcars, Delivery Vans, Jeeps, and Taxis

Commercial License: A commercial driving license (CDL) is a requirement for drivers who operate large or heavy vehicles, such as trucks or buses. A CDL might also be necessary if the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials.

HGMV (Heavy Goods Motor Vehicles): This license is issued to drivers of heavy goods vehicles. This includes vehicles such as large cargo trucks that are designed to transport goods over long distances.

HMV (Heavy Motor Vehicles): HMV license is needed for driving heavy motor vehicles like trucks and buses. These vehicles typically have a high Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

MGV (Medium Goods Vehicle): An MGV license is required for driving medium-sized vehicles designed to carry goods. These vehicles are typically smaller than heavy goods vehicles but larger than typical passenger cars.

HTV / HPMV (Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicle / Heavy Transport Vehicle): This license is for drivers of heavy-passenger motor vehicles, such as city buses or long-haul passenger buses. It also covers heavy transport vehicles, which can include large trucks or trailers designed to transport goods.

Trailer: A trailer license is needed to drive heavy vehicles with an attached trailer. This license is often required for semi-truck drivers or other heavy vehicle operators who need to haul large trailers.

LMV (Light Motor Vehicle): An LMV license is issued for lighter, smaller vehicles. This category includes motorcars, delivery vans, jeeps, and taxis. Generally, this is the most common type of license for personal vehicle drivers.

Final Thoughts 

The validity of a commercial driving license in India extends across all states, making it a powerful document for those involved in the transport business. Still, the responsibility lies on the license holder to be aware of the state-specific rules and regulations, abide by the stipulated norms, and ensure timely renewal and transfer of the license when needed. 

Understanding the nuances of commercial licenses across India is crucial, whether you’re a truck owner, transporter, or consignor. At Vahak, we’re dedicated to empowering the logistics community with comprehensive knowledge and tools to navigate these complexities. 

To stay informed about topics like these and to become a part of our thriving transport marketplace, visit our website, sign up, and join the conversation. Let’s revolutionise transportation together.

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